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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Program introduces Garden Terrace residents to henna tattoos

Residents got their own henna designs and learned about the history of this traditional body art

Garden Terrace residents recently spent an afternoon getting henna tattoos and learning about the history of this traditional body art.

Henna tattoos are a traditional South Asian body art created by decorating skin with a dye derived from a paste made from the powdered leaves of the henna plant.

Unlike regular tattoos, henna tattoos are created by making prints on the top layer of skin. The designs fade away after about two weeks.

About 12 residents participated in the program, which was run by the life enrichment department at the Kanata, Ont. long-term care home.

Because some people have a reaction to henna ink, life enrichment aide Neelam Luthara made a different version that everyone could use, explains life enrichment co-ordinator Rachael King.

There were small stencils with designs that team members used to create henna tattoos on participating residents.

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

“For example, she explained how when you are married your husband has to find your name in the henna, and if not, he has to give you a gift,” Rachael explains.

According to St. Thomas University in Fredericton, N.B., henna body art has been practised in South Asia, the Middle East and Africa for more than 5,000 years. Because henna ink has cooling properties, it is believed to have been originally used to defend skin from the heat in warmer parts of the world.

“Today, Henna is mainly used in celebration of special occasions such as weddings and birthdays in the joyous gathering of people,” the university says on its website.

“The Henna paste symbolizes good health and prosperity in marriage, and in some cultures, the darker the henna stain, the deeper the love between two individuals.”

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PHOTO CAPTION: Garden Terrace resident Sophia Tieu shows her new henna tattoo during a recent program.

In-house collaboration delivers memorable diner-style lunch to Pleasant Meadow residents

‘You could hear a pin drop in all the dining rooms as residents thoroughly enjoyed and devoured their chosen meal’

What began as an idea to make onion rings for Pleasant Meadow Manor residents quickly blossomed into an interdepartmental collaboration that created a 1950s-style diner for everyone that raised money for the Norwood long-term care home’s garden.

In late May, life enrichment co-ordinator 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. Judy envisioned making onion rings as well as hamburgers, chicken burgers, french fries and root beer floats to create a diner atmosphere that would bring back fond memories for residents.

To sweeten the deal, meals could be sold to staff members with all proceeds going towards beautifying the home’s garden.

The two departments collaborated to make this happen.

The nutritional care team prepared the food while the life enrichment team made the floats and decorated the dining areas. Decorations included a large sign that read “PMM Diner” and a jukebox.

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 says.

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

“Some commented that they were stuffed and that they hadn’t had a root beer float since they were kids.”

It turns out staff members enjoyed organizing this event as much as the residents enjoyed eating the delicious food.

“All the staff that were involved in pulling this off have asked to do it again, so I take this collaboration of the life enrichment and nutritional care staff as a great success,” Kim says.

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A touch of Las Vegas comes to Frost Manor

Team members are being applauded for the creativity they brought to casino-themed month

Frost Manor life enrichment team members are being applauded by managers for the hard work they put into organizing a month-long casino event that encouraged high resident participation and brought lots of fun and laughter to all.

Each month, the Lindsay, Ont. long-term care home focuses on a different theme for activities. For June, the theme was a Las Vegas-style casino. The life enrichment team spent several weeks up to the start of June preparing for this event, which included daily casino games as well as entertainment.

One of the favourite activities in the Frost Casino, as it was called, was a slot machine the life enrichment team made. Team members downloaded a slot machine app to a tablet. They then made a slot machine out of cardboard and placed the tablet into the cardboard housing so it looked like a real slot machine.

“The residents could then play slots – it was incredible,” administrator Neil MacDonald tells The OMNIway.

There were several other games created for the residents, including casino pong; take-a-chance, which is a poker-like game; 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.

To add to the authenticity of the theme, life enrichment team members wore the vests casino dealers wear.

Throughout the month, team members kept track of all the residents’ scores from the games, with the highest scorers for each game earning a prize.

“This gave a little extra incentive for the residents to come to programming,” explains life enrichment co-ordinator Amy Whitehead.

One of the most creative moments during the month came when an Elvis impersonator who was scheduled to be at the home had to cancel on short notice.

Since no casino would be complete without entertainment, life enrichment aide Sarah Thayer made a guitar out of cardboard, and team members, with guitar in hand, performed Elvis karaoke for an hour.

