In-house drive-thru window is giving Woodland residents their much-needed Timmies treats

Once a month, residents look forward to lining up to get their coffee and doughnuts

One thing many Woodland Villa residents have been missing since the COVID-19 pandemic was declared 16 months ago is their regular trips to Tim Hortons for coffee and doughnuts.

To remedy this, life enrichment team members at the Long Sault, Ont. long-term care home have come up with a solution that’s making everyone happy.

Life enrichment team members Melissa Cleary, Liana Charbonneau and Kaitlynn Cotnam have made a Tim Hortons drive-thru window that has been decorated to look like the real thing, and residents and team members alike are having fun with it, says Woodland Villa life enrichment co-ordinator Lisa Doran.

Once a month, the life enrichment team sets up the drive-thru window and waits for residents to come up and place their order for coffee, tea, hot chocolate and doughnuts.

“The residents will go up to the window and place their order and get their coffee and Timbits, and then the next person comes up,” Lisa tells The OMNIway.

Recently, fancier drinks have been added to the menu, with the life enrichment team members making iced coffees topped with whipping cream, caramel or chocolate sauce.

While pandemic safety precautions remain in place, the Tim Hortons drive-thru window is bringing back some level of normality for residents, Lisa says.

And the life enrichment team members are having fun with it as well, she adds.

“They love doing it, so it’s great for everybody.”

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Pleasant Meadow residents enjoy a virtual trip to Canadian Canoe Museum

Engaging tour taught residents a lot about canoes and they had lots of questions

Pleasant Meadow Manor residents were recently treated to a free, virtual tour of the Canadian Canoe Museum that was educational and piqued a lot of interest.

While the museum is currently closed due to restrictions in place during the COVID-19 pandemic, residents were able to enjoy a thorough tour of the museum via the smart TV at the Norwood, Ont. long-term care home on June 22.

Located in Peterborough, the Canadian Canoe Museum showcases more than 100 canoes and kayaks. The unique museum is dedicated to educating people about the role of the canoe in Canadian history.

During the virtual tour, museum staff explained the different types of canoes on display at the museum. Residents learned about the history of the canoe and how they are made, says Pleasant Meadow Manor life enrichment co-ordinator Kim Williams.

Everyone had lots of questions following the presentation, she adds.

“The residents enjoyed the tour and found it very interesting learning about the different types and ways that canoes were made,” Kim tells The OMNIway.

“They had a lot of pertinent questions that the staff were more than happy to answer, and it showed that they really were engaged during the whole tour.”

Residents enjoyed the free tour, thanks to a grant that has been provided to the museum by the United Way of Peterborough and the Government of Canada’s COVID-19 Emergency Community Support Fund.

The museum is offering free virtual tours to long-term care and retirement homes throughout Peterborough County. Click here for more information.

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Being an essential caregiver ‘makes you feel like you’re a partner’

Karen Zidenberg says being with her mother at Maplewood has benefited them both

As an essential caregiver, Karen Zidenberg is at Maplewood with her mother, a resident of the Brighton, Ont. long-term care home, twice a week, spending one-to-one time with her mom and assisting with some of her care needs.

This has had a positive impact on Karen’s mother as well as Karen, who, like other family members, could not be inside the home during much of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“It has been wonderful; it makes you feel like you’re a partner,” Karen says of being an essential caregiver.

Karen became an essential caregiver for her mother when she became eligible about a month ago.

Karen says she and her mother benefit from being able to see each other regularly. The essential caregiver role, she adds, is unique.

“What the essential caregiver role does is it gives recognition and it gives credence to people who can do as much as they can and be as active with their care as if they were in their own home,” Karen says.

Asked what she has learned about Maplewood throughout the pandemic, Karen says the most important thing has been the reinforcement of knowing her mother is well cared for.

“It has taught me that I don’t have to be there, that I can take care of myself and not burn myself out, and it taught me that things are going to be OK,” she says.

