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Riverview LEA’s band gives residents their first outdoor entertainment of 2022

Residents’ council chose Trevor Davis’s band, Charlie Horse, to perform on July 14

Riverview Manor residents enjoyed their first outdoor entertainment of 2022 in style on July 14, when a local band featuring one of the Peterborough long-term care home’s team members played a show in the back garden.

The band – called Charlie Horse – includes life enrichment aide (LEA) Trevor Davis on guitar, and the combo played a wide range of tunes for residents that day.

Charlie Horse’s playlist includes songs from many genres, such as country, western swing, country-blues and ragtime.

The Riverview Manor residents’ council chose the band, whose name is, in part, a tribute to Rolling Stones drummer Charlie Watts, who passed away in 2021 at age 80.

“Plus, we’re kind of country and western, so that’s where the ‘horse’ (in Charlie Horse) came from,” Trevor explains.

With the arrival of summer, many OMNI Health Care homes have been taking advantage of the warm, sunny weather to host outdoor entertainment for residents.

Outdoor entertainment is a big crowd-pleaser at long-term care homes, and live music encourages lots of resident engagement.

Riverview Manor is no exception.

LEA Adam Wicklum says there were many residents from both the north- and south-side neighbourhoods who attended the performance that day.

Most residents chose to gather in the garden under the large gazebo, while others found spots along the walking path under one of the shady trees.

And, of course, there were refreshments available to keep everyone cool and hydrated.

“(The residents) also enjoyed a refreshing treat of Popsicles on a beautiful summer day,” Adam says.

If you have a story you would like to share with The OMNIway, please contact the newsroom at deron(at)axiomnews.com.

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Maplewood chef makes beef tenderloin even more tender

Tracy Morewood’s special recipe, which is served with hot potato salad, was entered in the March Madness recipe challenge

Steak is a favourite meal at Maplewood, and Tracy Morewood, the Brighton long-term care home’s nutritional care manager, has a steak recipe that’s both delicious and easy for residents to eat.

Her tenderloin steak with accompanying hot potato salad tastes so good Tracy entered this meal in OMNI Health Care’s first annual March Madness recipe challenge.

To make this special steak, Tracy begins by mixing soya sauce, olive oil, lemon juice, minced garlic, herbs and spices to make a marinade for the beef.

After marinating for four hours, Tracy sears the meat in a pan for two minutes per side and then places it on a baking tray with sautéed mushrooms. The meat and mushrooms are put into an oven set to 350 F.

The tenderloin is cooked to medium rare and then left to rest for 15 minutes. The steak is then garnished with a dollop of garlic butter and a sprig of rosemary.

While the variety of ingredients in the marinade gives the meat extra flavour, the marinade also makes the already tender cut of beef even easier for residents to eat, Tracy says.

“I chose steak (to enter in the contest) because (the residents) love steak, but chewing most steaks can be a challenge,” she writes in her contest entry form. “But with this marinade, it cuts like butter.”

Accompanying the beef tenderloin is hot potato salad, which Tracy makes by combining still-warm boiled red potatoes, bacon, broccoli florets, red onions, green onions and spices with a sauce made from Dijon mustard, apple cider vinegar and buttermilk dill dressing.

Chris Weber, OMNI’s operations manager of nutrition and food service, says the March Madness contest, which saw 16 recipes compete in a bracket contest where votes were cast each week between April 14 and May 6, was close.

The winning entry was a Mediterranean omelette, created by Josephine Goddard at Country Terrace, which won “by a very thin margin,” Chris says.

OMNI launched the first annual March Madness recipe challenge in March in recognition of Nutrition Month in Canada.

Chris came up with the idea to encourage nutritional care managers and cooks to showcase their most-loved recipes and to highlight the high-quality meals served in OMNI homes.

Throughout March, nutritional care managers and cooks prepared their favourite meals, plated them and took photos that were sent to head office. The photos were accompanied by the name of each meal and its recipe.

If you have a story you would like to share with The OMNIway, please contact the newsroom at deron(at)axiomnews.com.

If you have feedback on this story, please call the newsroom at deron(at)axiomnews.com.

Country Haven’s annual strawberry social was a sweet success

Residents were treated to strawberry-topped angel food cake made with fresh local berries

It was all smiles and strawberries at Almonte Country Haven on July 20.

That’s because the Lanark County long-term care home held its annual strawberry social that day, and there were lots of fresh, sweet berries for all.

Angel food cake topped with strawberries and whipped cream was the feature dessert served at this year’s strawberry social.

A Facebook post from the home that day notes that the “strawberries were oozing with goodness, and the juice was spilling over the delicate glassware” as residents tucked into their portion of berries and cake.

