Streamway Santa provides gifts for 40 residents

Mr. And Mrs. Claus are seen here at Streamway Villa.

Mr. And Mrs. Claus are seen here at Streamway Villa.

Janet Kellar brings Christmas cheer to home

Tuesday, January 7, 2014 — Jennifer Neutel

Streamway Villa staff feel it was the best Christmas gift-giving festivities yet for the home’s 59 residents, in large part thanks to the work of an unexpected “Santa.”

Janet Kellar, a Mary Kay consultant, contacted the home’s life enrichment co-ordinator Christina Verleysen at the beginning of November saying she’d like to provide gifts for the residents. Kellar had no previous connection to the home.
Kellar says she decided to contact Streamway to take part in Mary Kay’s Adopt a Grandparent Program, which is a way to get out into the community and meet people in the Cobourg area. She picked Streamway Villa as she thought some residents may not have family close by or be able to leave during the holidays.

“I thought anything to lighten their day, brighten their eyes, get the excited because that’s what it’s all about,” says Kellar.

She visited 160 local businesses and asked for their support of $20 towards a resident’s gift. Some businesses who declined said they may be interested in future years if they receive the request earlier.
Of those that took part, some provided the donation through the business while others made a personal donation.

On Dec. 23, Kellar and her husband delivered the basket-wrapped gifts to Streamway Villa. Each basket included a Mary Kay product as well as different items such as mugs, socks, deodorant, candy and razors.

In addition, the home received gift certificates for residents to attend a movie at the local Northumberland Mall Theatres and a $25 gift card to grocery store Metro, which was used to purchase treats for a New Year’s Eve celebration. No Frills donated boxes of President’s Choice cookies.

Verleysen says Kellar’s contribution was unbelievable and heart-warming.

“I’ve never encountered anything like this before,” she says.

On Christmas morning, each resident had at least two gifts to open. Staff members picked about 45 resident names off a list in the staff room to purchase gifts for, and local company Limpact provides gifts for 10-15 residents each year.

Verleysen matched Kellar’s gift baskets to residents. One resident who enjoys taking baths was given a fall mat for the bath tub, which “she loved.”

Two residents dressed as Mr. and Mrs. Claus called out the gifts and who donated the gift. Many staff took video and photos as they saw the “joy and excitement” on the residents’ faces, says Verleysen.

Kellar says that though the project took a lot of time, seeing the gratitude of Verleysen and knowing the appreciation made it worthwhile.

“You don’t even think about the time and the effort because that’s what it is about — is helping other people,” Kellar tells the OMNIway, noting she wishes she could have been a fly on the wall on Christmas morning to see the residents’ reactions.

“It was quite a rewarding effort, I felt really good about taking those gifts down for all of the seniors,” she adds.

This year, Kellar hopes to start asking businesses to get involved earlier and be able to provide gifts for all Streamway Villa residents.

Verleysen would like to extend her thanks to Kellar, Limpact and the following businesses who took part in the Adopt a Grandparent program: Northumberland Mall Theatres, Metro, Medigas, No Frills, a gallery in Cobourg, Marlin Travel, Lawn Care, Frenchies Deli, United TV Stereo, Stanley’s Fish and Chips, Gypsy Cece Tattoo, Serenity Day Spa, Rental City, Party Lines, Soula’s Tea Garden, Tugg’s Furniture Gallery, Jim’s Pizza Palace, Kelly’s Homelike Inn, House of Attitudes, Insurance Services, Erika Sorensen, Pizza Pizza, All Creatures Great and Small, The UPS Store, TNS Health Food, Lucinda, and MacCoubrey Funeral Home.

If you have feedback on this story, please call the newsroom at 800-294-0051, ext. 23, or e-mail deron(at)axiomnews.ca.

Administrator underscores role of storytelling in strengthening health system

OMNIway stories capturing attention outside Ontario

December 13, 2013 — Deron Hamel

When a nurse in Nova Scotia was recently looking for information about the Behavioural Supports Ontario (BSO) initiative he did an Internet search and came across an OMNIway story about Streamway Villa’s success with the program that’s posted on the Central East Local Health Integration Network’s (LHIN’s) website.

Streamway Villa

Streamway Villa

From there, the nurse e-mailed Streamway Villa administrator Kylie Szczebonski to learn more about what the Cobourg long-term care home had accomplished through its involvement with BSO, a provincial initiative to help enhance quality of life for seniors affected by dementia and other conditions that cause agitation.

“And I gladly gave him everything that I had,” Szczebonski tells the OMNIway. “I sent him a lot about Central East LHIN and the whole (BSO) project, and then talked about Streamway Villa and OMNI and how OMNI is really taking off with our Supportive Measures program.”

Szczebonski says this illustrates the role OMNI Health Care and its 17 long-term care homes can play in addressing issues related to elder care in Canada.

Likewise, the administrator says the OMNIway, which is produced by Axiom News, can play a role facilitating this engagement via the success stories published on the website.

