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Lanark County pancake house meal a sweet treat for Rosebridge Manor residents

This was the first outing in some time for residents, due to the pandemic, notes LEC

Having pancakes with fresh maple syrup recently was sweet in more ways than one for Rosebridge Manor residents.

Residents from the Jasper, Ont. long-term care home went on an hour-long drive and enjoyed a meal at Wheelers Pancake House in Lanark County. It was the first outing in a long time due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Kathy Barr, Rosebridge Manor’s life enrichment co-ordinator (LEC), told The OMNIway residents were looking forward to the trip.

“We’re reclaiming our previous enjoyments from 2019,” Kathy said about the return of pre-pandemic pleasures like live entertainment and outings.

“It’s quite a popular local place. They have a beautiful restaurant way back in the country. It’s a nice country road to drive up and they always treat us really well. They’re super to help” residents and staff get settled at their tables, she added.

A small group of residents went on the outing and Kathy hopes to bring along additional people in the future.

“It’s a start,” she said about once again venturing out into the community.

Wheelers Pancake House, as described on its website, is nestled in the centre of a 730-acre forest, built with huge windows “that allow a true sense of being in the woods.”

In the spring, when the sap is flowing, diners can watch from their table as the maple sap flows through a clear tube.

Owners Vernon and Judy Wheeler, who opened the sugarhouse in 1978, have had many visitors over the years to see how pure maple syrup is made.

After countless requests for pancakes, the couple built the pancake house and began serving pancakes with their own maple syrup in 1996.

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CUTLINE: Rosebridge Manor resident Cecil Ballance dines at Wheelers Pancake House in Lanark County.

Did you know today is World Parkinson’s Day?

Today (April 11) marks World Parkinson’s Day, named in honour of Dr. James Parkinson, the British surgeon who, in 1817, first described the symptoms of the neurological condition we today call Parkinson’s disease, and who was born on this day in 1755.

Parkinson’s disease is a condition affecting more than 100,000 Canadians, according to Parkinson Canada, a national nonprofit organization advocating for people living with Parkinson’s disease.

Parkinson Canada estimates that as many as 30 Canadians per day will be diagnosed with the condition in the coming years.

Parkinson’s disease, a neurological disorder caused by a deficit of dopamine-producing neurons in regions of the brain controlling movement, is also a condition affecting many people living in long-term care homes.

“It is one of the fastest-growing neurological diseases in the world, and Canada has one of the highest prevalence rates compared to other countries,” Parkinson Canada states.

Each World Parkinson’s Day and throughout April, which is Parkinson’s Awareness Month, Parkinson Canada steps up its advocacy to bring attention to the condition and its impact on people through awareness events, social media campaigns and fundraising.

“World Parkinson’s Day increases awareness of Parkinson’s and is intended to spur new research and treatment initiatives,” a backgrounder on the Parkinson Canada website states.

“Parkinson Canada works to educate the public, particularly during the month of April, Parkinson Awareness Month, by hosting fundraising and awareness events and reaching out to Canadians with Parkinson’s and the general public in communities across Canada.”

People and organizations, including long-term care homes, can help raise awareness of Parkinson’s disease through social media or by visiting the Parkinson Canada website for more information.

On social media, the hashtags #ParkinsonAwarenessMonth and #PartnersInParkinsons can be followed for more information.

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Music program helps Garden Terrace residents tap into favourite memories

‘We have seen a lot of positive recall in terms of the types of music they listen to; it takes them back’

The scene repeats itself often at Garden Terrace.

A resident will sit down with a life enrichment team member and an iPad loaded with a custom playlist of their favourite songs. The “play” icon is clicked, the music comes on and a smile crosses the resident’s face.

This is the best result that comes from the Kanata, Ont. long-term care home’s Music and Memory program, says Rachael King, Garden Terrace’s life enrichment co-ordinator.

“They listen to music and they talk about their past and they reminisce,” she tells The OMNIway.

Music and Memory is a biweekly program at Garden Terrace. It has been an activity that helps residents recall some of their fondest memories and brings them lots of joy, Rachael says.

