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LEA helping Frost Manor residents tap into their creativity

Sarah Thayer has been leading a popular art program at the Lindsay LTC home

While coming up with ideas for resident programming has been challenging during the global COVID-19 pandemic, the Frost Manor life enrichment team has found a revamped art program has been successful at engaging the Lindsay long-term care home’s residents in a meaningful activity.

Life enrichment aide (LEA) Sarah Thayer recently began a painting program that was first led by LEA Kim Williams – who is now life enrichment co-ordinator (LEC) at Pleasant Meadow Manor – and was popular with residents.

The program starts with Sarah creating a drawing that serves as a model, and the residents create their own painting based on that drawing.

The first time Sarah led the program for residents she painted a birch tree. For October, the model will be a silhouette of a cat sitting on a tree branch. November will feature a Remembrance Day poppy.

“The great thing is we can do this socially distanced, which works out really well,” Frost Manor LEC Lyndsay Burton tells The OMNIway, adding the program has been “going over really well.”

Lyndsay says that although safety is the No. 1 priority during the pandemic, life enrichment departments can still develop fun programs for residents.

“You have got to be really creative, but you can still keep on doing the normal things,” she says.

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The fair must go on

After the Norwood Fall Fair was cancelled this year due to the pandemic, the Pleasant Meadow team created their own version of the resident-favourite annual event

Since the Norwood Fall Fair has been cancelled due to the global COVID-19 pandemic, Pleasant Meadow Manor hosted its own version of the annual 152-year-old event on Oct. 13.

Participating in the Norwood Fall Fair has become an important part of the culture at Pleasant Meadow Manor for residents over the years, so the life enrichment team wanted to keep up the tradition, explains Kim Williams, the home’s life enrichment co-ordinator.

“Back in April, when the news that the Norwood fair had been cancelled, I presented the life enrichment team with the idea of holding our own fair day; we decided this would be a fun idea,” she tells The OMNIway.

The Norwood Fall Fair – which started in 1868 and had not been cancelled since the Second World War – features a midway, rides, vendors, and baking and crafts contests.

Every September, the residents start making crafts and baking pies, cookies and pastries for the fair. Virtually every year residents come away with prizes for their crafts and baking entries.

For Pleasant Meadow Manor’s version of the fall fair, the life enrichment team set up the activity room with fun games, including a “milk-the-cow” contest and bobbing for doughnuts.

“This created a lot of laughter from both the residents and staff members,” Kim says, adding the walls were decorated with some animals that would be found at the fair.

There were baking contests for both residents and staff members. Staff member Jeanette Davis won first place in all categories and was named Pleasant Meadow Manor’s Baker of the Year.

Staff served lemonade and baked goods made by the residents for treats, and there was even a candy floss machine.

“The residents said it really smelt like a fair,” Kim says.

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Frost Manor residents make special tree, enjoy turkey dinner to mark Thanksgiving

While it has been a challenging year, residents are still thankful for the important things

Although the global COVID-19 pandemic has been challenging for everyone for the past seven months, Frost Manor residents still feel blessed for many things and took time before the Thanksgiving holiday to reflect on what makes them most grateful.

The result was a paper “Thanksgiving tree” they made as a craft. Each of the leaves contains residents’ thankful thoughts.

“Some of the things they were thankful for were friends, family and thankful for the loving staff – it’s all about the people who are important to them,” Frost Manor life enrichment co-ordinator Lyndsay Burton tells The OMNIway.

Of course, no Thanksgiving would be complete without a traditional meal, so on Monday the nutritional care department served up a roast turkey dinner with all the trimmings, including mashed potatoes, stuffing, cranberry sauce and pumpkin pie.

As with all mealtimes since the pandemic began, residents were served Thanksgiving dinner in two seatings for safety. There are also Plexiglas dividers between residents so they can still share meals while adhering to social distancing requirements.

There was also a special Thanksgiving-style bingo where team members gave away treats as prizes. Residents played to win chocolate bars, potato chips, Cheezies, word search books or plastic jewelry.

“It was a different Thanksgiving this year, but the residents still enjoyed it,” Lyndsay says.

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Village Green residents were missing Tim Hortons, so staff built a Tim Hortons at Village Green

The creative life enrichment team built a Tim’s drive-thru in the home’s garden. Residents loved it

Challenging times often call for creative measures, and Village Green life enrichment team members really came through for residents when they heard how much people living at the Greater Napanee long-term care home were missing outings to Tim Hortons.

Before short-stay visits for Ontario long-term-care home residents were reinstated in late August by the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care, residents expressed to life enrichment co-ordinator Ulana Orrick that they were missing trips to Tim Hortons.