“We are in a media world. Google something you want to know and it will pop up, and that’s the way of the future,” Szczebonski says. “Because (the OMNIway) is online, the stories that are out there are going to catch on. A lot of the stories focus on our quality and that’s really what’s going to capture people’s attention — all everybody hears in health care is quality, quality, quality. That’s because quality is important.”

Szczebonski refers to the fact Canada is the only G8 nation without a national dementia strategy, an issue that’s received media attention this week due to the Dec. 11 G8 dementia conference in London. The administrator says OMNI’s homes and the OMNIway can play a part in bringing stakeholders across the country together through news stories showcasing what’s working.

Ideally, this information sharing could eventually lead to a nationwide strategy, Szczebonski says.

“We’re not copyrighting things because we want people to take what we’ve done and use it,” she says.

See the links below to read OMNI stories posted on the Central East LHIN’s website.

Documentaries deliver hope for long-term care leaders

Responsive behaviours, restraints, medication use decreasing at Streamway Villa

If you have a story you would like to share with the OMNIway, please contact newsroom at 800-294-0051, ext. 23, or e-mail deron(at)axiomnews.ca.

If you have feedback on this story, please call the newsroom at 800-294-0051, ext. 23, or e-mail deron(at)axiomnews.ca.

Streamway staff save lives by donating blood

Home joins Canadian Blood Services Partners for Life program

November 29, 2013 — Jennifer Neutel 

When Christina Verleysen looked across the room as she donated blood and saw her Streamway Villa colleagues, she says she felt even more proud to be a part of the home.

“It was just amazing the response I got so it was definitely something that I will be doing again in January,” says Verleysen. “It brought us closer – it doesn’t matter what your position is at Streamway, everyone came together.” Photo From Canadian Blood Services.

“It was just amazing the response I got so it was definitely something that I will be doing again in January,” says Verleysen. “It brought us closer – it doesn’t matter what your position is at Streamway, everyone came together.”
Photo From Canadian Blood Services.

Fifteen of the Cobourg long-term care home’s staff members donated blood Nov. 20 at the Columbus Community Centre, thanks to the idea of dietary aide Tamara Dunn. Dunn approached Verleysen, life enrichment co-ordinator at the home, with the idea and asked if Verleysen could organize it.

“I’m a regular donor and I think everybody should do it if they can,” Dunn tells the OMNIway.

When Verleysen approached colleagues they were eager to give blood and understood the importance of saving lives.

“It was just amazing the response I got so it was definitely something that I will be doing again in January,” says Verleysen. “It brought us closer – it doesn’t matter what your position is at Streamway, everyone came together.”

According to the Canadian Blood Services every hour saves three lives, so through the 15 staff members 45 lives were saved.

Streamway Villa is now part of Canadian Blood Services’ Partners for Life Program, and will be in touch with the agency every other month.

Canadian Blood Services community development co-ordinator Crystal Powell says Verleysen was able to educate and recruit a large number of donors for their first blood drive. The home has a goal of 30 units of blood (one unit equals one donation, healthy donors can donate every 56 days) for 2014.

“I am sure they will far exceed this number given the great leadership of Christina and the obvious camaraderie and teamwork of its staff. I look forward to watching their lifesaving number grow throughout the year,” says Powell.

Among the benefits to workplaces for getting involved with Canadian Blood Services are saving lives, building staff morale and pride, providing employee development opportunities, having a positive public image and receiving recognition from Canadian Blood Services.

“New donors are essential to the continued success of our blood donor clinics and the Partner for Life program is a great way for organizations, groups, companies to become involved,” says Powell.

To learn more about the Partners for Life program or to join visit www.blood.ca. After joining, a community development coordinator gets in touch to answer questions, complete the registration process and develop an individual plan.

If you have a story you would like to share with the OMNIway, please contact newsroom at 800-294-0051, ext. 26, or email jennifer(at)axiomnews.ca.

If you have feedback on this story, please call the newsroom at 800-294-0051, ext. 26, or e-mail jennifer(at)axiomnews.ca.

Halloween comes to OMNI homes

Homes host parties to celebrate a favourite tradition

November 4, 2013 — Deron Hamel

Streamway Villa staff members show off their costumes during the home's annual Halloween party.

Streamway Villa staff members show off their costumes during the home’s annual Halloween party.

OMNI Health Care long-term care homes celebrated Halloween, a favourite holiday amongst residents and staff members, on Oct. 31 and residents and staff members had a ball, say organizers.

Streamway Villa and Frost Manor were busy last week planning activities for residents, some of which brought a unique twist to Halloween parties.

At Streamway Villa in Cobourg, the morning exercise class was given a Halloween theme: “Monster Mash Fun and Fitness,” that saw Halloween songs played.

There was also Halloween bingo and all residents received sweets and Halloween prizes. Some residents who opted out of bingo carved pumpkins and decorated Halloween cupcakes.

In the evening, the Bernard Sisters, a sister act that has been entertaining OMNI home residents for many years, was on hand that day.

“Residents looked amazing — we had priests, Mother Theresa, chefs, clowns, witches, pirates (and) spice racks,” says life enrichment co-ordinator (LEC) Christina Verleysen.

