Halloween festivities deliver lots of fun and laughter at Riverview Manor

‘All in all, it was a spooky Halloween season for the residents’

Halloween was so much fun at Riverview Manor this year residents didn’t want it to end, says life enrichment aide (LEA) Adam Wicklum.

The life enrichment team at the Peterborough long-term care home created two fun, engaging parties that gave all residents a chance to dress up and enjoy lots of Halloween-themed activities.

Adam, LEAs Rosemary Roseborough and Trevor Davis, and personal support worker Robin Willar were busy over the Halloween weekend organizing parties for the north and south neighbourhoods.

Residents living in the north neighbourhood had their party on Oct. 30, while the south neighbourhood celebrated on Oct. 31.

Residents wore Halloween hats and staff members wore costumes. Team members decorated the home with jack-o’-lanterns and a large Halloween mural that residents created in the days leading up to Halloween, Adam notes.

At the parties, residents had the choice of a Halloween cocktail or beer. There were also Halloween-themed decorated cupcakes and cake cones, as well as Cheezies, onion rings and corn twister chips for everyone to enjoy.

The life enrichment team organized several activities and games for the parties, including Halloween bingo, jack-o’-lantern match-up, a Halloween crossword and several word games.

There were also card games that were given a Halloween twist, such as playing “go cat” instead of go fish and “oh mummy” instead of old maid.

Residents also enjoyed watching Halloween-themed movies.

Halloween is a favourite time of year for many Riverview Manor residents, and Adam says he is pleased the life enrichment team was able to deliver memorable Halloween events.

“Residents enjoyed themselves; many of them wished it was longer,” he says. “All in all, it was a spooky Halloween season for the residents.”

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Burnbrae Gardens helps resident Muriel Hay celebrate her 100th birthday

A party and greetings from dignitaries marked her special day

Burnbrae Gardens resident Muriel Hay turned 100 on Oct. 29, and team members at the Campbellford, Ont. long-term care home helped her celebrate her special day in style.

Muriel, who is known around Burnbrae Gardens for always cracking jokes and her sense of humour, was treated to a birthday party that featured a cake, presentations and everyone singing Happy Birthday to her.

Muriel received a certificate from Ontario Premier Doug Ford wishing her a happy 100th birthday, and team members put the wording from the certificate on the home’s big-screen TV so everyone could read it.

Burnbrae Gardens’ newest centenarian also received a certificate from Trent Hills Mayor Bob Crate to congratulate her on her milestone birthday.

Muriel’s son and niece also attended her celebration, and team members created balloon art and decorations that were set up on a wall that served as Muriel’s photo booth for the day.

Life enrichment aide Shawna Booth, who organized the celebration, made a slide show that featured photos of Muriel.

Muriel was presented with a large birthday card filled with happy wishes residents and staff members wrote for her that Shawna put together.

Muriel, who grew up in the Campbellford area with a farming background, recalls “working in the fields baling hay” when she was a girl, but when asked if she thought all that hard work contributed to her longevity, she points to another source: good genes.

“My father lived to be 90,” she tells The OMNIway.

And what did Muriel think of her birthday party?

“It went out with a bang,” she says. “You bet it was (a good party).”

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Pumpkin carving and a party marked Halloween at Pleasant Meadow

Halloween festivities at Pleasant Meadow Manor started on Oct. 28 with residents carving pumpkins and ended with a party on Oct. 31 that was made possible by quick-thinking staff.

Three days before Halloween, residents at the Norwood, Ont. long-term care home showed their artistic side by carving pumpkins into jack-o’-lanterns that were put on display.

A party that included costumes, trivia, games and music was planned for Halloween on Oct. 31; however, the entertainer who was scheduled to perform had to cancel at the last minute.

Luckily, quick-thinking life enrichment staff came up with a backup plan for the party.

“They had vintage Halloween music from YouTube playing in the background while (residents) played Halloween trivia,” Pleasant Meadow Manor life enrichment co-ordinator Kim Williams tells The OMNIway.

With the music problem solved, the party was able to continue.

After the games and trivia, residents and staff members – dressed in their Halloween costumes – enjoyed refreshments that included cookies and cupcakes decorated with Halloween themes along with warm apple cider.

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Garden Terrace turns Snoezelen room into a haunted house

Spooky Halloween idea sparks a high level of resident engagement

In the days leading up to Halloween, the life enrichment team at Garden Terrace turned the home’s Snoezelen room into a haunted house, and the idea sparked lots of interest from residents.

Team members at the Kanata, Ont. long-term care home put some “frightening” decorations inside the Snoezelen room and included a fortune teller and palm reader as well.

There was also an activity called “spooky senses” that had people put their hands in a jar to feel “brains”, “eyes” and bags of “blood”. The “eyes” were olives and the “brains” were candy brains that were purchased at a dollar store. The “blood” was syrup.

Snoezelen rooms are special rooms designed to provide quiet environments and sensory stimulation. The Garden Terrace Snoezelen room contains a variety of sensory stimulating items, so it made the perfect haunted house.

Halloween is a favourite holiday for many people, and the haunted house garnered lots of interest from residents, says life enrichment co-ordinator Rachael King.

