Fore! Streamway golf program combines fun with physical and cognitive benefits

Some of our residents were regular golfers, so they enjoy a good golfing afternoon’

Summer may be over, but Streamway Villa residents are still getting the occasional round of golf in at the Cobourg, Ont. long-term care home.

An activity that merges fun with therapeutic recreation, the golf program led by the Streamway Villa life enrichment team is held regularly in the home’s courtyard.

As part of the program, team members set up a strip of green turf with a hole at the end. Residents take turns stepping up to the “tee box” with a putter and try to putt the ball – which is larger than a regulation-size golf ball – into the hole.

Laurie Kracht, Streamway Villa’s life enrichment co-ordinator, says the activity is a fan favourite amongst residents and the program has a strong turnout when it’s offered.

She credits this to the fact many people enjoy playing golf.

“Some of our residents were regular golfers, so they enjoy a good golfing afternoon,” she tells The OMNIway.

Aside from the fun residents have playing on the Streamway Villa “golf course,” the activity also harnesses important cognitive and physical benefits, Laurie notes.

“(Golfing) brings back memories, it works on hand-eye co-ordination, it works on balance, and it brings out the competition in everyone,” she says.

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Streamway team creates fall fair for residents

Autumn is definitely in the air. If you live in a small Ontario town, that means fall fair time has arrived.

At Streamway Villa, team members created a festive fall fair for the Cobourg, Ont. long-term care home’s residents.

While some towns have cancelled their fall fairs this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Streamway Villa was able to host a safe event with protocols in effect.

Like all fall fairs, Streamway Villa’s event included a midway, with a variety of stations for games, and there were lots of treats for residents to enjoy.

There was also a barbecue with a fall fair favourite, corn on the cob, served to residents. No fall fair would be complete without a big stick of candy floss, and there was lots of that too, thanks to a new addition to the home.

“I bought us a cotton candy machine which the residents loved,” life enrichment co-ordinator Laurie Kracht tells The OMNIway.

Laurie adds the day was perfect for a fair.

“It was beautiful, not too hot, a nice breeze, and happy faces.”

Looking ahead, Laurie says she hopes to see the Streamway fall fair taken to a new height.

“We wanted to do more, but with the pandemic still out there, we were limited,” she says. “Maybe next year we can have the zoo animals or a horse and buggy ride.”

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Streamway has kept quality of life high for residents throughout the pandemic. This made a lasting impact on a resident and his sister

Gladys Morris shares how staff members made Streamway Villa truly a home for her brother, Doug

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, the Streamway Villa team has worked hard to keep the quality of life high for people living at the Cobourg, Ont. long-term care home, says Gladys Morris, adding the care and compassion shown by staff had a positive impact on her brother, while he was a resident.

Gladys’s brother, Doug, lived at Streamway Villa from October 2018 until he passed away on Aug. 14. Gladys, who had been an essential caregiver for Doug, recalls how the home organized events for residents that helped keep quality of life high while staying within the boundaries of safety protocols.

For instance, entertainers have come to perform from outside the fence in the parking area for residents who gather safely in the courtyard.

“The residents would be out there dancing in their wheelchairs, and the looks on their faces was just wonderful,” Gladys says. “Some residents who stayed inside would open their windows so they could hear everything.”

In late July, Streamway hosted an Olympic-themed week. At the end of the week, team members organized a closing ceremony with a parade for residents.

Team members decorated residents’ wheelchairs and walkers as part of a contest. Doug, a retired farmer, had his wheelchair decorated as a Cub Cadet tractor by personal support worker (PSW) Linda Norton.

Doug took second place in the contest and was overjoyed, Gladys says.

“He wasn’t able to be up there very long, but he really enjoyed it,” she says.

Gladys recalls the moment when she realized how much Streamway Villa meant to her brother.

Shortly before he passed away, Doug was in hospital for treatment. Upon returning to Streamway, Doug was sedated. He suddenly heard the voice of one of the PSWs.

“When he heard the voice of the PSW, he lit right up and it was like he was living anew,” Gladys says.

“That was the first thing that really hit me, and I said, ‘Doug, are you where you want to be?’, and he said, ‘yes, this is my home.’ ”

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

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Streamway opts for healthy ‘fruit barbecue’ in lieu of annual pool party

To keep everyone comfortable during the August heatwave, barbecued pineapple and watermelon were enjoyed in the shade

Every August, team members at Streamway Villa organize a summer pool party for residents. But with the recent heatwave and high humidity, staff wanted to keep everyone comfortable, so they changed things up this year and created a healthy barbecue for everyone instead.

During the Aug. 18 event, team members fired up the home’s barbecue and prepared pineapple rings and watermelon that were slightly singed and served up on paper plates.

Residents and staff members at the Cobourg, Ont. long-term care home enjoyed the day, says life enrichment co-ordinator Laurie Kracht, adding it was a welcomed change to beat the heat.

“The barbecue was our annual pool party, but the weather was just so hot,” she tells The OMNIway. “We were going to also have a bonfire, but the heat was just too much.”

With the mercury hovering above the 30-degree mark, a few residents decided to stay in the shade under the gazebo in the home’s courtyard or inside where it was cool.

While there was no pool this year, there was plenty of water, Laurie notes.

For some added fun, water guns were brought out and residents and staff members who didn’t mind getting a little wet could cool off with a soaking, she says.

