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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Streamway Villa residents celebrate Chocolate Ice Cream Day

‘We ate chocolate everything’

Would you like a cone or bowl?

That was the big question Streamway Villa residents were faced with on June 7, which happened to be Chocolate Ice Cream Day.

The Cobourg, Ont. long-term care home’s residents were treated to generous helpings of the world’s second-most popular ice-cream flavour (after vanilla) to celebrate the occasion.

“We ate chocolate everything,” Streamway Villa life enrichment co-ordinator Laurie Kracht says.

According to the UK website for Carpigiani, an Italian company that manufactures ice cream and gelato machines, the history of chocolate ice cream dates back to 1692, when the first known recipe was recorded.

The Carpigiani website states that from its earliest days, ice cream was fashioned from popular drinks of the time, including coffee, tea and, of course, hot chocolate.

That’s not to say that the chocolate ice cream we enjoy today tastes the same as it did in the late 17th century.

“The first chocolate (ice cream) recipe, published in Naples, was quite different to the chocolate ice cream that we know and love today,” the website says. “It was based on a popular drinking chocolate that was regularly mixed with spices such as cinnamon and anise.”

The origins of Chocolate Ice Cream Day are foggy – The OMNIway could not find any sources detailing when the first Chocolate Ice Cream Day was held – but the important thing is Streamway Villa residents got to celebrate the day and even learn new things about the popular dessert.

“We talked about the fun facts of chocolate and ice cream,” Laurie says, adding, “did you know it takes 50 licks to get through one ice-cream cone?”

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Creative quick thinking saves Streamway Villa Cinco de Mayo celebrations

‘It ended up being so much fun’

Streamway Villa’s life enrichment department had scheduled a Cinco de Mayo celebration on May 5 for residents, but when the province announced new safety measures that included restrictions on buying non-essential items from stores, the life enrichment team was suddenly in a bind.

“I realized last minute that we didn’t have any decorations onsite, and then I realized that I couldn’t purchase decorations from the stores,” life enrichment co-ordinator Laurie Kracht tells The OMNIway.

Decorations are, of course, a big part of any Cinco de Mayo celebration, so the team had to think quickly to ensure the festivities could go ahead as planned.

Laurie networked with her colleagues at the Cobourg long-term care home and together they came up with ideas.

Administrator Kylie Szczebonski provided some decorations she had brought home from holidays in Mexico, and Laurie bought some Mexican finger foods, tacos, limeaid, a lime pie and tequila for residents to enjoy.

Laurie says everyone had a good time and staff members got everyone into the spirit of the day.

“My team got out some maracas, put on traditional Mexican music, and we celebrated,” she says. “It ended up being so much fun.”

Cinco de Mayo – which translates to “fifth of May” — commemorates the Mexican army’s defeat of French forces at the Battle of Puebla on May 5, 1862, during the French occupation of Mexico. The holiday is celebrated in many parts of Mexico, particularly the state of Puebla.

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Streamway mothers offer some motherly advice

Mother’s Day activity encouraged residents to share their thoughts and have some fun

Streamway Villa marked Mother’s Day on May 9 with an afternoon tea and an activity that gave the resident moms a chance to share some of their motherly advice.

The resident mothers wrote their advice on a small whiteboard and had their photos taken along with the advice they wanted to share. Some residents wore their favourite hats for the photos.

Some examples of the motherly advice residents had included, “Always say please and thank you”, “Do as I say, not as I do” and “Always be honest”.

Given restrictions in place due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Mother’s Day could not be the festive occasion it normally is with lots of family and friends visiting residents, but team members at the Cobourg, Ont. long-term care home used their creativity to make it a special day.

Life enrichment co-ordinator Laurie Kracht says even with social distancing and carefully arranged seating in place there was still a good turnout for Mother’s Day.

“(We) had a lovely afternoon tea with scones, cookies and butter tarts,” she tells The OMNIway.

“Some tulips were picked from the garden and placed on the tables and, of course, we couldn’t forget the fancy hats.”

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Streamway Villa residents make new feathered friends

Two ducks meandered into the home’s garden to visit residents as they did spring yard work

A group of Streamway Villa residents recently discovered that doing yard work can be just “ducky.”

The OMNIway recently told you about residents and staff members working together to beautify the garden and courtyard outside the Cobourg, Ont. long-term care home.

While residents and staff were raking leaves and setting up tables and chairs, two ducks ambled through the gate and into the garden from the small ravine outside the home.

The winged visitors made a nice day even better for residents, who named their new feathered friends Beatrice and Orville, says life enrichment co-ordinator Laurie Kracht.

