Staff members’ creativity keeping quality of life high in OMNI homes

Providing residents living in OMNI Health Care’s 18 long-term care homes with a high quality of life is central to the organization’s mission, and this has been especially important during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Team members working in OMNI homes have been consistently finding creative solutions to keep residents happy during this challenging time, a true testament to their dedication to the residents they serve.

In late March, Frost Manor hosted its annual Tropical Day, which proved to be a big hit with residents and staff members alike.

One of the major highlights of the event was the environmental services team dressing up in seashell-top bikinis, grass skirts and leis and doing a Hawaiian dance through the dining rooms during breakfast, a gesture that received a round of applause from residents and their fellow staff members.

With restrictions in place to keep everyone safe during the pandemic, the team wanted to bring some extra fun and laughter to everyone to keep spirits up, says Frost Manor environmental services and maintenance manager Rick Riel.

“There was much-needed laughter and funny comments,” he says.

Burnbrae Gardens life enrichment aide Shawna Booth has created a multifaceted music program called Music Appreciation that has been successful at engaging residents in an activity that combines music, exercise and reminiscing.

The program, which Shawna hosts once a week, always has a different theme. The program has even attracted residents who often don’t participate in activities.

Residents gather in small, physically distanced groups while music is played. Often, Shawna leads residents in exercises they can do standing or sitting.

“Sometimes we do activities where residents can dance in their chair for exercise where there are movements to go along with the songs, (and) sometimes we will play songs that will get residents reminiscing,” Shawna says, adding residents recently enjoyed reminiscing about songs they remembered hearing at weddings and other events.

In mid-February, West Lake Terrace hosted an activity week that was highlighted by team members turning the dining room into a 1950s-style diner.

The menu featured items such as burgers, hot dogs, fries and onion rings, and everything was served in baskets lined with checkered paper. There were ice-cream sundaes for dessert and cherry cola to wash everything down.

For life enrichment co-ordinator Janie Denard, the 1950s theme day was the pinnacle of a week of fun events that aimed to blow away the winter blues.

“We really wanted to be creative this year to come up with activities that would help both the residents and the staff beat the blahs this year,” she says.