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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.

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Chef’s chicken souvlaki is a delicious way to pack recommended nutrients into a meal

Streamway Villa’s Litsa Christodoulou entered this delicious and nutritious meal in the March Madness recipe contest

When the Streamway Villa nutritional care team asked residents what they would like for their residents’ choice meal, a favourite Greek dish, chicken souvlaki, was at the top of the list.

It just so happens that one of the Cobourg long-term care home’s nutritional care team members comes from a Greek background and can expertly prepare this meal of grilled marinated chicken.

Litsa Christodoulou says her chicken souvlaki is not only a meal residents enjoy, but it also delivers the recommended daily nutrients residents need.

In addition to the marinated chicken, Litsa serves her chicken souvlaki with sides of lemon rice, warm pita bread and a classic Greek salad made from tomatoes, cucumbers black olives and feta cheese.

This meal is so good that Litsa entered the recipe in OMNI Health Care’s March Madness recipe challenge.

“Speaking with residents regarding the residents’ choice (meal), this was one of their requests, and coming from a Greek background myself, it was my pleasure to introduce and prepare for them a famous Greek dish,” Litsa says in her submission form.

“(This recipe) provides all the recommended nutrients for a meal protein, carbohydrates and vegetables … (and) for that reason alone I am submitting my dish.”

While Litsa keeps her recipe a secret, she’s willing to share that she marinates chicken breast cubes in a mixture of vegetable oil, garlic powder and mustard for two hours before cooking.

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.

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Barbecue helps make a perfect Country Terrace afternoon

Good weather, great food and relaxing conversation mark the home’s first outdoor luncheon this summer

The first Country Terrace barbecue of 2022 had everything the Komoka, Ont. long-term care home’s residents and team members could have asked for: good weather, great food and relaxing conversation.

Even though Country Terrace does not have an actual barbecue – nutritional care manager Alex Achillini prepared all the food in the kitchen – the same ambiance one would expect to find at any outdoor cookout was still there, says Lora Blackett, the home’s life enrichment co-ordinator.

“The food was just as good,” Lora tells The OMNIway.

Alex put together “a lovely spread,” Lora adds, noting the lunchtime offerings included hamburgers, hot dogs and chicken burgers.

Country Terrace is currently undergoing a redevelopment project to add 50,518 square feet and eight beds to the home.

Due to construction at the back of the home, residents and team members went to the deck at the front to have lunch and enjoy the summer day, Lora says.

She says the meal was a hit with everyone.

“The residents enjoyed lunch,” Lora says. “We also served them some pop and coffee and juice, and they got to enjoy a nice burger outside on the deck.”

Lora commends Alex for his work in the kitchen to ensure the residents’ meals were top-notch.

“It was really good and the residents really enjoyed it, and Alex, of course, did a really amazing job just as he always does with the food,” she says.

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International health organizations encouraging focus on self-care

Self-Care Month is running from June 24 to July 24

Anyone who has been on a commercial airplane is familiar with flight attendants at the start of the trip explaining what to do in the event of a pressure change: oxygen masks will drop and you need to put yours on before helping others.

This analogy is also true when it comes to caring for others: to care for others well, people need to be caring for themselves and taking care of their own health needs.

June 24 marked the start of International Self-Care Month. The awareness month will end July 24, which marks Self-Care Day, a date chosen as a symbolic reminder that self-care can be practised “24-seven”.

The World Health Organization (WHO) launched Self-Care Month in 2019 to promote the importance of self-care in order to encourage people to stay healthy and alleviate pressure on health-care systems across the globe.

This is true now more than ever, given that factors such as the COVID-19 pandemic have placed added strain on health systems, the WHO says on its website.

The WHO is suggesting ways people can get involved with Self-Care Month and Self-Care Day. These include using social media, watching for local Self-Care Month events, and taking time to ponder ways to improve self-care.

The International Self-Care Federation (ISF) lists seven “pillars” of self-care it has developed as part of the organization’s self-care framework. Each of these points can be focused on in order to maximize self-care.

These are:

– Knowledge and health literacy
– Mental well-being, self-awareness and agency
– Physical activity
– Healthy eating
– Risk avoidance
– Good hygiene
– Rational and responsible use of products (medicines) and services

So, what exactly is “self-care”?

“Self-care is about empowering people to be active agents in their own healthcare,” the WHO states on its website. “As well as being the right thing to do, with more and more pressure on health systems there is a great need.”

The Switzerland-based Global Self-Care Federation describes self-care as “a lifelong habit and culture.”

“(Self-care) is the practice of individuals looking after their own health based on the knowledge and information available to them,” the organization says.

“It is a decision-making process that empowers individuals to look after their own health efficiently and conveniently, in collaboration with health and social care professionals as needed.”

You can click on these links to learn more about Self-Care Month and Self-Care Day:

https://www.who.int/news-room/events/detail/2022/06/24/default-calendar/self-care-month

https://isfglobal.org/international-self-care-day/

https://selfcare.ca/self-care-day/

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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.”

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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.