‘Perpetual smiling staff member’ lives the OMNIway

Jessica Lynch nominated for Anita St-Jean Memorial Caregiver of the Year Award

From picking flowers with residents to helping them make fresh fruit smoothies, Jessica Lynch “lives” the OMNI values of honesty, integrity, creativity, and fun and laughter.

These are just two examples of how Lynch, a life enrichment aide (LEA), strives to make life meaningful for residents of Almonte Country Haven.

These are also among the reasons why the Almonte long-term care home is nominating Lynch for the Anita St-Jean Memorial Caregiver of the Year Award, which will be announced Oct. 26 during the You and Me for Memories Evening to Remember Gala in Ottawa.

“(Jessica) Lynch embraces the OMNIway — the way we care as the essence of our culture that is based on providing exceptional care with heart and humanity,” says Marilyn Colton, Almonte Country Haven administrator.

“She uses her heart and her mind to bring purpose, hope and belonging to our residents and their families.”

Lynch recently took a group of residents, who have dementia, outside to pick dandelions, talk about the process of making dandelion wine and blow the flowers’ tiny seeds into the wind.

“This was Jessica’s ongoing creative approach as part of the sensory stimulation program. The residents responded with big smiles and ‘a let’s do more’ request,” Colton explains.

About 75 per cent of the home’s 82 residents have dementia. “She constantly strives to enrich the lives of these special people.” The administrator says Lynch is “very aware” of the backgrounds of each resident and uses the information to plan productive and meaningful activities for them.

The LEA also strives to provide one-to-one support. For instance, Lynch initiated a walking program for a resident who has Down syndrome and was required to lose weight. As a result, the resident has an increased level of independence and larger sense of pride, Colton says.

The employee is also a pleasure to be around. “(She) is our perpetual smiling staff member . . . and her happiness is reflected in the way she relates to our residents, their families, co-workers and other stakeholders.”

The Anita St-Jean Memorial Caregiver of the Year Award is given out annually during the You and Me for Memories and Evening to Remember Gala to front-line caregivers in the Ottawa region who have shown outstanding performance in caring for people with Alzheimer’s disease or related dementia.

You and Me for Memories is a grassroots group raising money for Alzheimer’s disease research. It was started in 2008 by family members of Garden Terrace residents.

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