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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.

Laughter is proving to be the best medicine at Pleasant Meadow Manor

New laughter yoga program is having emotional benefits for residents

Pleasant Meadow Manor residents are discovering that laughter truly is the best medicine.

Residents were recently introduced to laughter yoga sessions led by Kim Williams, the Norwood long-term care home’s life enrichment co-ordinator, and they’re seeing first-hand the emotional benefits the program delivers.

Laughter yoga is an exercise that marries voluntary laughter with breathing exercises. During laughter yoga sessions, participants maintain eye contact with one another which leads to contagious laughter.

Kim starts the sessions with a brief history and description of what laughter yoga is to help residents understand how the exercises may help them and to explain that it’s an activity that has been used in the medical profession.

This, she says, is to prevent participants from feeling “silly or foolish” during the exercises.

Kim and the residents then do warm-up exercises which consist of clapping and gently moving their bodies and legs. They then do deep breathing exercises.

They move on to the laughter exercises intermixed with “child-like playfulness,” and some singing. Sessions always include an affirmation which they say as loudly as they can: “I’m awesome, you’re awesome, we’re all awesome.”

Some of the laughter exercises Kim and the residents do include:

Gradient laughter: Everyone starts laughing quietly, gradually becoming louder

Roller-coaster laughter: Residents bring their arms up over their heads while saying “awww.” They then bring their arms down while saying “weee” or laughing

Full-moon laughter: The “favourite” laughter exercise where everyone howls like a wolf

“And of course, Rick (Riel), our maintenance manager, joins us for our Santa Claus laughter and our monkey laughter, which really gets everyone laughing for real and at times can cause tears of laughter,” Kim tells The OMNIway.

Kim learned about laughter yoga when she was a student in the recreation and leisure program at Fleming College and a laughter yoga instructor visited her class.

While admittedly skeptical at first, Kim says she noticed physical benefits after her initial laughter yoga session and even says she slept better that night.

Eventually, she took classes to become a certified laughter yoga instructor.

She first used laughter yoga with residents while working as a life enrichment aide at Frost Manor, where the sessions went over well. In fact, one Frost Manor resident said laughter yoga helped ease the severe anxiety she lived with, Kim notes.

Kim is noticing similar benefits at Pleasant Meadow Manor.

“We have found that our residents’ spirits are lifted, and you can see them smiling throughout the day,” she says.

“The way that I measure the benefits to the residents is that they returned for the next session and ask when the next one will be scheduled.”

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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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.

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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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.

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.

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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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.”

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.

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.

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.

Sunday tradition inspires Pleasant Meadow cook’s favourite recipe

Dean Smith serves up his turkey roast dinner for March Madness recipe challenge

Pleasant Meadow Manor cook Dean Smith found inspiration in a Sunday tradition when he decided to enter OMNI Health Care’s March Madness recipe challenge.

No meal says “Sunday” quite like a roast dinner, and Dean’s favourite type of roast is turkey. And a roast turkey dinner on Sundays is also a fan favourite with residents of the Norwood, Ont. long-term care home, Dean says.

“I have chosen this meal and recipe because it is, by far, my most favourite dish in the home to create,” Dean explains.

“(It is also) the residents’ most chosen meal for residents’ choice meals, (and) it’s one that hit home for me because I also like it a lot.”

Dean’s turkey dinner features sliced, juicy roast turkey accompanied by mashed potatoes, mashed turnip, sage stuffing and gravy.

The meat, mashed vegetables and stuffing are all layered on the plates to provide an eye-appealing look.

Dean says he’s happy to be able to provide Pleasant Meadow Manor residents with one of his own favourite meals – and having a roast dinner makes for a perfect Sunday for the home’s residents, he says.

“I live in a large family myself – and a gorgeous turkey dinner with all of the fixings always goes down easy with friends and family on a Sunday afternoon because nothing unites us more than delicious comfort food,” he says.

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 that was created by Country Terrace team member Josephine Goddard.

OMNI launched the 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.

Top-notch ingredients come together in Maplewood’s turkey club sandwich

Cook Jackie Jeffrey takes famous sandwich to a new level in her recipe contest submission

Maplewood nutritional care team member Jackie Jeffrey has added a few twists to the classic clubhouse sandwich to give this lunchtime favourite an even better look and taste.

Since the sandwich has become a favourite with residents of the Brighton, Ont. long-term care home, Jackie chose to enter her recipe in OMNI Health Care’s first annual March Madness recipe contest.

Knowing residents enjoy toasted sandwiches, Jackie decided to come up with her own version of the clubhouse to serve them.

Clubhouse sandwiches are traditionally made with three slices of toasted bread, turkey, bacon, iceberg lettuce, tomato and mayonnaise.

This sandwich is made with carved oven-roasted turkey, crispy bacon, romaine lettuce hearts and sliced tomato between two toasted slices of sourdough panini, which is spread with Jackie’s special mayonnaise-Dijon-mustard aioli.

The sandwich is served with a dill pickle spear.

“Our residents love toasted sandwiches, so (I) chose this alternative version of a turkey club,” Jackie says in her contest submission form.

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 that was created by Country Terrace team member Josephine Goddard.

OMNI launched the 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.