Life enrichment team members learn from family members about residents’ favourite songs and artists, and music is then loaded into the iPad playlists specific to each participating resident’s tastes and preferences.

When listening to their playlists, some residents might be taken back to working on the family farm. Others might recall listening to the radio while helping their parents make dinner. Some might start reminiscing about their wedding day.

“We have seen a lot of positive recall in terms of the types of music they listen to; it takes them back,” Rachael says.

“We look up music specific to their past and load those songs into iPads. We learn how (music) influenced them and their occupations and their daily lives.”

And every time the program is held, team members learn something new about residents.

“We had a good little chat the other day about what (the music they enjoy) represents to them and what it means to them,” Rachael says.

March was Music Therapy Awareness Month in Canada.

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Excitement building around plans for Village Green redevelopment

‘If I had to rate the excitement on a scale from one to 10, it would be 15,’ says administrator

Village Green is buzzing with excitement as residents and staff members await the start of construction to build a new 128-bed long-term care home to replace the existing 66-bed residence in Greater Napanee.

“If I had to rate the excitement on a scale from one to 10, it would be 15,” administrator Linda Pierce tells The OMNIway.

The design plans for the new Village Green were recently unveiled, and a site at the northwest corner of Drive-In Road and Highway 41 in Greater Napanee has been secured for the new home.

Construction could begin as early as autumn.

“As we start now to move along the path and really have a heightened awareness that this is actually going to happen, that we are closer to putting shovels in the ground, there’s a real flavour of excitement,” Linda says.

Once completed, the redeveloped Village Green will be a Class A long-term care home that will include four spacious neighbourhoods, with 32 residents living in each neighbourhood.

To enhance privacy, all rooms will have either one or two beds, and there will be a host of modern amenities, such as wider hallways and more home-like dining areas. Outside, the new Village Green will have scenic gardens and outdoor space as well as a “whole home” gathering area and chapel space.

“We are going from a 66-bed home to a 128-bed home, and the exciting thing for the residents is that they will no longer have to share a basic room with (as many as) three other residents,” Linda says.

“There’s going to be such an enhancement (in quality of life).”

The new Village Green, which has been designed by Toronto-based G Architects, has been planned “very, very well” with a strong focus on privacy, Linda adds.

Linda notes that residents have had input into the home’s design and that G Architects has included their input in the plans. Some of the features that have been important to residents include enhanced privacy, wider doors and more spacious bathrooms, Linda says.

Village Green opened in 1978 and the home has always been focused on providing a high quality of life for residents, Linda says, but a new home is needed to stay ahead of the curve and meet the needs of an ever-changing resident population.

“The residents love living here, but, let’s face it, it’s an almost 45-year-old home that was built all that time ago and the population has changed,” she says, adding everyone at the home is pleased with the province for approving the new build.

“We are thrilled.”

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PHOTO CAPTION: Pictured above, an illustration created by G Architects of the front entrance of the new, 128-bed Village Green that has been approved for redevelopment.

Upbeat, collaborative atmosphere makes cooking at Country Terrace a joy, says team member

‘I haven’t had that at any other job,’ says Georgina Pantazopoulos

When Georgina Pantazopoulos started her position in the Country Terrace kitchen three years ago, she found the atmosphere to be both positive and collaborative, and this is just as true now as it was then, she says.

“Everyone here is so willing to help, so upbeat, all of the managers jump in to help when we need somebody or when we are short people, everybody really has a positive attitude and works together to make sure everything is running properly – I haven’t had that at any other job,” Georgina tells The OMNIway.

Georgina works as both a cook and a dietary aide at the Komoka, Ont. long-term care home. There are plus sides to working two positions, she says.

When working as a cook, Georgina says she enjoys creating delicious meals that make residents happy. When working as a dietary aide, she gets to see first-hand the smiles on their faces when residents taste the meals the nutritional care team makes, she adds.

Georgina also credits nutritional care manager Alex Achillini and her colleagues in the dietary department for their strong support.