The big success of the day, Rachael says, was the high level of resident engagement the haunted house created.

“Throughout the day there were about 20 residents who circled in and out,” she tells The OMNIway.

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Disney-inspired Halloween party wows Springdale residents and staff

Forget ghosts and goblins, the Halloween party at Springdale Country Manor this year featured the likes of Mickey Mouse and Snow White taking centre stage.

It was Disney characters that inspired the Oct. 29 event at the Peterborough-area long-term care home rather than the usual “spooky” creatures Halloween is known for.

And residents and staff members loved the idea, says life enrichment co-ordinator Sonia Murney.

The life enrichment department created T-shirts for residents that had the Mickey Mouse Club logo or the Cinderella Castle embossed on the front with the words “Dreams Do Come True” underneath.

Residents also wore Mickey and Minnie Mouse ears, tiaras and crowns as part of their costumes. Local entertainer Kathy Wiles played and sang songs from Disney films that included everything from Mary Poppins to Frozen.

Staff dressed up in Disney-themed scrubs that featured Winnie the Pooh, princesses, rabbits and, of course, ghosts and goblins. The management team spent the day dressed as Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.

Residents had their pictures taken in front of a backdrop of the Cinderella Castle from Disney World while inside a photo booth shaped like a carriage that was made by the life enrichment team.

Since it was a Halloween party, there was an abundance of cupcakes and sweets for everyone to enjoy.

A favourite moment was then staff member Charlene Rose dressed up as “Buzzy Bee” to dance and entertain residents.

“(She) brought so much joy to residents and staff,” Sonia says.

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Forest Hill resident’s love of Halloween lives on

Bill Bennett would always win the award for best costume at Forest Hill’s annual Halloween party, and that award has been renamed in his honour

Bill Bennett absolutely loved Halloween.

As a Forest Hill resident, he looked forward to the big costume party the Kanata, Ont. long-term care home hosted every Halloween, and he would always show up in a highly creative outfit.

At every Halloween party there was a contest to pick the best costume, and every year Bill won top honours.

Bill and his daughter, Pam Curzon, would work on his costume in the weeks leading up to the party, and the two “would go all out” to make sure Bill had a winning entry each year, says Forest Hill life enrichment co-ordinator Craig Forrest.

While Bill passed away in 2019, his love of Halloween is vividly remembered by people living and working at Forest Hill, so team members have renamed the award for best costume in his honour.

The Annual Bill Bennett Award for Best Costume was presented for the first time on Oct. 29 following Forest Hill’s first Halloween party in two years.

Pam and her sister, Nancy Dunham, were on hand to present the award, dressed in their Halloween costumes, of course. But when it came time to make the presentation, the award was handed to the sisters.

“It was only fitting that Bill’s daughters received the award for the first time,” Craig tells The OMNIway.

Pam and Nancy then presented the award to the other winner, resident Shirley Sutherland.

Pam says she and Nancy were touched by Forest Hill’s thoughtfulness in naming the award after their father.

“It was just such an honour, and Shirley was just so excited,” Pam says. “Shirley is a wonderful lady who is full of joy, so it was a great honour for Nancy and I to do this. … It felt like we were at home at Forest Hill.”

Pam says her dad would be happy to know the best costume award has been renamed in his honour.

“We really love Halloween in our family, and we really, really get into the spirit,” she says. “We always had such great fun with daddy, and he would giggle and get so excited when we would put together his costume.”

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Val Foster retires after a 44-year career at Streamway Villa

Her co-workers are commending Val for the dedication she demonstrated daily to residents and staff

After a 44-year career serving Streamway Villa residents, environmental services team member Val Foster recently retired, and her colleagues say her kindness and resident focus has left an indelible impression at the Cobourg long-term care home.

One of the longest-serving OMNI Health Care team members, Val began her career at Streamway Villa on July 2, 1977, as a nurses’ aide.

In May 1987, Val joined the Streamway Villa housekeeping team and became the head housekeeper, a position she would hold until she retired.

Val’s co-workers describe her as a dedicated team member, an employee who was always thinking about the residents and cared for everyone living and working at Streamway Villa.

This was demonstrated by her involvement with educational opportunities and programs aimed at improving quality of life for residents and ensuring a safe, happy working environment for employees.

For more than 30 years, Val was a member of the joint health and safety committee. She also participated in the home’s orientation program that helps new staff members transition into their roles.

Val was also involved with Behavioural Supports Ontario and attended training sessions aimed at enhancing quality of life for residents, and she would share the knowledge she gained with other Streamway Villa team members.

Streamway Villa life enrichment co-ordinator Laurie Kracht says Val’s dedication to residents and her co-workers was evident every day.

“She loves this place and loves the residents,” Laurie said. “I would see her stop and spend time with the residents, (and) she always went above and beyond for the new employees, including myself. … She always brought hope, purpose and belonging to the residents.”

In recognition of her dedication to residents and staff members at Streamway Villa, Val received the home’s 2016 Everyday Hero Award, which celebrates employees who demonstrate a strong work ethic and dedication to residents on an everyday basis.