“As an essential caregiver, I can balance my life without worrying because I am not there.”

Karen also says the entire Maplewood team does an outstanding job caring for her mother.

“I am so thankful for everyone at Maplewood; I am so grateful and so thankful for each and every team member because I truly appreciate them,” she says.

Karen adds she has a “great relationship” with Maplewood.

“I will tell you that, hands down, I love the team, and I do what I can to show that appreciation the best that I can because I really think people (working in long-term care homes) are not appreciated enough for what they’re going through and how they have endured,” she says.

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Local church donates 5 iPads to Country Terrace residents

Gateway Church members wanted to do something for residents to keep spirits high during the pandemic

A local church recently donated five iPads to Country Terrace residents through its community outreach program, a kind gesture everyone at the Komoka, Ont. long-term care home is grateful for, says life enrichment co-ordinator Christie Patterson.

Country Terrace and Gateway Church have had a long-standing connection. As part of its Gateway Cares outreach program, the church recently contacted the home to offer support for residents and staff to help lift spirits during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Christie and Jesse MacMillan, one of the pastors at Gateway Church, had several conversations about ideas that would both thank staff members for their hard work during the pandemic and lift residents’ spirits.

In the end, it was decided the Gateway Cares team would donate five iPads to residents. The iPads are helping residents connect with family and friends as well as providing entertainment. Residents are also attending virtual church services by watching them on the iPads.

Each Country Terrace resident also received a personal letter from Gateway Church members and a small bag of treats.

Gateway Church also provided doughnuts, muffins and coffee for Country Terrace staff members on the day church members delivered the iPads.

Each staff member also received a Tim Hortons gift card to thank them for their hard work and service to residents.

With vaccination rates increasing and businesses and services opening up in Ontario, there are signs of light at the end of the tunnel.

However, the greater health-care sector is still working hard to keep people safe, and it needs to be remembered that the pandemic is not over, Christie says.

The timing of Gateway Church’s generosity is meaningful, she notes.

“As Jesse and I talked, we stated that we believe people forget we are still fighting this COVID battle,” Christie says.

“The staff are still making sacrifices to protect the residents, and it has taken a toll. (The church’s kind gesture shows) that people still care. It is truly a blessing.”

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Strong communication with Maplewood has made coping with the pandemic easier, says family member

‘The staff really came through,’ says Karen Zidenberg

When the COVID-19 pandemic began 16 months ago, Karen Zidenberg recalls the uncertainty and concern she and other family members of Maplewood residents were experiencing.

After all, the world had not faced a pandemic of this magnitude in 100 years, and there was a lot the experts didn’t know about the virus.

Following pandemic protocols, Ontario long-term care homes went into lockdown and residents were unable to visit with their loved ones.

“When it first began, it was a really strange time and it was really hard not to be able to see my mom; that was a real transition,” Karen recalls.

“That was a very challenging time, but I knew (Maplewood was closed) for all the right reasons. I felt it was in everyone’s best interest for the homes to be shut down. We didn’t know enough about the virus and everyone was pretty vulnerable.”

But from Day 1, Maplewood team members were there for family members, Karen says.

Communication between the Brighton, Ont. long-term care home’s staff, led by administrator Rachel Corkery, and residents’ family members helped make a challenging time easier to deal with, she adds.

“The communication was fabulous,” Karen says.

“I was encouraged to call the nursing station any time I wanted to find out how my mom was doing. Rachel was amazing at keeping us as informed as she could, given the circumstances.

“If I had a question, Rachel was always available to help, or I could always call the home. The staff really came through.”

Karen adds that she knew her mother was safe and in good hands at Maplewood and that gave her peace of mind.

“They gave me the sense that I could sleep at night,” she says.

Karen recently became an essential caregiver to her mother at Maplewood. About a month ago, she went into the home for the first time since the pandemic began.

“It was like nothing ever changed,” Karen says. “She is in the best possible hands. I’ve said that before, but I think it has really sunk in.”

