EDITORIAL: Building strong community connections a resounding theme throughout OMNI in 2019

If you’ve been regularly reading The OMNIway throughout 2019, you will have noticed there has been a strong focus on how OMNI Health Care’s 18 long-term care homes have been engaging with their local communities.

This is because OMNI recognizes the important roles our homes play in the neighbourhoods, towns and villages where they are located. As such, homes have been increasingly mindful of building strong community connections for the past two years.

There are many ways OMNI long-term care homes have been working with their local communities this year. The result has been increased resident engagement and more exposure for homes in their local communities.

Springdale Country Manor has continued to build on its partnership with Thomas A. Stewart Secondary School in Peterborough through an initiative to beautify the home’s gardens and outdoor areas.

For the five participating students from the school’s horticultural program this past spring and summer, the partnership was a chance to learn about plant husbandry while forming friendships with residents.

A new partnership Village Green has formed with a local branch of the Ontario Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals is helping bring kittens to the Greater Napanee long-term care home once a month, and residents couldn’t be happier.

The emotional benefits animals can bring to the senior population has been well-documented, and Village Green has been seeing these benefits first-hand. Since many residents have owned cats, the kittens are bringing back valuable fond memories for them.

The Maplewood team this past Halloween came up with a “spooky” idea to bring the citizens of Brighton, Ont. into their home. For the two weeks leading up to Oct. 31, Maplewood opened its garden to the public for a few hours on select evenings for people to check out the displays of ghosts and ghouls team members created for Halloween.

As a bonus, the event raised $600 for Maplewood’s residents’ council.

We have only touched on a few examples of valuable community engagement this year. There were many more great ways homes interacted with their local communities in 2019, and we will be sure to see more great stories in the year ahead.