Staff members also did an “amazing job” dressing up, too, she adds. “We have Si from Duck Dynasty, a flapper girl, Raggedy Ann and brother (Andy), a hockey fan (and a) pirate.”

At Frost Manor in Lindsay, residents and staff members dressed up in an array of costumes for that home’s Halloween shindig. Costumes included an angel, a witch and a police officer amongst others.

The day before Halloween was an intergenerational craft day. Students from St. Dominic Catholic Elementary School came dressed in costumes.

LEC Vi O’Leary commends staff members for their hard work, adding their efforts paid off.

“The residents loved it,” she says.

Do you have a story you would like to share with the OMNIway? If so, please contact the newsroom at 800-294-0051, ext. 23, or e-mail deron(at)axiomnews.ca.

If you have any feedback on this story, please contact the newsroom at 800-294-0051, ext. 23, or e-mail deron(at)axiomnews.ca.

Residents give back through Christmas Bazaar

Streamway Villa seniors support Philippines relief, the Giving Tree

November 28, 2013 — Jennifer Neutel 

Streamway Villa’s annual Christmas Bazaar has a new element this year that Christina Verleysen says may make it the best yet – the residents’ council is putting all proceeds towards two good causes.

Some of the funds raised will be donated towards Typhoon Haiyan Philippines relief. OMNI Health Care president and CEO Patrick McCarthy sent out an e-mail noting that any money makes a difference, prompting the idea. OMNI is matching donations made towards Typhoon Haiyan relief dollar for dollar, and the Government of Canada is doubling every individual donation.

The rest of the funds will go towards purchasing gifts for two children in need through the Northumberland Mall’s Giving Tree. Children who appear on the Giving Tree are referred by a number of community organizations.

“It’s definitely going to be one busy Christmas, however it’s going to be probably the best bazaar yet because of what we are putting the funds towards,” says Christina Verleysen, life enrichment coordinator at the long-term care home.

The residents’ council vice-president came to Verleysen’s office noting she had spoken with other residents and they all agreed these causes are what they want the bazaar proceeds to be spent on.

Verleysen notes the residents’ council fund currently has a healthy savings allowing the funds to be used in this way, rather than putting it towards entertainment and outings.

The Christmas Bazaar is taking place at the Cobourg home this Saturday, Nov. 30, from 2 to 4 p.m.

There is a $2 charge at the door. Music entertainment will be provided by Doug Morgan and tea, coffee and hot chocolate will be served.

Family members are providing baked goods. The home’s administrator Kylie Szczebonski takes photographs and frames them as raffle prizes, which are a big hit, says Verleysen.

Residents have been making salsa and cranberry ketchup to sell. A woman whose mother previously lived at the home has also rented a table to sell items.

To spread the word about the event an ad was placed in the local newspaper, and family members have since told Verleysen that is how they found out about it.

“I am hoping to see more of the community coming in this year,” says Verleysen.

Being located close to Cobourg’s downtown, hosting the bazaar allows the home to get its name out in the community and is a way to do something active and give back, she adds.

If you have a story you would like to share with the OMNIway, please contact newsroom at 800-294-0051, ext. 26, or email jennifer(at)axiomnews.ca.

If you have feedback on this story, please call the newsroom at 800-294-0051, ext. 26, or e-mail jennifer(at)axiomnews.ca.

Streamway toasts volunteers for making a difference

Streamway Villa residents Fred and Joan Hawes are seen here enjoying the home's recent volunteer barbecue.

Streamway Villa residents Fred and Joan Hawes are seen here enjoying the home’s recent volunteer barbecue.

Annual BBQ brings together all those who enrich residents’ lives

October 17, 2013 — Deron Hamel 

Streamway Villa recently hosted a volunteer barbecue to say thank you to the many people who give their spare time to enhancing the lives of residents at the Cobourg long-term care home.

The barbecue has been a tradition at Streamway Villa for the past four years, and is always held in the autumn when there are fewer events and everyone has more time.

Hosted in Streamway Villa’s courtyard Sept. 28, the barbecue featured live entertainment for the first time. Food included sausages, hamburgers, salads and cake.

Residents and staff members made thank-you cards with a special inscription:

“We are very fortunate to have such amazing volunteers like you that come to our home to strive to bring hope, love and understanding to all of our residents in the form of musical entertainment, crafts, block walks, lending a helping hand on van outings/events or socializing one on one with our amazing residents,” the cards read. “Streamway Villa would not be the comfortable, fun and hopeful home it is without our volunteers.”

As a token of appreciation for their hard work and dedication to residents, staff members gave the volunteers soup mugs that read, “Volunteers are souper” on one side and on the other side, “Our team is ‘souper’ because volunteers like you go above and beyond in all that they do.”

Life enrichment co-ordinator Christina Verleysen notes that these words incorporate a core element of OMNI Health Care’s culture: going above and beyond to ensure the best quality of life for residents.

“All life enrichment staff were present to cater and engage with our volunteers as well as say a speech at the end of the day,” she says. “The sun was out, the food was amazing, the music was great and many laughs and stories were heard.”

If you have feedback on this story, please call the newsroom at 800-294-0051, ext. 23, or e-mail deron(at)axiomnews.ca.