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Country Terrace focusing on quality mealtimes to keep spirits high during the pandemic

‘You have to be creative and work within the restrictions’

Since protocols in place due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic have limited group activities and programming for long-term care homes, Country Terrace has turned to something that is universally important to residents to ensure their quality of life is kept high: meals.

Every two weeks the Komoka, Ont. long-term care home hosts the Diners Club, a mealtime program where small groups of residents, on a rotating basis, choose a special meal the nutritional care team prepares for them.

The program was launched a few years ago, but it has been especially important to residents since the pandemic was declared 14 months ago, says Country Terrace nutritional care manager Alex Achillini.

Recently, the Diners Club featured a meal of pork ribs, chicken wings, onion rings, fries, coleslaw and pineapple upside-down cake. Other meals residents have requested over the years include beef tenderloin, seafood and reuben sandwiches.

The Diners Club has also focused on providing special meals for residents on texture-modified diets.

“You have to be creative and work within the restrictions,” Alex says.

Along with providing residents with their favourite foods, the Diners Club program also includes wine and beer for residents to enjoy, and meals are served using the home’s best plates and cutlery.

Country Terrace nutritional care team members have also received outside praise for their work.

In 2020, the team was recognized by the Canadian Society of Nutrition Management (CSNM) for the Mother’s Day lunch of barbecued pork ribs, parsnips, cornbread muffins, cream of celery soup and dulce de leche cheesecake that was served last May.

The CSNM posted a photo of the meal on its website to honour the team.

Residents also provide the nutritional care team with input to enhance their dining experience. For example, the team is now looking at sprucing up the meatloaf recipe to make a favourite meal even better for residents, Alex says.

And it’s not just the Diners Club the nutritional care team is focusing on during the pandemic. Alex and his team also regularly treat residents to ice cream and other desserts, he adds.

“These are all things you can do to improve the quality of life from the dietary (department’s) point of view,” Alex says.

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Cupcakes and flowers add a special touch to Country Terrace Mother’s Day lunch

‘Sometimes it’s the little details that may seem very small can make a big difference’

While Mother’s Day was quieter than usual at Country Terrace this year, the moms living at the Komoka, Ont. long-term care home were still treated to a lunch on May 9 that had a special touch.

The nutritional care and life enrichment departments joined together to provide the mothers living at Country Terrace with a Mother’s Day lunch that included flower bouquets on tables and special, decorative cupcakes that were dressed up in a variety of colours.

“When the residents came to the dining room, they found these nice cupcakes and flowers,” says Country Terrace nutritional care manager Alex Achillini.

For lunch, residents had the choice of cheese-and-potato perogies with sour cream and a side dish of broccoli or a turkey-salad sandwich with a three-bean salad. Dessert featured a choice of strawberries with cream or vanilla ice cream.

Mother’s Day is typically a major occasion at the home, but with restrictions in place due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the usual family get-togethers couldn’t happen.

Instead, team members worked together to provide residents with the best Mother’s Day they could by working within the protocols.

Alex says the cupcakes and flowers were well received by residents, who appreciated the effort team members put into their Mother’s Day surprise.

“Sometimes it’s the little details, that may seem very small, that can make a big difference,” he says.

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Local businesses show support for Frost Manor Christmas fundraiser

‘We have had some awesome donations from the community’

Frost Manor’s annual Christmas crafts sale and fundraiser helps the Lindsay, Ont. long-term care home’s residents’ council fund entertainment, programs and outings each year.

However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Frost Manor staff and family council members had to put their thinking caps on and come up with a different way to raise money for residents’ council this holiday season.

Meeting via Zoom video calls, they decided to host a gift-card raffle this year.

Fortunately, the local community has been supportive, and at the time of this writing, there has been about $400 worth of gift cards collected, says Frost Manor life enrichment co-ordinator Lyndsay Burton.

Raffle tickets will then be sold, the gift cards raffled off in a draw, and all money raised will once again be put into the residents’ council fund.

Some of the local businesses that have donated to the raffle include Canadian Tire, Food Basics, Garry’s Garden Gallery, Boston Pizza, Domino’s Pizza and Home Hardware.

Lyndsay says Frost Manor is grateful for the support the community has shown.

“We have had some awesome donations from the community,” she tells The OMNIway.

“It’s a very tight-knit community around here, and everybody is willing to help, so it wasn’t hard to get (businesses involved), that’s for sure.”

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Helen Sadio becomes Burnbrae Gardens’ new DOC

‘This is a chance to make a bit of a difference’

Helen Sadio started working at Burnbrae Gardens six years ago; today, she’s the Campbellford long-term care home’s new director of care (DOC).

Helen is taking over as DOC after Laurie Gibson retired from the position Nov. 10.

She started as DOC the week before Laurie retired, and while much of Helen’s work so far has been transitioning to her new position, she says she’s looking forward to taking on new challenges and responsibilities.

“This is a chance to make a bit of a difference,” she tells The OMNIway. “I’ve always tried to keep an upbeat attitude and get everybody laughing and smiling, so I will continue to do that while trying to make everyday life a little bit more exciting for everyone involved.”

Helen began working at Burnbrae Gardens in 2014 after moving to Canada from the UK, where she worked as a registered nurse for the National Health Service (NHS).

Helen initially worked as a personal support worker at Burnbrae Gardens while she waited for her RN qualifications from the UK to be certified by the College of Nurses of Ontario. She began working as an RN at Burnbrae in 2015.

Although she has only recently become Burnbrae Gardens’ DOC, Helen says she has a good feeling about things to come, adding her familiarity with residents and staff members has made the transition seamless.

“I’ve got a really positive vibe about it,” she says. “I’m familiar with all the residents and staff and how Burnbrae works, so I’ve got a good head start.”

As part of the company’s culture, OMNI Health Care long-term care homes often promote their staff members to management positions, rather than hiring from outside.

This, Helen says, demonstrates commitment to team members and shows that OMNI “values the staff.”

Helen has had lots of well-wishes and kind words from her colleagues since becoming DOC, but she has also been touched by the amount of support from residents she’s received.

“I have had a few other visitors to the door to say congratulations and that has been from the residents, and that’s been really cool,” she says.

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Springdale honours veterans with Remembrance Day programs

Although it was a smaller event this year due to restrictions in place to keep everyone safe during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Springdale Country Manor still honoured Remembrance Day on Nov. 11 with several activities throughout the day.

The day’s events included a two-minute moment of silence and a video program about Canada’s military history and Canadian veterans was played for residents throughout the day, says the Peterborough County long-term care home’s life enrichment co-ordinator Sonia Murney.

“We did our moment of silence, and in the afternoon one of the LEAs (life enrichment aides) brought a small group of residents together to do a service and to have singalongs,” she adds.

Sonia also read a poem and the Legion prayer over the intercom.

While there is only a few veterans living at Springdale Country Manor, the resident veterans received some extra attention, Sonia says.

“One resident veteran had a visit from her daughters, and for the other veterans we made sure they got some extra TLC,” she says.

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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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