Many residents had not had Tim Hortons coffee and doughnuts since the global COVID-19 pandemic began in March.

So on Oct. 6, the life enrichment team set up a Tim Hortons drive-thru in the Village Green garden. Life enrichment aide Jess Boot, a new team member, designed a Tim Hortons storefront facade that was placed on the front of the gazebo.

The Tim Hortons store on Centre St. in Napanee donated coffee, doughnuts and Tim Hortons staff shirts for the life enrichment team to wear.

The nursing team then assisted residents outside to the garden where they queued on the walking path as they would at a Tim Hortons drive-thru.

The residents loved it, Ulana says.

“We had music playing and lots of fun was had,” she tells The OMNIway. “At one point one of the residents exclaimed, ‘you can tell this is a real Tim Hortons because the lineup is so long!’ ”

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Maplewood residents help make realistic front yard fall display

‘We have had quite a few people walk by and stop to look at the display, so the residents are proud’

Applefest may have been cancelled in the town of Brighton due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, but that didn’t stop Maplewood residents and staff from pitching in to keep the spirit of the annual celebration of all things apple alive.

Applefest is a flagship event held every September in Brighton that features a street fair, a parade and a variety of entertainment, and Maplewood residents and staff members always attend.

To keep things safe during the pandemic, the municipality encouraged local businesses to create festive autumn displays on their property, so the folks at Maplewood decided to get in on the action.

Residents and life enrichment aide Rosanne Blackburn created a front yard scene that features a very lifelike display of a Maplewood nurse and a resident – both wearing face masks to promote safety – surrounding a table covered with apples and a bag of flour to make apple pies.

Residents were involved with creating the display by helping with crafts, such as colouring foam balls red and green to make the apples.

They also glued the foam apples to a cupcake stand Rosanne gave them so the replica fruit wouldn’t blow away.

There’s even a homemade apple tree with laminated apples dangling from it the residents made, and the flour bag included in the display was crafted by residents from a potato sack.

With social distancing protocols in effect, Rosanne brought a few residents outside to stuff the display nurse with garbage bags, and residents decided on how everything was arranged.

Rosanne says the display is so realistic some pedestrians have had to look twice when passing by.

“We have had quite a few people walk by and stop to look at the display, so the residents are proud,” she says.

The display was completed Sept. 18 and will remain on Maplewood’s front lawn for the next few days.

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Province needs to address LTC staffing issues to better face second COVID wave

The need for more staff ‘is a big issue that’s affecting health-care providers across the country, and it’s seriously affecting long-term care homes,’ says OMNI CEO Patrick McCarthy

With health experts predicting a second wave of COVID-19 spread to begin within the coming months, the Ontario government needs to address staffing issues in the long-term care sector to help homes better prevent and manage infection, says OMNI Health Care president and CEO Patrick McCarthy.

Given that long-term-care home residents are among the most vulnerable population groups, it’s crucial that additional funding be earmarked to address staffing levels of front-line workers and provide staff training, both of which will be key to preparing for the second infection wave, he adds.

“(Staffing) is a big issue that’s affecting health-care providers across the country, and it’s seriously affecting long-term care homes,” McCarthy says in an interview with The OMNIway.

While long-term-care home staff members have worked tirelessly to keep residents safe from the highly contagious virus, the first wave of COVID-19 impacted homes across Ontario and Canada.

Long-term care homes having access to more front-line staff members will improve residents’ safety, McCarthy says.

All long-term care homes in Ontario receive funding specifically earmarked to provide nursing, personal care, programs and support services with no element of profit or surplus retained from the provision of those health services. As a result, funding for additional care staff needs to come from the province.

Private long-term care providers across Ontario have asked the Ford government to increase the supply of personal support workers (PSWs) by supporting innovative training programs, including on-the-job training and remote training.

McCarthy adds that the COVID-19 pandemic affects long-term-care home staff members beyond their work inside the homes.

For example, there may be instances where people cannot come to work due to outbreaks in the community or in schools, and there needs to be staffing levels to in place to ensure there’s always a ready supply of front-line care workers.

“It’s all a package that affects the availability of staff and the homes’ ability to staff during the pandemic,” he says.

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Flowers blooming in September at Pleasant Meadow Manor

The home’s 61 residents receive potted azaleas courtesy of Jim Barry Breakfast Club

Even in autumn, the flowers are blooming at Pleasant Meadow Manor.

The Norwood, Ont. long-term care home was recently on the receiving end of an act of kindness when Dawn Barry, the daughter of Pleasant Meadow Manor resident Mary Barry, delivered 61 potted azaleas, one for each resident.

The flowers were donated by the Children’s Breakfast Club of Canada through the Jim Barry Breakfast Club at Roger Neilson Public School in Peterborough, which Dawn is involved with.