The event also featured a performance from local entertainer Hudson Majaury.

Naomi Redner, the Almonte Country Haven life enrichment co-ordinator, says the strawberries served at the event were locally grown, adding there are many strawberry farms in the area as well as two vendors at the edge of town selling the fruit.

Naomi says most of the home’s 57 residents attended the strawberry social, and life enrichment team members delivered helpings of the strawberry-topped angel food cake to those residents who stayed in their rooms.

“Our strawberry social was enjoyed by all,” she says, adding the event brought back fond memories for many residents.

“Residents (were served) such a familiar dessert that they would have made during the berry season when at home over the years. The whole dining room smelled like strawberries. It was a happy afternoon.”

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A casino, a henna tattoo parlour and a ’50s-style diner are among the quality programming themes residents have recently enjoyed

What do a casino, a 1950s-style diner and a henna tattoo parlour have in common? They’re all creative themes OMNI Health Care life enrichment teams have recently developed to deliver meaningful programming to residents.

Life enrichment teams across the organization work diligently every day to offer programming residents enjoy and help enhance their quality of life. Oftentimes, this means thinking outside the box.

At Frost Manor, team members tapped into residents’ love of games of chance to create a casino theme that ran for an entire month. To make the event authentic, the talented life enrichment team made a slot machine by loading a tablet with gaming apps and encasing it in a cardboard cover that resembled a one-armed bandit.

Team members came up with several other games, including casino pong; a poker game called “take-a-chance”; and dart poker, a game that saw residents use Nerf guns to try to hit cards to make a hand.

Team members also made a photo booth for residents that was covered with images of playing cards and dice.

Life enrichment co-ordinator (LEC) Amy Whitehead says the Frost Casino, as it was called, proved to be an excellent engagement tool.

“This gave a little extra incentive for the residents to come to programming,” she said.

At Garden Terrace, residents were introduced to henna tattoos with a program that not only explained the history of this traditional South Asian body art, but also gave residents a chance to get their own henna designs.

About 12 residents participated in the program. Because some people have a reaction to henna ink, life enrichment aide Neelam Luthara made a different version that everyone could use.

Neelam, who is from a South Asian background, shared the history of henna tattoos as well as interesting facts about the designs.

At Pleasant Meadow Manor, the life enrichment and nutritional care teams worked together to create a memorable 1950s-style diner that proved popular with residents.

LEC Kim Williams asked nutritional care manager Judy Schell if she and her team could make onion rings for residents on June 22 to celebrate National Onion Ring Day.

Judy liked the idea but suggested they do more than just make onion rings. She envisioned making onion rings as well as hamburgers, chicken burgers, french fries and root beer floats to create a 1950s-style diner atmosphere that would bring back fond memories for residents.

When the day came, team members served residents wearing special hand-painted hairnets, and the burgers, onion rings and fries were served in handmade containers that were delivered on a tray, diner-style.

It was immediately evident this was going over well with residents, Kim said.

“You could hear a pin drop in all the dining rooms as residents thoroughly enjoyed and devoured their chosen meal,” she said.

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PHOTO CAPTION: Frost Manor resident Martha Roy sits in a photo booth that was made for the casino-themed month the home recently hosted.

Taco-istic Treats Fiesta spices things up at Pleasant Meadow

‘When the residents asked to have tacos, the life enrichment staff stepped up to the plate and hit a home run

Pleasant Meadow Manor residents were recently treated to an afternoon “fiesta” that included lots of tasty tacos, pina coladas and Mexican-themed music – and this was after they’d already eaten lunch.

The residents of the Norwood, Ont. long-term care home recently asked to be served tacos, so the life enrichment team came up with an idea to make that wish come true and then some, says life enrichment co-ordinator Kim Williams.

“When the residents asked to have tacos, the life enrichment staff stepped up to the plate and hit a home run,” she tells The OMNIway.

The Taco-istic Treats Fiesta was held July 7. The life enrichment team made soft tacos filled with seasoned beef and an assortment of toppings, including cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, red onion, chopped jalapeno peppers, guacamole, sour cream and salsa.

Tortilla chips and Mexican corn salad were served on the side, and team members provided residents with non-alcoholic pina coladas to wash everything down.

Kim says the teamwork involved that day was stellar.

“The life enrichment staff had a great assembly line going, with two staff members making the tacos to order, one staff member playing the bartender and one delivering the goodies,” Kim explains.

To ensure everyone could participate, residents who couldn’t make it down to the fiesta were served tacos in their rooms.

The event included Mexican music videos playing on the home’s large-screen smart TV. Life enrichment team members wore sombreros and they decorated the activity room and trolley to add to the experience for the residents.

