Willows Estate LEA applies a creative approach to regular activities

Team member Azaria Kanda strives to make wine-and-cheese, tea socials engaging

With the pleasing sound of a resident tickling the ivories, other residents mingle during a wine-and-cheese social at Willows Estate.

With red linen tablecloths, flowers and samples of cheeses and various wines, the recent social activity was well-received at the Aurora long-term care home.

Life enrichment aide (LEA) Azaria Kanda, who organized the social, is striving to bring more creativity and meaning to the activities he hosts at Willows Estate.

“We have two residents who are phenomenal on the piano and (one resident) was on the piano and he was playing live songs,” Azaria says.

“It felt more connected and intimate. It added prestige to it.”

When he spoke with The OMNIway recently, Azaria was preparing to host an afternoon tea for residents. With a fair number of residents who have British or Irish roots, he was hoping to take it up a notch by researching the origins of each tea served and sharing his findings with residents.

“I thought I would twist it a bit,” Azaria says.

“We have a slew of British-born residents here and they’re very big on their tea. I thought it would be (enjoyable) to have a tea social and a trivia.”

He planned to ask two residents – one with British roots and the other of Irish heritage – to share a presentation about the teas and where they hail from.

“It’s such a rich part of the overall United Kingdom history. So there’s a lot more to it than just the name brand and the origin.”

Likewise, with the wine and the cheese, they both “come from all over the world. From now on, I’m going to do themed wine-and-cheese socials.”

He’ll base each social on a wine or a cheese from a specific country.

“I figure if I’m bored, they are too. So why not always try to take it up a notch and make it more exciting. When you engage residents in reading or participating it makes them feel good. They get really excited,” the LEA explains.

“It makes them feel they are learning something new and they look forward to coming (to the activity).

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