LEC commends team for doing ‘a great job’ while she was away

Tight team and strong communication ensured programming ran smoothly at Springdale when Sonia Murney was on a three-month leave

The Springdale Country Manor life enrichment team is being praised by life enrichment co-ordinator (LEC) Sonia Murney for doing “a great job” organizing resident programming and overseeing the department while she was on a three-month leave recovering from surgery.

Sonia, who returned to her position at the Peterborough-area long-term care home in early June, says the team of four life enrichment aides work well together and they are all great communicators, which, she says, are key strengths that are important to maintaining any department in a home.

In fact, Sonia says communication is one of the team’s greatest attributes, and having a small life enrichment team allows for strong communication.

“They touch base with each other, they see each other from shift to shift, so that makes it easy, and they are a very good group,” Sonia tells The OMNIway.

“They did a great job. They did the calendars, they communicated with me when needed, but they figured things out for themselves.”

One major event that happened while Sonia was away was the Spring Fling, an Olympic-style event that encouraged friendly competition and lots of fun and laughter among residents.

The Spring Fling had been planned for an earlier date, but due to an outbreak at the home, it had to be postponed until April.

The event consisted of daily competitive activities from Monday to Friday for two weeks. Events included discus throwing, paper airplane flying, bull’s-eye shooting, a beanbag toss and bowling.

The Spring Fling has been a programming highlight so far this year, and Sonia commends the team for making it happen.

“They pulled it off, no problem; hands-down, a top-notch job, and I had total faith in them, I knew they could do it,” she says.

Life enrichment aide (LEA) Nikki English says working without Sonia was a change but everything went to plan.

“At first I was terrified, to be honest, but I got used to it after a bit,” she says.

LEA Keyanna O’Rourke says she knew the life enrichment team was tight and that team members worked well together, so she was confident everything would run smoothly.

“I feel that because we are so used to working with each other and we work in a group when we are on the same shifts, I found it pretty natural – it was like that every day for three months,” she says.

If you have a story you would like to share with The OMNIway, please contact the newsroom at deron(at)axiomnews.com.

If you have feedback on this story, please contact the newsroom at deron(at)axiomnews.com.

PHOTO CAPTION: Springdale LEC Sonia Murney (centre), pictured here with LEAs Nikki English (left) and
Keyanna O’Rourke, says the life enrichment team, says the life enrichment team did an excellent job of overseeing the department while she was on a three-month leave.

Springdale resident and dedicated Blue Jays fan Grace Long turns 104

Team members organize a surprise birthday party in her honour

Springdale Country Manor resident and dedicated Toronto Blue Jays fan Grace Long celebrated her 104th birthday June 28, and residents and team members were on hand to help Grace make the most of her special day.

Grace is known around the Peterborough-area long-term care home for her love of her favourite baseball team and tries to never miss watching a game in her room, says life enrichment co-ordinator Sonia Murney.

To honour Grace on her big day, Springdale team members organized a surprise birthday party for her that began with everyone gathering around to sing Happy Birthday and send their best wishes.

Grace was touched by all the attention, Sonia says.

“Grace felt so blessed and happy with her surprise birthday and was able to stand up and thank all who came to her celebration,” Sonia tells The OMNIway.

In addition to her party, Grace received e-mails and photos from family and friends, Sonia adds.

Aside from her beloved Toronto Blue Jays, Grace also has a lifelong passion for horses. She grew up on a farm near Woodstock, Ont., and this rural setting nurtured her affection for horses, which she used to ride through the trails in the region.

Grace, who raised six children, told Springdale residents and staff that one of her favourite birthday memories was visiting her grandson in the Bahamas and going horseback riding when she turned 90.

Springdale Country Manor team members asked Grace to share her secret for longevity.

“To live each day,” she said.

If you have a story you would like to share with The OMNIway, please contact the newsroom at deron(at)axiomnews.com.

If you have feedback on this story, please contact the newsroom at deron(at)axiomnews.com.

Springdale turns into the ‘home on the range’ for an afternoon

Miniature horse makes a visit to the home’s courtyard where she was greeted by curious residents

SPRINGVILLE, Ont. – Red, a miniature horse, made an appearance at Springdale Country Manor on June 14 to spend time with residents and wander through the courtyard of the Peterborough-area long-term care home.

When Red and her owner, Patricia Sheppard, made their entry into the courtyard, about 20 residents who were sitting in the shade greeted them with big smiles and lots of curiosity.