“Instead of doing something big, we kept it simple,” Laurie says.

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‘Streamway is A-1 in my books’

Family member Gladys Morris praises Streamway Villa’s staff members for the love they showed her brother

Gladys Morris recalls the day her brother, Doug, moved into Streamway Villa in October 2018.

At first, Doug was reluctant to make the change from being on his own to living in a long-term care home, but once he got to Streamway, he changed his mind, Gladys says.

“The first day he was there, he felt at home, he fit right in,” Gladys tells The OMNIway.

What made a difference to Doug was the Streamway Villa staff and the family atmosphere the Cobourg, Ont. long-term care home provides, Gladys says.

Gladys says what made a difference to her is the Streamway Villa team’s resident-centred focus. There was always someone for Doug to talk with and there were always things for Doug and other residents to do, she notes.

This was evident from Day 1, Gladys says.

“I found that the staff members went above and beyond,” she says. “I cannot say enough good things about the staff members. They put the residents first, sometimes above even their own families.”

Doug recently passed away at Streamway Villa. Gladys says the care her brother received from staff and the friendships he cultivated among those living and working at the home had a positive impact on his quality of life during the nearly three years he lived at the home.

Gladys recalls the social aspects Doug enjoyed at Streamway Villa.

The home is located near Cobourg’s city centre, and Gladys notes how before the COVID-19 pandemic started in March 2020, staff members would often take residents to nearby restaurants for lunch or to any events happening in town.

“They would always take a group of the residents down to the strawberry social at the Waterfront Festival,” she says.

Then there were the in-house programs Doug enjoyed at Streamway Villa.

“He loved the music programs that they have there, and when people would bring children in he would just be in his glory, he just loved children,” Gladys says.

When the pandemic began, Streamway Villa, like other long-term care homes, immediately put restrictions in place to keep everyone safe. Family members were unable to visit their loved ones living in long-term care homes in the following months, but Gladys says the Streamway team continued to keep residents’ spirits high and contact was maintained with families through frequent phone calls and video calls.

“The love they have shown the residents during the pandemic (has been outstanding) and they were so good to the family members as well,” she says.

“Streamway is A-1 in my books.”

– This is Part 1 of a two-part story.

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In-house parade highlights final day of Streamway Villa Olympics

Team members worked hard to decorate residents’ wheelchairs and walkers

When Streamway Villa concluded the Cobourg, Ont. long-term care home’s Olympic Games on July 30, staff members hosted a special parade for residents that was highlighted by a wheelchair and walker decorating contest.

“All the staff got involved and decorated all the residents’ wheelchairs and walkers, then we had a parade to show them all off,” Streamway Villa life enrichment co-ordinator Laurie Kracht tells The OMNIway.

First place honours went to resident Alice Roberts, whose family members printed photos from the Streamway Villa Facebook page and attached them to her wheelchair with lights. Alice’s family members also decorated a hat she wore during the parade.

The second-place award went to resident Doug Carruthers, a farmer by trade, whose wheelchair was decorated as a Cub Cadet tractor by personal support worker Linda Norton, who came to the home on her own time to make sure Doug’s design would be a winner.

Third place honours went to a very “patriotic” resident, Emmett, “who loves Canada and always says we need to talk about our history to keep it alive,” Laurie says.

Throughout the week of July 26-30, the Cobourg, Ont. long-term care home celebrated the 2020 Tokyo Summer Games with a myriad of Olympic-themed events that engaged residents.

The parade capped off a memorable week for everyone.

“During the parade, we all had a really good laugh and we all needed it after the year we have had,” Laurie says.

Following the parade, Laurie bought pizza for all of the staff members who helped the residents decorate. She wanted to celebrate the team effort and hard work that went into organizing the Olympic-themed week.

“I was really proud of everyone that got involved because I know how busy everyone is,” Laurie says.

“I look forward to a non-pandemic world where we can really do more things as a team and show our residents how much we all love them – and, of course, have more really good laughs.”

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Spirit of Summer Olympics comes to Streamway Villa

Residents participated in a week-long series of events and activities focused on the Tokyo games

The 2020 Summer Olympics is in full swing in Tokyo, and the residents of Streamway Villa have also been in the spirit of the Games of the 32nd Olympiad.

Throughout the week of July 26-30, the Cobourg, Ont. long-term care home celebrated the Summer Games with a myriad of Olympic-themed events that engaged residents.

With many residents interested in the Summer Olympics, Streamway Villa team members have posted the schedule of events each day on the home’s activity board.

The activity board also features a new photo and information to spotlight individual members of the Canadian Olympic team. There is also a space for the medal table to keep track of how many gold, silver and bronze medals Canadian athletes win.

The life enrichment team has led residents in programs about the history of the Olympics and they have been showing replays of all the medal wins for Canadian athletes, notes life enrichment co-ordinator Laurie Kracht.

An Olympic quiz game has been played as well as “Olympic bingo,” Laurie adds. For a crafts activity, residents made Olympic crowns.

On July 30, the events came to an end, with residents and team members playing more Olympic-themed games, including an egg-and-spoon relay, and there was a parade for residents who had their walkers and wheelchairs decorated by team members.

Staff members were treated to a pizza party to thank them for their work decorating.

“We’re calling it our very own Olympic closing ceremony,” Laurie says.

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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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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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