Family member enlivens Kentwood Park with her go-getter spirit

LEAD Wreaths

Family member Barb Hogan with her mother, Irene, and one of the 60 blankets they made together. The wreaths pictured to the right are another project Barb had a hand in bringing into the long-term care home.

‘I just enjoy the interaction and seeing everyone have fun,’ says Barb Hogan

One evening Barb Hogan was visiting her mother who lives at Kentwood Park long-term care home in Picton. Nothing much was happening and there was nothing on TV, so she decided to “nab,” as she says, a few residents for a simple game of ring toss.

No points were kept, and the game only lasted about an hour. But it was an activity that brought people together and got them laughing for a time.

On other days, Hogan takes time just to be together with her mother and whoever else shows up in one of the home’s gathering places.

“We’ll sit around and nobody will be in the same book, let alone on the same page, but we’ll all be carrying on a conversation and everyone will be having a good time,” she says with a chuckle.

This past spring, Hogan was out shopping and some simple Easter crafts caught her eye. She purchased them and brought them in for her mother to glue together as festive centrepieces for the home’s dining room tables.

These are just a few ways that Hogan brings simple, spontaneous fun and activity to Kentwood Park, an OMNI Health Care home.

Though Hogan declares she did not inherit her mother’s brilliant gift for making crafts, she clearly has a knack for coming up with doable activities that her mother and others will enjoy.

“I’m always looking for simple crafts that we can do,” she says.

One winter, for instance, Hogan found a pattern for iron-together table runners that her mother – who absolutely loves to iron – could make. Together they created enough table runners for everyone in the home.

Hogan and her mother, with the occasional help of a few other residents, also cut and tied 60 no-sew fleece blankets over a period of a few weeks.

Hogan says she just does what she does because she likes people.

She’s also thankful for the time she gets to spend with her mother, Irene, aged 91, who at one point was given only days to live after a heart attack. “We’ve had an almost six year bonus with her,” Hogan says.

Life enrichment co-ordinator Lisa Mills expresses deep gratitude for all that Hogan does at the home, which also includes helping out on bingo nights and bringing in baked goods. “She’s a real go-getter,” Mills says.

April 10 to 16 has been designated National Volunteer Week in Canada.

To share a story to celebrate a volunteer or group of volunteers at your home, please contact the OMNIway at deron(at), or call 800-294-0051, ext. 23.