The first thing Red did was head straight to the lush, manicured grass in the courtyard for a quick afternoon snack, which brought an immediate round of laughter from residents.

Red, who is 22 years old, went from resident to resident to spend a few moments getting pets and cuddles. Patricia answered any questions residents had about Red, and some residents even shared stories of their own experiences with horses.

Several residents asked to have their photo taken with Red, who happily obliged.

Patricia, who owns a horse farm in Omemee called Small Hooves, Big Hearts, says she brings Red and the other horses she owns to many long-term care homes in the area.

No matter which home they’re at, there is always a similar reaction, Patricia says, noting she has been to Springdale Country Manor two other times with her horses.

“It really opens up a lot of dialogue; I’ve heard some really interesting things,” she tells The OMNIway.

Since many of the homes Patricia and her horses visit are in rural areas, most residents will have had some experience with horses, so these visits bring positive reminiscing for residents, Patricia says.

“In a lot of the homes (the horses) start the farmers talking,” she says.

“But pretty much everyone has some kind of connection to a horse, no matter where they’re from in the world, so bringing a horse (to homes) really starts those conversations.”

You can learn more about Small Hooves, Big Hearts by visiting the farm’s website.

If you have a story you would like to share with The OMNIway, please contact the newsroom at deron(at)axiomnews.com.

If you have feedback on this story, please contact the newsroom at deron(at)axiomnews.com.

PHOTO CAPTION: Resident Lillian Smith shares a moment with miniature horse Red in the Springdale Country Manor courtyard.

Olympic-style event encourages camaraderie and friendly competition at Springdale

Many residents who normally don’t turn up for activities were participating each day

In April, Springdale Country Manor residents enjoyed their first-ever Springdale Spring Fling, an Olympic-style event that encouraged friendly competition and lots of fun and laughter among the Peterborough-area long-term care home’s residents.

The event consisted of daily competitive activities from Monday to Friday for two weeks. Events included discus throwing, paper airplane flying, bull’s-eye shooting, a beanbag toss and bowling.

For the discus throwing and plane flying, the objectives were to see how far residents could toss these objects. For the bull’s-eye shooting, there was a target set up and residents threw a Velcro ball to try to get the most points.

Each event had a first-, second- and third-place winner, explains life enrichment aide Nikki English, who says residents showed a strong spirit of camaraderie during the events.

“There was a lot of enthusiasm and encouragement among the residents,” she tells The OMNIway. “They would each cheer each other on after each turn. … The residents really enjoyed the events and the excitement of seeing how well they could do.”

Life enrichment team members created a standings board that was hung in the home’s main dining room. Each event was posted with the top three winners that were added at the end of the event.

Medals were also handed out to the top overall resident who achieved the most standings as well as a medal for the resident who participated in the most events.

On the last day of events, residents celebrated their hard work during the previous two weeks. The residents in the top three places for each event received a gold, silver or bronze medal.

“Since there was so much enthusiasm from the residents, some of them won multiple medals,” Nikki says, adding many residents who normally don’t join in programming participated in the Spring Fling.

Nikki says the event was so successful she’s hoping to see it return next year, adding that a month later the Spring Fling is still top of mind for residents.

“Some of the residents to this day still wear their medal every day to show it off and be proud of what they accomplished,” she says.

If you have a story you would like to share with The OMNIway, please contact the newsroom at deron(at)axiomnews.com.

If you have feedback on this story, please contact the newsroom at deron(at)axiomnews.com.

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.

If you have a story you would like to share with The OMNIway, please contact the newsroom at deron(at)axiomnews.com.

If you have feedback on this story, please contact the newsroom at deron(at)axiomnews.com.

Seniors Cruises returns to Springdale for car show

Car club members bring back fond memories of classic cars for residents

A local car club returned to Springdale Country Manor Aug. 31 to display their wheels to the Peterborough-area long-term care home’s residents and bring back some fond memories for everyone.

Members of Seniors Cruises stopped by Springdale for two hours with more than 20 classic cars and trucks for residents to see during the Yesterday Memories car show.

The Seniors Cruises car club, which hosts car shows at long-term care and retirement homes across the Peterborough area, visits Springdale Country Manor most years.

Residents had a chance to look at the hot rods and chat with car club members about their vehicles. This brought back fond memories for many, says Springdale life enrichment co-ordinator Sonia Murney.

“The residents had so much fun, reminiscing and touring around the cars,” she tells The OMNIway.

“The weather was wonderful and the residents loved being outside, and they even had a chance to watch some planes fly over, as we are close to the Peterborough airport.”