This isn’t the first time Pleasant Meadow Manor residents have received flowers from the organization.

In early March, Dawn delivered spring flowers for each resident. The flowers were planted in the home’s perennial garden so residents can enjoy them every year in spring. 

Kim Williams, the life enrichment co-ordinator at Pleasant Meadow Manor, says kind acts like this have a positive impact on residents.

“The residents really enjoy them, and they add a splash of colour to their rooms,” she says.

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Safe reading and discussion groups restart at Willows Estate

Residents enjoy discussing current events, and having this program back has been important to them, says LEA

Willows Estate life enrichment aide (LEA) Azaria Kanda has restarted a long-popular reading and discussion group for the Aurora, Ont. long-term care home’s residents with social-distancing in place.

Azaria says reading and keeping up to date with current issues and events is a favourite activity for residents, and it’s a passion he shares with them.

Before the COVID-19 pandemic began in March, there were regular group reading and discussion groups for residents. However, because group programming was suspended in Ontario long-term care homes for three months after the pandemic began, the groups were not able to meet.

With restrictions easing, Azaria has been hosting two smaller reading-discussion groups on both floors at the Willows, with social distancing in effect.

During the discussions, residents talk about subjects ranging from politics to sports. But stories about current events residents read in newspapers are the favourite, Azaria says.

“The residents are very aware and they really stay on top of the headlines – and I think it’s one thing for them to hear or read about (news) and it’s another thing for them to expand on that (with discussions) to give their point of view and to talk amongst one another,” he says.

Indeed, there has been a lot to talk about in 2020. Aside from the pandemic, there has been increased awareness about racial injustice and mounting concern about the state of the economy.

“Those three topics have really been at the forefront,” Azaria says.

During the week ending Sept. 12, the groups talked about the pandemic. Last week they discussed racial injustices. This week they are scheduled to talk about the economic situation.

“A lot of the residents were born in the 1920s or 1930s, so they’ve lived through many decades, and there’s always a common thread to find because each generation has had its (struggles), whether that be war or political turmoil,” Azaria says.

“So, it’s really interesting to talk about that common thread, to talk about what’s happening now, and a lot of the residents don’t find it that surprising to be going through this because they’ve gone through major cultural shifting moments before.”

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Kentwood Park team among essential workers honoured by Shriners

Members of the local temple toured the region with a float to thank health-care workers and others for their efforts during the pandemic

Members of the local Shriners temple showed up at Kentwood Park this summer to show their support for everyone working at the Picton, Ont. long-term care home.

Members of the Belleville and District Shrine Club travelled around some of eastern Ontario’s counties in a motor home and float this summer to pay tribute to essential workers for their efforts during the ongoing global COVID-19 pandemic.

“It gives these people a little break from their busy work days and they really seem to appreciate it,” Shriner spokesman Clarence Stevenson told the Belleville Intelligencer in June.

“We’re really lucky to have them taking care of the community and this is our way to show them that we appreciate what they do.”

Long-term care homes, hospitals and OPP detachments were among the stops the Shriners made. When the Shriners pulled up to each stop there was music playing from their float.

Lisa Mills, the life enrichment co-ordinator and environmental services manager at Kentwood Park, says that while the pandemic has presented challenges for all of us, having a group like the Shriners stop by to thank workers and send their best wishes makes a difference.

The Shriners’ visit was well-received by everyone at Kentwood Park, Lisa adds.

“That made everyone feel good; it was really nice of them to do that,” she tells The OMNIway.

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Recent barbecue brings a welcome change at Kentwood Park

‘It was just a fabulous day all the way around’

Kentwood Park residents were treated to a backyard barbecue at the Picton, Ont. long-term care home in August, their first group event since March, and they couldn’t have been happier with the day, says Lisa Mills.

Lisa, Kentwood Park’s life enrichment co-ordinator and environmental services manager, says the outdoor event, which included entertainment from a husband-and-wife duo who performed outside the gates in the yard, attracted 39 of Kentwood Park’s 45 residents.

This included some residents who normally don’t attend programming, so this large number attests to the value the barbecue delivered, she adds.

“It was ecstatic for them because they hadn’t done anything like that in so long; they really enjoyed it,” Lisa says of the barbecue.

“Just getting outside to see something outside of the home was important for them.”

Due to the global COVID-19 pandemic, indoor large-group programming and entertainment have been on hold at Ontario long-term care homes since March, so residents have been missing social gatherings.

While indoor visits with family members with safety protocols in effect have been permitted by the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care since June, some residents don’t have families, so for these residents the barbecue was especially meaningful, Lisa says.

“It was an eye-opening for them all,” she says. “It was just a fabulous day all the way around.”

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