“Alex is incredible, I came here and got started and he got me set up with the cook’s training, so I’ve been doing that and there are lots of opportunities here, and they are always willing to help me go that extra mile and try new things,” she says.

Asked about her favourite meal to prepare for residents, Georgina doesn’t skip a beat with her response.

“We make a beef tenderloin here once in a while and it’s always incredible,” she says. “The residents love it. It is usually served with root vegetables, and Alex makes his special cheese bread to go with it.”

While Country Terrace is the first and only job Georgina has worked in long-term care, she says nothing has surprised her about her job – it has been everything she thought it would be.

“Everyone is so upbeat and caring, and that’s really nice – and that really makes a difference,” she says.

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PHOTO CAPTION: Pictured above, beef tenderloin with root vegetables is the meal Country Terrace cook Georgina Pantazopoulos says she enjoys preparing most for residents.

Entertainer’s Spanish music gets Garden Terrace groovin’

Marco the Musician’s engaging performance attracted several residents who usually don’t attend programming

Garden Terrace recently welcomed back Marco the Musician, a fan-favourite entertainer among residents, who delivered an hour-long performance at the Kanata, Ont. long-term care home.

One of the benefits of having Marco back at Garden Terrace was that his appearance encouraged several residents who normally do not attend programming to stop by and take in the performance, says Rachael King, the home’s life enrichment co-ordinator.

“Everyone seemed very happy and engaged,” she tells The OMNIway, “and people who usually don’t attend programming came out, so there were some new resident faces there.”

Marco plays a wide variety of tunes residents love, but his specialty is Spanish music, Rachael says.

During his March 24 performance, Marco played some Spanish songs for the residents which prompted a few to stand up and start dancing, she adds, noting Marco brings out the festive spirit in residents.

“Marco is one of the crowd favourites,” Rachael says. “He will play anything – he will play Spanish music, but then he will play other music with a Spanish twist and he will sing in English and in Spanish.”

About 25 people in total attended the event, including some who particularly liked the Spanish theme of many of Marco’s songs.

“There are a few Spanish residents who really enjoyed it,” Rachael says.

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Willows Estate cook proves to be a natural at the job

Denise Thomas’s adaptability to her first LTC position ‘was so good; it was like she had been working here for years’

While working as a cook at Willows Estate is the first position in a long-term care home Denise Thomas has held, she has mastered the job after only six months, says her supervisor.

Denise says she worked a variety of jobs, including stints at Canadian Tire, a factory and a movie theatre, before starting at the Willows last summer.

She also has a passion for cooking and a certificate in food services, so when Denise heard about a job opening at the Aurora, Ont. long-term care home she decided to apply for the position.

Once she received her initial training, Denise says she transitioned seamlessly into her new job.

“I learn very quickly,” she tells The OMNIway. “I do everything on my own, I do the prepping, I do the baking, and I find learning things easy.”

As much as Denise says she enjoys cooking for the residents of Willows Estate, it’s the reaction she sees from residents when they’re enjoying a meal she’s created that truly makes her job fulfilling, she says.

“I like making them happy and seeing them eat,” she says. “When I see them eat, it makes me happy.”

Asked what her favourite meal is to cook for residents, Denise says she can’t pin down just one. All that matters, she says, is that the residents love the meals they are served.

“I like making everything, and everything I make I think the residents enjoy,” she says.

Denise’s supervisor, nutritional care manager Jeffrey Peters, says Denise is an “excellent” cook and he applauds her ability to learn new things quickly.

“Her adaptability was so good; it was like she had been working here for years,” he says. “She is very attentive, very teachable, (and) if you teach her something she will just take it and run with it.”

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Irish eyes were smiling on Rosebridge Manor March 17

Jasper long-term care home marks St. Patrick’s Day with party

As the saying goes, everyone is a little Irish on St. Patrick’s Day, and that was certainly true at Rosebridge Manor.

Residents and staff at OMNI Health Care’s Jasper, Ont. long-term care home donned green hats and necklaces and enjoyed live music on March 17.