Upon receiving the award, Val told The OMNIway that being an everyday hero “is just part of the job.”

“I help (staff), I help the residents when they need help, and if they need something, I try to do it for them,” she said.

Laurie says Val took great pride in providing a clean and safe environment for people to live and work, and her strong work ethic will be remembered.

“Even on the day she left I saw her on her hands and knees cleaning a baseboard,” she says. “She wanted to make sure she wasn’t leaving anything unattended to before she left.”

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PHOTO CAPTION: Streamway Villa environmental services team member Val Foster (right) and administrator Kylie Szczebonski are pictured here during Val’s retirement party at the home.

Photo caption:

‘Downsizing’ early is something we should all think about: family member

When Julia Gamble’s father required long-term care, she and her family were left to make difficult decisions about what to do with her dad’s belongings. By planning ahead, people can make things easier on their loved ones, Julia says

Julia Gamble says one of the most difficult things she had to do after her father moved into a long-term care home was going through his belongings and deciding which items should be kept and which should not.

She says everything her dad kept was meaningful to him, but with his move into a long-term care home, many of his belongings would no longer be needed.

With her dad, who is a resident at Garden Terrace, no longer able to make such decisions for himself, it fell upon Julia and her family to make difficult choices.

Given the stress this causes families, Julia has advice for people who are now in middle age: “Start downsizing early.”

Purging belongings no longer wanted or needed can save people’s loved ones a lot of stress, should a person’s health situation suddenly change, Julia says.

“It comes down to the most common cause of someone going into a long-term care home: it’s because of a crisis,” Julia tells The OMNIway.

“When you experience a crisis because of health or because of an accident in your home, it’s too late to make those decisions.”

Julia says “it took years” to go through her dad’s belongings, and the experience has made her think hard about the personal belongings she wants to let go of and what she wants to keep.

“None of us are going to be here forever, and even thinking about that as a 50-year-old, what would my kids do?” she says.

“What would I want them to deal with? It’s getting rid of things that aren’t needed, parting with mementos. With my father, it took years to go through all the stuff he had.”

From her own experiences, Julia says it’s never too early to start thinking about downsizing.

“Start thinking about this at age 40, 50, or even earlier,” she says.

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

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PHOTO CAPTION: This photo, submitted by Julia Gamble, shows her father as a young football player.

Kentwood Park ‘turkey hunt’ creates high resident engagement

‘The residents loved it; they thought it was hilarious’

Just before the Thanksgiving weekend, the Kentwood Park team organized an activity for residents that proved to be a “blast.”

Given that Thanksgiving was just around the corner, team members at the Picton, Ont. long-term care home created a “turkey hunt” to bring some seasonal fun and laughter to residents.

Team members created a “forest” by making trees out of cardboard, and managers wore turkey hats crocheted by administrator Melanie Rudd.

The management team went strolling through the forest while residents, armed with Nerf guns, “blasted” them with the Nerf guns.

The result was an activity that garnered lots of participation and brought smiles and laughter to many, says Kentwood Park life enrichment co-ordinator Tracy Kimmett.

“The residents loved it; they thought it was hilarious,” she tells The OMNIway. “Staff were really involved too.”

Due to the high level of interest from residents, team members organized two turkey hunts so everyone who wanted to participate could have a chance.

The idea for the turkey hunt came from Kentwood Park’s nearby sister home, West Lake Terrace, where Melanie had previously worked.

Last Christmas the West Lake Terrace team created a deer hunt which saw team members dress as deer for residents to “hunt” with Nerf guns.

The activity was so popular with West Lake Terrace residents that Melanie suggested Kentwood Park organize a similar event.

After the hunt, residents got to enjoy pretzels, potato chips, near beer and apple cider.

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Community pitches in to ensure a happy Halloween at Burnbrae Gardens

11-year-old boy among those who made a donation

Community members from across Northumberland County pitched in to help ensure Burnbrae Gardens residents have a happy Halloween.

One of those who made a donation to the Campbellford long-term care home was 11-year-old Hayden Marlatt. His parents, Dave and Sherry, brought Hayden to Burnbrae Gardens on Oct. 9 to drop off 15 pumpkins for residents to decorate.

“Hayden loves to help in the community, and he wanted to make our residents’ Halloween special,” Lauren Farnham, a life enrichment aide at Burnbrae Gardens, tells The OMNIway.

Hayden knew the COVID-19 pandemic has been challenging for residents so he wanted to do something to “brighten their spirits,” Lauren adds.

In addition to Hayden’s donation, three people from across Northumberland County donated money to help buy supplies to decorate the pumpkins.

Matthew Steven and Colleen C., both of Brighton, and Sarah Lord of Wooler donated money to buy the supplies.

In fact, Sarah’s grandmother was a resident of Burnbrae Gardens more than 10 years ago. She hopes to become a volunteer once pandemic protocols permit her to join the volunteer team, says Burnbrae Gardens administrator April Faux.

Residents got busy decorating the pumpkins. Some were given faces, while others were painted. There are decorated pumpkins on display inside and outside of the home.

“The residents really enjoyed doing the decorations,” Lauren says.

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