The club members had some interesting stories, Sonia says, adding one member brought the 1947 Mercury he has been driving for 40 years.

In addition to the cars, Seniors Cruises supplied music – golden oldies, of course – for residents and community members to enjoy during the show.

To keep everyone safe during the COVID-19 pandemic, safety precautions, such as mask-wearing and social distancing, were in effect.

Sonia notes some residents’ family members brought their classic cars to the show and combined the car show with an outdoor visit with their loved ones.

“We had two families participate in the group with their cars, and they made it great for a visit as well,” she says.

If you have a story you would like to share with The OMNIway, please contact the newsroom at deron(at)axiomnews.com.

If you have feedback on this story, please contact the newsroom at deron(at)axiomnews.com.

Springdale’s friendly, compassionate staff and smaller size give the home a family feel: family member

‘That small, community feel provides a trusted and intimate care that we find at Springdale’

Rob Wallace says Springdale Country Manor’s friendly, compassionate staff members and the home’s smaller size provide a family-like atmosphere and a “community feel” that make it the right long-term care home for his mother to live.

For three years Rob’s mom has called Springdale Country Manor home. Since his mother has lived at the Peterborough-area long-term care home, Rob says he has become familiar with residents and their families as well as the staff members on a first-name basis.

Something as seemingly small as this makes a big difference, he says.

“That small, community feel provides a trusted and intimate care that we find at Springdale,” Rob tells The OMNIway, adding that with 68 beds, Springdale is a smaller home.

“You know everybody and everybody knows you.”

Even Springdale Country Manor’s architecture adds to the home’s comfortable feel, Rob says, noting the home’s “quadrangle shape allows people to walk around and never get lost.”

Rob also notes that many people working at Springdale Country Manor are longtime staff members. The staff retention says something about the culture of the home, he says.

“It (tells you) that the staff is really appreciated there and is really committed to their jobs,” Rob says.

“That rings loudly and clearly for us, and it’s a true testament to the quality of the organization when you can retain staff for that length of time.”

Rob, who is now an essential caregiver for his mother at the home, says Springdale life enrichment co-ordinator Sonia Murney has been an outstanding team member.

Throughout the pandemic, Sonia has shown her support to Rob and his family, and that has made a positive impact, Rob says.

“When I send her an e-mail, I hear back from her right away,” he says of Sonia.

“She’s really compassionate and I see how she treats the other staff and how the residents respond to her. She is one of many who (Springdale) is really lucky to have.”

– This is Part 2 of a two-part story.

If you have a story you would like to share with The OMNIway, please contact the newsroom at deron(at)axiomnews.com.

If you have feedback on this story, please contact the newsroom at deron(at)axiomnews.com.

Springdale team described as ‘an extended family’

Family member Rob Wallace says friendships between staff and residents’ loved ones have been especially important during the pandemic

Rob Wallace says one of the most noticeable strengths about Springdale Country Manor is its family atmosphere.

And it’s the people working at the Peterborough-area long-term care home who have made Springdale a homey, comforting place, not just for residents but also for their families, says Rob, whose mother has been a Springdale resident for about three years.

Having this atmosphere was reassuring to Rob and his sisters that their mother was in good hands when the COVID-19 pandemic began in March 2020.

Due to protocols put in place to keep everyone safe, families could not visit their loved ones in long-term care homes for several months after the pandemic began.

As difficult as this was for residents and their families, Rob says the Springdale Country Manor team worked hard to ensure everyone was staying in touch with their loved ones through video calls on FaceTime.

“It was tough to not be able to go in and see my mother, (but) Springdale was happy to set up FaceTime visits,” Rob tells The OMNIway.

“We did visit her two or three times a week (on FaceTime). The staff would set up a location for my mother to sit, and they were really helpful. It was important for my mother to hear our voices.”

Rob and one of his sisters, who also lives in Peterborough, are now essential caregivers for their mother at Springdale. Between Rob and his sister, their mother is having near-daily visits which has benefited everyone.

Before the pandemic began and right up to today, Rob says the Springdale staff has maintained its family atmosphere which has been important during this challenging time.

Staff members approach residents and their families as they would their own family and friends – on a “personal level,” Rob says. This holds true for people working in all departments at the home, he adds.

“The staff, in a way, became more like an extended family,” he says. “They are an extended family because they’re looking after our mother, and that’s important. We have absolute faith in the staff.”

– This is Part 1 of a two-part story.