– This is Part 1 of a two-part story

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Woodland Villa puts a new ‘spin’ on exercises

Team members have incorporated the home’s game wheel into an exercise program with favourable results

The Woodland Villa life enrichment team has come up with a way to put a new “spin” on exercise programs – literally.

Team members at the Long Sault, Ont. long-term care home have been incorporating a game wheel into an exercise program. Residents love spinning the wheel for games, so it was fitting the wheel would encourage them to participate in exercise activities.

Instead of prizes, each space on the wheel has an exercise routine written on it. Among the exercises that have appeared on the wheel are knee hugs, sit-to-stand exercises, arm circles, and knee raises and bends.

The “wheel of exercise” has been turned into a “ritual” by life enrichment aide Kaitlynn Cotnam, says Lisa Doran, the home’s life enrichment co-ordinator.

During the program, residents will spin the wheel and whatever space the pointer lands on will be the exercise residents will do.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, there is currently no large-group programming at Woodland Villa. The activity can be done in small groups or as a one-to-one program.

The program can also be held indoors or outside, Lisa says.

“The residents love it – they can have the program outside or wherever they want, even in their rooms,” she tells The OMNIway.

“It has been really great at getting the residents involved. It’s different all the time.”

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Seven teddy bears have a new home with Maplewood residents

During a June 25 picnic, residents quickly adopted the teddy bears, who were among the guests

Thanks to an idea from life enrichment aide (LEA) Lynanne Campbell, seven teddy bears now have loving homes at Maplewood.

On June 25, Lynanne hosted a teddy bear picnic in the Brighton, Ont. long-term care home’s garden. As part of the event, residents were given a chance to “adopt” the teddy bears attending the picnic with residents.

When given the opportunity to adopt the teddy bears, residents jumped at the chance, says Maplewood administrator and life enrichment co-ordinator Rachel Corkery.

“Lynanne said she was surprised how popular the adoptions were; (it was) another day filled with fun and laughter at Maplewood,” Rachel says.

To make the adoptions official, Lynanne provided residents with adoption papers for each of the teddy bears.

During the picnic, a table was set up with a centrepiece put together from flowers from the Maplewood garden. The teddy bears had their own bench and picnic blanket set up.

In keeping with pandemic safety protocols in place, social distancing was observed throughout the event.

The teddy bear picnic went over so well with residents, Rachel wrote residents’ family members an e-mail shortly after that included photos from the event.

“As I am putting this e-mail together some residents are still out enjoying the decorations that adorn our garden,” she wrote.

“Who has more fun than everyone at Maplewood? I just had to send you pictures. … Congratulations to all those who adopted a teddy bear today.”

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Garden Terrace environmental education program combines fun with learning

Residents are getting cognitive exercise and learning fun facts about animals and plants while being outdoors

A new program created by life enrichment co-ordinator Rachael King is teaching Garden Terrace residents about animals and plants native to North America in a fun and interactive way while providing a safe outdoor activity.

Rachael, who has a background in environmental education, launched the program in early June. There has been a lot of interest from residents at the Kanata, Ont. long-term care home since the program began.

“Residents are really enjoying it,” Rachael tells The OMNIway.

The program is similar to a scavenger hunt. Before the program begins, Rachael places animal miniatures and examples of flora with ID tags in the Garden Terrace courtyard. When residents find animals or plants, they read information sheets Rachael provides to learn about what each specimen is, its native habitat and a fun fact.

“This gets residents outside, but they are also provided with a bit of education on North American animals,” Rachael says.

“We do have some safari animals as well, but we try to stick to creatures like bears and wolves.”

Rachael says aside from the fun and education residents garner from the program, an activity like this is also a great cognitive exercise.

Due to restrictions in place to keep everyone safe during the COVID-19 pandemic, large-group programming is currently on hold in Ontario long-term care homes.

But because the environmental education program is held outdoors with social distancing measures in place, more residents can participate in the activity.