Those who live at the home raised their glasses of non-alcoholic punch served in fancy wine goblets. They also enjoyed a special lunch featuring Irish stew and the appropriate sides.

Rosebridge Manor life enrichment co-ordinator (LEC) Kathy Barr had to close her office door to take a phone call from The OMNIway due to the volume of the joyous celebrations underway.

Being able to consistently have live entertainment back in the home after many interruptions due to the various safety protocols and restrictions of the last two years related to the COVID-19 pandemic has been wonderful for residents, the LEC noted.

“We’re having our big St. Patrick’s Day party,” Kathy said.

“Everybody’s got their hats on and their beads on and we’ve had some family involvement and our nutritional care manager (Kori Bigelow) made an Irish-themed lunch.”

Staff and residents who had green items of clothing dressed for the occasion. Employees also wore headbands with shamrocks or put green colouring in their hair.

“The staff were really good to get involved this year, which was nice,” Kathy said.

Residents also had a second round of live entertainment on St. Patrick’s Day, featuring a trio on saxophone, keyboards and vocals, after their evening meal.

Rosebridge Manor and other long-term care homes were permitted by the provincial government as of Feb. 21 to welcome back entertainers, Kathy noted.

“The last week of February was just full of people coming in and entertaining and whatnot and volunteers. It was great.”

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Country Terrace dietary aide says fast-paced job is ‘a perfect fit’

‘I’m a person who likes to be always on the go and keep moving,’ says Joy Goddard

Joy Goddard learned about the job requirements long-term-care home dietary aides need from a friend who works as one. She told Joy it was a job that required people to work at a fast pace and have strong organizational skills along with a good memory.

That was all Joy needed to hear.

“I’m a person who likes to be always on the go and keep moving, so I thought this would be a perfect fit for me,” Joy tells The OMNIway.

“My friend told me that if you are working in the kitchen, you have to be organized or else you will fall behind, and I said, ‘I’m an organized person.’ ”

When a job opening for a dietary aide came up at Country Terrace, Joy applied and got the position. Eight years later, she’s still working at the Komoka, Ont. long-term care home.

Joy says she enjoys the fast-paced environment that comes with serving residents their meals. With more than 100 residents to serve during mealtimes, Joy says dietary aides need to be fast and efficient.

This means knowing residents’ specific preferences – for instance, what they like to drink with their meals or how they take their tea – so they can be served quickly.

Speedy service is crucial when there are more than 100 residents who are dining at any given time, Joy says.

“When you are working in the kitchen, it’s a really intense job and you have to be really, really organized and you have to keep up the speed and you have to know the residents,” she says.

As much as she enjoys the fast-paced environment that comes with the territory, Joy says her favourite part of her job is making residents happy.

“I really like working with the residents,” she says. “It’s really nice to see the residents enjoy what they’re eating.”

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Garden Terrace residents get makeovers during spa day

Getting dolled up not only made residents feel good, it brought back fond memories

A recent spa day at Garden Terrace that helped residents get made up and manicured also brought back fond memories of getting ready to go out and hit the town.

A volunteer named Roxane recently reached out to Garden Terrace life enrichment co-ordinator Rachael King to offer residents of the Kanata, Ont. long-term care home makeovers.

Once pandemic restrictions relaxed, Roxane was able to come to the home and host a spa day for residents that saw them get their nails done and have makeup applied. Full safety protocols were in effect for the event.

“She did lipstick, blush, eye shadow, eyeliner, and they did eye pads, nail polish and hand massages,” Rachael tells The OMNIway, adding that about 15 residents were able to participate.

“The residents loved it. To get dolled up and look glamorous to go out and about is nice because some of them have been doing outings with their families, so they’re all dressed up and ready to hit the town.”

After their makeovers, residents asked to have their photos taken to show their new look.

Rachael says many of the residents have always enjoyed getting dressed up and having their makeup done, so there was a valuable reminiscing aspect to the spa day.

“It’s thinking about the good old days in a way; getting ready to get dressed up to go out and meet people and spend time with friends,” she says.

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