“It was awesome that they were able to improvise on the fly like that and still provide entertainment for the residents,” Amy says.

“Everybody was laughing and had a great time. I was a very proud life enrichment co-ordinator at that moment.”

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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.

Chef enters Greek egg pie in recipe contest for one simple reason: ‘It’s delicious’

Almonte’s Sarah Montgomery shares a favourite recipe

When it came time to choose a recipe to enter in OMNI Health Care’s first annual March Madness recipe contest, Almonte Country Haven chef Sarah Montgomery went with a classic Greek egg pie.

“This dish I have picked to submit because it’s delicious,” Sarah said in a note accompanying her entry.

This tasty pie offers all the classic Greek flavours. Sarah starts with sautéing onions, garlic and peppers, and then adds black olives and oregano which, Sarah notes, takes the recipe “to a whole other level of Greek flavour.”

Beaten eggs and whipped cream are also added to the mix of layers. And, of course, no Greek meal would be complete without a healthy portion of feta cheese.

As Sarah says, “feta makes it betta.”

The egg and veggie mixture is then baked with a slice of tomato on top to give the dish a slightly sweet taste which balances well with the savoury meal.

Accompanying the Greek egg pie is another creation of Sarah’s, “Irish flag salad”, which uses Mandarin orange, feta and pear slices to replicate the tricolours of Ireland’s flag.

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.

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LEC commends team for doing ‘a great job’ while she was away

Tight team and strong communication ensured programming ran smoothly at Springdale when Sonia Murney was on a three-month leave

The Springdale Country Manor life enrichment team is being praised by life enrichment co-ordinator (LEC) Sonia Murney for doing “a great job” organizing resident programming and overseeing the department while she was on a three-month leave recovering from surgery.

Sonia, who returned to her position at the Peterborough-area long-term care home in early June, says the team of four life enrichment aides work well together and they are all great communicators, which, she says, are key strengths that are important to maintaining any department in a home.

In fact, Sonia says communication is one of the team’s greatest attributes, and having a small life enrichment team allows for strong communication.

“They touch base with each other, they see each other from shift to shift, so that makes it easy, and they are a very good group,” Sonia tells The OMNIway.

“They did a great job. They did the calendars, they communicated with me when needed, but they figured things out for themselves.”

One major event that happened while Sonia was away was the Spring Fling, an Olympic-style event that encouraged friendly competition and lots of fun and laughter among residents.

The Spring Fling had been planned for an earlier date, but due to an outbreak at the home, it had to be postponed until April.

The event consisted of daily competitive activities from Monday to Friday for two weeks. Events included discus throwing, paper airplane flying, bull’s-eye shooting, a beanbag toss and bowling.

The Spring Fling has been a programming highlight so far this year, and Sonia commends the team for making it happen.

“They pulled it off, no problem; hands-down, a top-notch job, and I had total faith in them, I knew they could do it,” she says.

Life enrichment aide (LEA) Nikki English says working without Sonia was a change but everything went to plan.

“At first I was terrified, to be honest, but I got used to it after a bit,” she says.

LEA Keyanna O’Rourke says she knew the life enrichment team was tight and that team members worked well together, so she was confident everything would run smoothly.

“I feel that because we are so used to working with each other and we work in a group when we are on the same shifts, I found it pretty natural – it was like that every day for three months,” she says.

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PHOTO CAPTION: Springdale LEC Sonia Murney (centre), pictured here with LEAs Nikki English (left) and
Keyanna O’Rourke, says the life enrichment team, says the life enrichment team did an excellent job of overseeing the department while she was on a three-month leave.

Streamway residents attend first Canada Day parade in two years

Volunteer family members and staff made it possible for a large group of residents to attend

Streamway Villa residents were dressed up in their favourite red-and-white apparel and lined the streets of downtown Cobourg July 1 to help the town and the rest of Canada celebrate the nation’s 155th birthday.

For the first time in two years, residents were able to attend Cobourg’s Canada Day parade, which kicks off the town’s annual three-day Waterfront Festival at Victoria Park.

Along with their family members and Streamway staff who volunteered to accompany them the two blocks to King Street, residents spent part of the late morning and early afternoon watching the colourful floats, cheering and waving small Canadian flags as they passed.

The parade and festival were cancelled in 2020 and 2021, due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
To keep everyone safe during their time downtown, attending residents, families and staff members wore face masks while attending the parade.