Kim says the tacos were so good that some residents couldn’t get enough.

“One resident had five tacos, and this was after he had a full lunch,” she says.

Kim says the event got residents socializing, and there was “a lot of chatting and laughter among the residents.”

“This program went off so well that the life enrichment staff are planning our next treat day,” she says.

If you have a story you would like to share with The OMNIway, please contact the newsroom at deron(at)axiomnews.com.

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Laughter is proving to be the best medicine at Pleasant Meadow Manor

New laughter yoga program is having emotional benefits for residents

Pleasant Meadow Manor residents are discovering that laughter truly is the best medicine.

Residents were recently introduced to laughter yoga sessions led by Kim Williams, the Norwood long-term care home’s life enrichment co-ordinator, and they’re seeing first-hand the emotional benefits the program delivers.

Laughter yoga is an exercise that marries voluntary laughter with breathing exercises. During laughter yoga sessions, participants maintain eye contact with one another which leads to contagious laughter.

Kim starts the sessions with a brief history and description of what laughter yoga is to help residents understand how the exercises may help them and to explain that it’s an activity that has been used in the medical profession.

This, she says, is to prevent participants from feeling “silly or foolish” during the exercises.

Kim and the residents then do warm-up exercises which consist of clapping and gently moving their bodies and legs. They then do deep breathing exercises.

They move on to the laughter exercises intermixed with “child-like playfulness,” and some singing. Sessions always include an affirmation which they say as loudly as they can: “I’m awesome, you’re awesome, we’re all awesome.”

Some of the laughter exercises Kim and the residents do include:

Gradient laughter: Everyone starts laughing quietly, gradually becoming louder

Roller-coaster laughter: Residents bring their arms up over their heads while saying “awww.” They then bring their arms down while saying “weee” or laughing

Full-moon laughter: The “favourite” laughter exercise where everyone howls like a wolf

“And of course, Rick (Riel), our maintenance manager, joins us for our Santa Claus laughter and our monkey laughter, which really gets everyone laughing for real and at times can cause tears of laughter,” Kim tells The OMNIway.

Kim learned about laughter yoga when she was a student in the recreation and leisure program at Fleming College and a laughter yoga instructor visited her class.

While admittedly skeptical at first, Kim says she noticed physical benefits after her initial laughter yoga session and even says she slept better that night.

Eventually, she took classes to become a certified laughter yoga instructor.

She first used laughter yoga with residents while working as a life enrichment aide at Frost Manor, where the sessions went over well. In fact, one Frost Manor resident said laughter yoga helped ease the severe anxiety she lived with, Kim notes.

Kim is noticing similar benefits at Pleasant Meadow Manor.

“We have found that our residents’ spirits are lifted, and you can see them smiling throughout the day,” she says.

“The way that I measure the benefits to the residents is that they returned for the next session and ask when the next one will be scheduled.”

If you have a story you would like to share with The OMNIway, please contact the newsroom at deron(at)axiomnews.com.

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Kentwood Park residents enjoy their first barbecue in two years

‘It was a beautiful day and everybody loved it’

Kentwood Park residents were treated to their first barbecue since the COVID-19 pandemic began in March 2020, and the event proved to be a big hit with residents of the Picton, Ont. long-term care home, says administrator Melanie Rudd.

Family members and friends were also invited to join residents and staff members for the barbecue, which featured classic country music from entertainer Jay Middleton, who specializes in musical performances for seniors.

Team members cooked hamburgers and hot dogs, and there was an array of salads for side dishes. Strawberry shortcake was served for dessert.

Melanie says the atmosphere of family, friends, good food and music made for a perfect day.

“We invited residents’ families and friends, and we (hosted the barbecue) in our side garden; it was a beautiful day and everybody loved it,” she tells The OMNIway.

Melanie adds that the barbecue sparked a high level of excitement in residents, who have been missing group events like this during the past two years.

“Everybody was so excited, the residents were really happy to finally be able to get together in a group activity; they were very appreciative of having the time together and celebrating something,” she says.

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Summer has brought more programming and renewed optimism to Forest Hill residents

Residents have been enjoying outdoor entertainment, church services and seeing old friends

With summer in full swing and some pandemic restrictions easing, many Forest Hill residents have been able to see some of their friends who are fellow residents for the first time in two years, which is having a positive impact and providing hope that we are on the path to things returning to normal, says Craig Forrest, the home’s life enrichment co-ordinator.

With some restrictions easing, Craig says Forest Hill tries to promote programming that allows residents to safely interact with one another while participating in activities they enjoy.

Summer, of course, allows for outdoor entertainment, and residents have been enjoying musical performers visiting the Ottawa-area long-term care home.