“Literally, the two ducks just strolled in,” she tells The OMNIway. “They walked right up to us, not even afraid. … It was a nice moment for the staff and residents seeing the ducks.”

Beatrice and Orville stayed with residents in the garden for most of the day. They would walk around visiting residents, who could not have been more pleased, Laurie says.

When the day’s work was done and it was time for everyone to go back indoors, the ducks were still meandering around the yard.

Laurie guided them towards the gate so they wouldn’t be locked in.

“Then someone reminded me that ducks fly,” Laurie chuckles.

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Streamway Villa residents help prep garden for warmer weather

With spring well underway, Streamway Villa residents and staff members have been busy cleaning the yard and setting up furniture in the home’s garden and courtyard recently, getting everything ready for the warmer months that are just around the corner.

The Cobourg, Ont. long-term care home bought new patio furniture late last year, and some residents helped the team put out the new chairs and tables, while others raked leaves.

Some residents simply enjoyed relaxing in the fresh air.

“We spent two Fridays ago cleaning up the yard, putting the patio furniture together and making everything look pretty,” Streamway Villa life enrichment co-ordinator Laurie Kracht tells The OMNIway.

“Our primary goal is to get all the furniture set up, get rid of the leaves and then, in the next couple of weeks, we will start to get the garden ready and bring in flowers.”

Since it is anticipated that family members will once again be visiting their loved ones outside in the garden this summer, Laurie says residents and staff want the yard looking its best.

Laurie adds there’s a group of Streamway Villa residents who have green thumbs, and they’re looking forward to working in the garden in the coming months.

“Some of our newer residents will thrive working in the garden and will be a great help this year,” she says.

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Province approves development of 192-bed Streamway Villa Long-Term Care Home

The project, which will upgrade the current 59 beds Streamway Villa offers and add 133 new beds in Cobourg, is expected to begin next spring

COBOURG, Ont. – Streamway Villa residents and staff members are looking forward to living and working in a new, spacious 192-bed long-term care home with modern conveniences that will be built in Cobourg to replace the present home within the next three and a half years.

Representatives from OMNI Health Care, the Ontario government, Northumberland County and the Town of Cobourg held a press conference in the Streamway Villa courtyard March 22 to make the blockbuster announcement.

The project, which will likely begin next spring, will upgrade the current 59 long-term care beds Streamway Villa offers and add 133 new beds in Cobourg.

Construction is expected to take up to 36 months to complete, including the design and approval stages.

“We have a proud history of providing great care to this community, and we’re happy to see the Ontario government recognize the need for more long-term care beds right here in Cobourg,” said Patrick McCarthy, OMNI’s president and CEO.

Once completed, the new Streamway Villa will be a Class A long-term care home with modern amenities, such as wider hallways and more home-like dining areas, and privacy will be enhanced by limiting all rooms to no more than two beds.

The new home will be divided into six neighbourhoods, with 32 beds in each home area, to provide residents with a quieter, more enjoyable living experience.

Streamway Villa administrator Kylie Szczebonski said the new, state-of-the-art home with all its amenities will help enhance quality of life for residents and enable staff members to provide an even higher level of care.

“The new modern facility will have a significant impact and a positive impact on our residents, families and staff,” she said.

“The new home will allow us to provide the highest standard of care that we are known for in the community while also allowing us to easily incorporate new technologies and innovations into our practices.

“We cannot wait to have this new home, and we cannot wait to be one of the top (long-term care homes) in this province.”

Northumberland-Peterborough South MPP David Piccini underscored the impact the new home will have on the local community.

“Our loved ones in long-term care deserve a comfortable, modern place to live that is near family and friends and has the built-in supports they need when and where they need it,” Piccini said.

“The number of people in Cobourg who will need long-term care is expected to rise over the next decade. These new and upgraded spaces, built to modern design standards, will help ensure residents have access to the care they need in a safe and secure environment.”

With a growing aging population and a greater need for long-term care beds in the region, Northumberland County Warden Bob Crate said the project will help shorten wait times for people in the county seeking long-term care.

“An expanded 192-bed home will increase access to long-term care and address some of the associated pressures in our local health-care system,” he said.

Cobourg Mayor John Henderson also welcomed the announcement as a “historic long-term care investment” in the community.   

“We are proud and supportive of our aging demographic and recognize that this is a huge step in the right direction towards continuing to serve our senior population.”

The province has now approved redevelopment projects for seven OMNI long-term care homes since 2018.

In addition to today’s announcement for Streamway Villa, approval has been given for a new 192-bed Riverview Manor in Peterborough, a new 128-bed Village Green in Greater Napanee, and a redeveloped and expanded 128-bed Country Terrace in Komoka, Ont., all of which are currently in the design phase.