Since everyone was already downtown, residents were treated to lunch after the parade finished.

Streamway Villa posted a note at the home before the event, asking for staff and family volunteers, and many answered the call, which ensured that residents who wanted to attend the parade could do so.

Residents and staff members were grateful for the help.

“(A) huge shout-out goes out to the family members and staff that volunteered to help bring residents down,” the Streamway Villa life enrichment team said in a Facebook post.

“Without you guys, it wouldn’t have been possible to take as many residents down.”

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Queen’s Jubilee, a horse visit and a picnic were among the ways OMNI homes started summer

Celebrating the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee, a visit from a miniature horse and a park picnic were among the many ways OMNI Health Care homes kicked off summer in June.

Summer is always a special time for OMNI home residents. With the arrival of warmer weather and creative life enrichment teams on board, there’s never a shortage of innovative, engaging programming.

June began with a celebration of Queen Elizabeth II’s Platinum Jubilee at Pleasant Meadow Manor, and aside from the activities team members planned to celebrate Canada’s monarch, one of the Norwood long-term care home’s residents took time to share her first-hand experience witnessing the Royal Procession that followed the coronation on June 2, 1953.

Jill Raines’ explained how her uncle, a colonel in the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve, was marching behind the gold coach carrying the Queen that day. Jill, who was in the crowd in London with her sister, says she got excited and started waving and jumping up and down, calling out her uncle’s name.

But, Jill said, her sister felt she was “making too much of a scene,” so she “poked” her and Jill fell close to the carriage.

“I got a very good look at the carriage and it really was a sight to behold,” Jill recalled.

The residents of Springdale Country Manor were treated to a special visit from a miniature horse named Red in June, courtesy of Small Hooves, Big Hearts, a horse farm in Omemee.

Red went from resident to resident to spend a few moments getting pets and cuddles in the home’s courtyard. Red’s owner, Patricia Sheppard, answered any questions residents had about Red, and some residents even shared stories of their own experiences with horses.

This, Patricia said, always results in lots of dialogue and starts memories flowing for residents. Since many of the homes Patricia and her horses visit are in rural areas, most residents will have had some experience with horses, so these visits bring positive reminiscing for residents, Patricia said.

“In a lot of the homes (the horses) start the farmers talking,” she said. “But pretty much everyone has some kind of connection to a horse, no matter where they’re from in the world, so bringing a horse (to homes) really starts those conversations.”

Streamway Villa residents, their family members, volunteers and staff were able to enjoy their first picnic of the year on June 8.

Everyone made their way down to nearby Victoria Park in downtown Cobourg that day to enjoy the day with their friends and families in the afternoon.

In addition to having lunch and playing games, the group walked down to the beach that’s nestled along the shore of Lake Ontario and went along the footpath to enjoy the scenery.

“That’s how we ended the picnic, with one final walk by the water, but we got to stay (at the park) for more than three hours,” Streamway Villa life enrichment co-ordinator Laurie Kracht said.

“It was a perfect day.”

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Garden Terrace residents enjoy first outdoor entertainment of 2022

Jumpin’ Jimmy Leroux wows everyone with his performance

Garden Terrace residents enjoyed their first outdoor entertainment of the year on June 16 when Jumpin’ Jimmy Leroux made an appearance at the Kanata, Ont. long-term care home.

Jumpin’ Jimmy has made several appearances at Garden Terrace over the years and is a fan-favourite musical guest who gets residents singing and clapping, says Rachael King, the home’s life enrichment co-ordinator.

“It was really nice to see a bunch of people outside enjoying themselves, and the residents were certainly happy to be outside again utilizing the space,” Rachael tells The OMNIway.

“Everyone loves Jimmy, so it was really nice.”

While musical entertainment is always popular at Garden Terrace, residents particularly enjoy it when the performances are held outdoors, Rachael says.

“They definitely prefer the outdoor shows, especially when it’s a nice day, and there is also more room for them,” she says.

About 35 residents were able to attend the event, which was hosted in the Garden Terrace courtyard, Rachael says. Several residents’ family members were also able to attend the event, she adds.

One reason Jumpin’ Jimmy is so popular with residents is that he plays a wide variety of music, Rachael says. Some of the musical genres in his repertoire include modern rock, country and golden oldies.

“He is a very good performer, and he frequents other OMNI homes as well,” Rachael says.

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