Craig says entertainment is important to residents, and, on average, one or two entertainers per week will perform outdoor shows during summer.

“We do try our best to have entertainment outside, (and) even when the residents are outside we try to keep them in groups by the floor they live on,” Craig says.

“But they have been getting to see some faces that they haven’t seen in a while; some are even getting together to play cards with people they haven’t seen in two years. It has been great to see the residents seeing faces that they haven’t seen in a little while.”

While some of the popular, long-standing Forest Hill programs – such as the Diner’s Club – are still on hold to keep everyone safe, residents and staff members alike are optimistic about their favourite events returning, Craig says.

Additionally, Forest Hill has been able to accommodate religious services for residents, with church groups coming in to conduct services in recent weeks.

“That’s definitely something that’s been lacking for residents over the past two and a half years, and many residents are happy to be able to attend church services again,” Craig says.

Craig adds that there are some events outside the home planned for this summer that he and the residents are looking forward to.

“We definitely have some outings we want to do this summer,” he says. “We’re getting slowly back to normal, but obviously we’re not 100 per cent there yet.”

If you have a story you would like to share with The OMNIway, please contact the newsroom at deron(at)axiomnews.com.

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Frost Manor residents enjoying weekly barbecues this summer

‘We are really trying to take advantage of the good weather and getting residents outside more’

After two years of not being able to host barbecues due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Frost Manor is making up for it by offering cookouts to residents every Friday throughout summer.

The Lindsay, Ont. long-term care home also has a new barbecue, so team members have been wanting to make the most of it, says administrator Neil MacDonald, who’s spearheading this initiative.

Neil says he got the idea to host weekly barbecues from his days working in the nutritional care department at another OMNI Health Care home, Riverview Manor, where life enrichment co-ordinator Sherry Baldwin organized weekly barbecues during summer.

“When I worked there they did this during the summer months and the residents just loved it,” he tells The OMNIway. “So we cook food on the barbecue and we put on music and the residents have fun in the sun and they really enjoy it.”

The barbecues, which are held on the home’s patio, are offered on a rotating basis, with different groups of residents each week to ensure everyone can attend without having the groups get too large.

Due to COVID-19 protocols that were in effect for two years, many activities and events had to be suspended. With restrictions now easing, having weekly barbecues is one way to give back to residents some of the fun they were missing, Neil says, adding the setup on the patio allows team members to cohort residents according to provincial protocols.

While Neil says Frost Manor has hosted summer barbecues in the past for residents, the home has never had these events on a regular basis.

“I think we did it once or twice annually before, but we are really trying to take advantage of the good weather and getting residents outside more,” he says.

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Maplewood team member’s contest entry adds Greek flavours to much-loved chicken

Chicken kebabs are a new twist on a much-loved favourite meal

Maplewood residents “love chicken,” so Emily Morewood, a team member in the nutritional care department at the Brighton, Ont. long-term care home, has created a Greek-style kebab that everyone enjoys.

The Greek kebab was also Emily’s submission to OMNI Health Care’s March Madness recipe challenge.

Emily says she came up with this recipe while looking for a new way to serve chicken to residents.

After a trial run serving her chicken kebab recipe for friends, she decided to bring the recipe to Maplewood.

“(I) recently tried these recipes while entertaining friends and knew they would be a hit,” Emily writes in her contest submission form.

Emily starts by making a marinade from olive oil, lemon juice, lemon zest, paprika, oregano, basil, thyme, garlic, salt, pepper and onion. She puts cubes of chicken thighs into this mixture and lets the meat rest in the refrigerator for two hours to absorb the flavours.

She then puts the chicken onto skewers between squares of onion and red pepper before cooking for about 10 minutes until the meat is at a temperature of 170 F.

Chris Weber, OMNI’s operations manager of nutrition and food service, says the March Madness contest, which saw 16 recipes compete in a bracket contest where votes were cast each week between April 14 and May 6, was close.

The winning entry was a Mediterranean omelette, created by Josephine Goddard at Country Terrace, which won “by a very thin margin,” Chris says.

OMNI launched the first annual March Madness recipe challenge in March in recognition of Nutrition Month in Canada.

Chris came up with the idea to encourage nutritional care managers and cooks to showcase their most-loved recipes and to highlight the high-quality meals served in OMNI homes.

Throughout March, nutritional care managers and cooks prepared their favourite meals, plated them and took photos that were sent to head office. The photos were accompanied by the name of each meal and its recipe.

If you have a story you would like to share with The OMNIway, please contact the newsroom at deron(at)axiomnews.com.

If you have feedback on this story, please contact the newsroom at deron(at)axiomnews.com.