Construction is well underway on the renovation and expansion of Almonte Country Haven, Pleasant Meadow Manor and Woodland Villa.

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Friendly ‘hockey brawl’ livens up sports-themed day at Streamway Villa

Sports day is one of many day-long themed programs the home has been hosting in February and March

When a Streamway Villa resident wearing a Toronto Maple Leafs jersey came face to face with a life enrichment aide (LEA) clad in Boston Bruins attire, there was bound to be trouble.

The two hockey clubs are both renowned for their die-hard fans who, in some cases, don’t want to see the opposing team’s uniform in their neighbourhood.

So, when resident Gavin Wilson and LEA Lynette Sandercock crossed paths, they decided to have a brawl – albeit, a very friendly one – to liven up the sports-themed day Streamway Villa recently hosted.

“They were fighting it out for who the best hockey team is,” explains Streamway Villa life enrichment co-ordinator Laurie Kracht, who witnessed the “altercation.”

Gavin and Lynette happily posed for photos of them “duking it out” in support of their favourite team, and this is exactly the sort of passion the life enrichment staff was hoping to tap into during the sports-themed day.

During the sports-themed day residents and staff members were encouraged to wear jerseys, shirts, caps and other clothing with their favourite sports team’s logo.

Residents and staff members also watched sporting events on TV, and there was sports-themed trivia for everyone to enjoy as well.

The Cobourg long-term care home has once again organized Spirit Days, which are themed programs aimed at ramping up fun and laughter during the colder months.

Streamway Villa hosted Spirit Days last year at this time, but the COVID-19 pandemic began shortly after and the program had to be put on hold.

“Lately it has been pretty gloomy with the winter, cold days, and the pandemic so we chose to try and lift everyone’s spirits,” Laurie says.

“The Spirit Days are meant to just cheer everyone up since we still aren’t able to do much recreation programming besides one-to-ones or very small group activities.”

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Streamway Villa residents take a trip to ‘Margaritaville’

Residents and staff celebrate National Margarita Day

It may have been one of the coldest days this winter, but inside Streamway Villa residents were sipping margaritas on Feb. 22 to mark the drink’s special day.

On National Margarita Day, the life enrichment team at the Cobourg, Ont. long-term care home served up icy-cold margaritas for residents to enjoy – complete with straws and cocktail umbrellas.

“Originally we were all going to dress up in vacation gear, but I have to say it was hard, due to it being in a snowstorm that day and the coldest day of the year,” explains Streamway Villa life enrichment co-ordinator Laurie Kracht.

“But we did go through with the margaritas and a little dance party, of course. We played music like we were on vacation, such as Margaritaville, and then drank margaritas.”

For an added measure of fun, the life enrichment team asked residents to close their eyes and imagine they were walking along a warm, tropical beach, listening to the waves roll up to the shore.

“Some of the residents really engaged in the activity and started to tell me how hot the sand was on their toes and how they could hear birds in the distance,” Laurie says.

Margarita day was part of this year’s Spirit Days program at Streamway Villa. Spirit Days are themed programs aimed at ramping up fun and laughter during the colder months.

Streamway Villa hosted Spirit Days last year at this time, but the COVID-19 pandemic began shortly after and the program had to be put on hold.

“Lately it has been pretty gloomy with the winter, cold days, and the pandemic so we chose to try and lift everyone’s spirits,” Laurie says.

“The Spirit Days are meant to just cheer everyone up since we still aren’t able to do much recreation programming besides one-to-ones or very small group activities.”

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Students help make Valentine’s Day even more special at Streamway Villa

Grade 2 and 3 students from Notre Dame Catholic Elementary School send artwork to residents

Students at a local primary school helped ensure Streamway Villa residents had an extra-special Valentine’s Day.

The week before Valentine’s Day (Feb. 14), the Grade 2 and Grade 3 classes at nearby Notre Dame Catholic Elementary School made some creative Valentine’s Day artwork they sent to the Cobourg, Ont. long-term care home’s residents.

The small posters the students made feature photos of them blowing on an extended hand and sending a flurry of hearts into the air as a Valentine’s Day message.

“We have a relationship with (Notre Dame Catholic Elementary School); they always make cards for our seniors, this time they did an art project of them blowing hearts – it was so cute,” says Streamway Villa life enrichment co-ordinator Laurie Kracht.

Most importantly, Laurie says the students’ efforts were well-received by residents, who appreciated the time they took to create these unique pieces of art.

“The artwork put a huge smile on our residents’ faces,” she says. “It’s always special when we get stuff sent over from (the school).”

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