Typically, there are about 10 to 12 residents participating each time the program is held, Rachael adds.

“There are a lot of great things to explore, and this program helps with cognition, memory and reminiscing, so I thought it would be cool to bring this to Garden Terrace.”

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Maplewood family member reflects on what it has meant to be an essential caregiver

Patricia Brown also applauds the strong support she and her mother have received from staff

Patricia Brown says being an essential caregiver to her mother, a Maplewood resident, during the COVID-19 pandemic has been important.

The Ontario Ministry of Health defines essential caregivers as “persons providing direct care to the resident (in ways such as) supporting feeding, mobility, personal hygiene, cognitive stimulation, communication, meaningful connection, relational continuity and assistance in decision-making, per Ministry guidance.”

Currently, residents are allowed up to two designated essential caregivers. Patricia and her sister are their mother’s designated essential caregivers.

As an essential caregiver, Patricia is able to visit her mother, an eight-year resident of the Brighton, Ont. long-term care home, and assist with her care.

Before the ministry allowed long-term care homes to have designated essential caregivers for residents, Patricia, like other family members, was not able to visit Maplewood.

This was a challenging time, Patricia says. Being at Maplewood has been comforting for both her and her mother, she adds.

“As far as our role now, it’s mainly making sure (our mother) is comfortable,” Patricia tells The OMNIway. “It’s mainly letting her know that we’re still there for her. We want to make sure that she knows that we’re there for her.”

Patricia is also applauding Maplewood team members and administrator Rachel Corkery for the care they provided her mother when she and her sister couldn’t be there.

For example, when Patricia’s mother’s birthday was approaching, life enrichment aide Lynanne Campbell trimmed her hair for her birthday photo, which was important to Patricia’s mother.

Acts of kindness like this add up, and the kindness Maplewood team members have shown Patricia’s mother has been comforting to Patricia and her family.

“It has meant an awful lot,” Patricia says.

– This is Part 2 of a two-part story. Click here to read Part 1.

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Streamway Villa spends Canada Day hosting a discussion about the impact of residential schools

‘It was actually a really good conversation and it lasted a long time; everyone was getting really emotional about it’

At Streamway Villa, July 1 wasn’t just a time for residents and staff to acknowledge Canada Day; it was also a time to discuss the injustices First Nations people have faced in this country.

Over the past month, 1,148 unmarked graves have been located at abandoned cemeteries near residential schools in British Columbia and Saskatchewan.

The findings have made international news and sparked a flurry of new conversations across Canada about the negative impact the residential school system has had on First Nations people.

Streamway Villa residents and staff wanted to join the national discussion.

After a bonfire and lunch of barbecued steaks and sausages, residents and staff members held a moment of silence in honour of people impacted by the residential school system.

Laurie Kracht, Streamway Villa’s life enrichment co-ordinator, says some residents were not aware of the discovery of the graves in Western Canada.

Some didn’t know about the impact residential schools had on the people of Canada’s First Nations.

But all were eager to learn.

“One of the residents got very emotional about it,” Laurie says. “They didn’t understand the history there. A lot of the residents didn’t know what was happening.”

Orange has been designated as the colour of remembrance of the children who didn’t return home from residential schools. In addition to red and white – the colours of the Canadian flag – orange ribbons were worn at Streamway Villa on Canada Day.

The colour has significance. In 1973, Phyllis Webstad, a then-six-year-old First Nations student from B.C., had an orange shirt taken from her by teachers at the residential school she attended.

Orange Shirt Day has been marked on Sept. 30 every year since 2013 to raise awareness of the injustices First Nations, Inuit and Métis people faced as a result of residential schools.

Laurie says the residents were compassionate during the discussions about the residential schools.

“It was actually a really good conversation and it lasted a long time; everyone was getting really emotional about it,” she says.

Given that residents are eager to learn more about the issues people of Canada’s First Nations face, Laurie says Streamway Villa is planning to connect with a First Nations community to have a representative visit the home at some point to speak with residents.

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