OMNI homes take advantage of courtyards and gardens to create safe programming

Residents have been enjoying an increase in safe activities, thanks to team members’ ingenuity

OMNI Health Care team members have been coming up with innovative ideas to make the most of the courtyards and gardens that surround the long-term care homes where they work to enhance quality of life for residents during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

One creative idea came from the life enrichment team members at Streamway Villa who turned the Cobourg long-term care home’s courtyard into a campground Aug. 10 to 14 so residents could have safe camping experiences.

In the courtyard were an outdoor fire pit, a tent, an inflatable pool where residents could catch plastic fish, posted campground rules and signs warning everyone to “watch out for bears.”

The highlight of the week was a campfire on Aug. 12 where residents roasted marshmallows and hot dogs at the fire pit in the home’s courtyard.

“That was the best part; it was great to see the residents all laughing,” says life enrichment co-ordinator (LEC) Laurie Kracht.

“Everyone had a great time, and even the residents who normally don’t participate, they were raving about it the next day.”

Since some restrictions in long-term care homes have eased, the nutritional care team at Country Terrace has brought back one of the most popular meal programs: Thursday barbecues.

Every Thursday the Komoka, Ont. long-term care home’s nutritional care team fires up the barbecue to grill hamburgers and cheeseburgers for up to 12 residents at a time, with social distancing in effect at all times to keep everyone safe during the pandemic.

Because there’s a limit of 12 residents at a time who can attend the barbecues, there is a rotating schedule to allow a different group of residents to the event each week.

“(Residents) love the barbecues and especially eating outside in such beautiful weather,” says nutritional care manager Alex Achillini.

In St. Marys, Ont., Wildwood Care Centre residents have been busy tending to the home’s gardens by planting tomatoes and watering plants and flowers.

For many residents, gardening is an activity they have enjoyed their whole lives, so planting flowers, growing vegetables and watering is a way to not only latch on to their past but to continue doing something they love.

“They love coming out to their courtyard and doing the gardening and watching everything grow – that’s what they all talk about,” says LEC Alison Hoskins.

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