If you have a story you would like to share with The OMNIway, please contact the newsroom at deron(at)axiomnews.com.

If you have feedback on this story, please contact the newsroom at deron(at)axiomnews.com.

Being an essential caregiver has been ‘absolutely wonderful,’ says daughter of Springdale resident

Maureen Whiteside says both she and her mother are benefiting from the in-home visits they’ve shared in recent months

Since becoming an essential caregiver in March, Maureen Whiteside has been at Springdale Country Manor regularly to spend one-to-one time with her mother, an experience she describes as being “absolutely wonderful.”

Maureen says visiting her mother three times a week at the Peterborough-area long-term care home has meant a lot to both her and her mother.

“You can’t believe the difference,” Maureen tells The OMNIway. “(My mother) really appreciates the visits and always asks when the next visit is.”

Maureen’s mother moved to Springdale Country Manor only weeks before the COVID-19 pandemic began in March 2020. When the pandemic was declared by the World Health Organization, Springdale, like other long-term care homes across Ontario, put pandemic protocols in place immediately and restricted visitation.

While Maureen and her mom were not able to have in-home visits for months, they did have regular phone calls and window visits, but as Maureen says, nothing beats being with her mother in person.

During her regular visits with her mom, Maureen says she has witnessed the compassion Springdale team members show residents. She says staff members go out of their way to give Springdale a homey, family-like atmosphere.

“I like that they chit-chat with all the residents,” she says. “They have pet names for the residents and they just are very happy and comfortable talking with the residents. That’s a big comfort. … They try to make it homey.”

One thing residents have been missing since the pandemic began is in-home entertainment, but Maureen says the Springdale team “tries to make up for that with personal visits and camaraderie.”

Before moving to Springdale, Maureen’s mother lived at Riverview Manor, another OMNI Health Care long-term care home.

Maureen says her mother also received outstanding care while living at Riverview and wants team members at that home to know how much she appreciates the staff.

“Mom spent several months at Riverview before going to Springdale, and I would like to give kudos to Riverview as well,” she says. “They were absolutely awesome.”

– This is Part 2 of a two-part story.

If you have a story you would like to share with The OMNIway, please contact the newsroom at deron(at)axiomnews.com.

If you have feedback on this story, please contact the newsroom at deron(at)axiomnews.com.

Springdale family member recounts how staff eased uncertainty early in the pandemic

Maureen Whiteside says the Springdale team has also been ‘very receptive’ to her mother’s needs

Maureen Whiteside recalls the swirl of uncertainty she experienced when the COVID-19 pandemic began in March 2020, only a couple of weeks after her mother moved into the Peterborough-area long-term care home.

“The whole world was in pandemonium, and Springdale shut everything done right away,” Maureen remembers.

Maureen’s mother lives in a private room at Springdale, and when window visits began the home’s staff members would assist her mom to ensure she could have visits with her loved ones standing outside. This offered a valuable measure of comfort, Maureen says.

Since residents’ loved ones could not enter long-term care homes at the start of the pandemic, communication was important during the first few months.

Maureen’s mother, who is 98, had recently learned how to use a cellphone she was given. The cellphone became an important communication tool for Maureen and her mother during this time, and Springdale staff members helped ensure the communication between Maureen and her mother stayed constant.

For example, if Maureen didn’t hear from her mother or if her phone calls went unanswered, Maureen would call Springdale and staff members would check to make sure her mother’s cellphone was charged and switched on.

Staff members would regularly charge her mother’s phone to ensure the battery was always full, Maureen says.

Maureen says the phone her mother uses is an older flip-phone which some of the younger staff members were unfamiliar with. Life enrichment co-ordinator Sonia Murney typed instructions for them detailing how to use the phone, Maureen says.

“It has made a huge difference,” Maureen says of staff members’ efforts.

Maureen adds that correspondence between her and the Springdale team has been top-notch and everyone has been “very good at responding, either by telephone or by e-mail.”

Maureen says one of Springdale’s greatest strengths is that staff members are cognizant of her mother’s needs and are always willing to help.

“Doing things as simple as plugging in her cellphone or having her radio tuned to the classical station she likes (are examples of this),” she says. “They are very receptive to small tasks as well as large tasks. I would have to say that my mom is well looked after.”

– This is Part 1 of a two-part story.

If you have a story you would like to share with The OMNIway, please contact the newsroom at deron(at)axiomnews.com.

If you have feedback on this story, please contact the newsroom at deron(at)axiomnews.com.