Valentine’s Day Celebrations at Omni Quality Living

Valentine’s Day is not just about romantic love, but also about the deep bonds of compassion and community that we share with one another. At Omni Quality Living, love is not limited to just one day, but rather a daily practice that enriches our lives and creates a warm and welcoming environment for all.

However, this Valentine’s Day we had a great time celebrating at each of our residences. From our residents participating in special arts and crafts sessions to staff members going above and beyond to show kindness, the spirit of love and connection permeated our residences. We’re were also so grateful to witness the lovely couples in our residences celebrating their love for one another in unique ways.

Here are some of the special moments shared at Omni this Valentine’s Day:

Residence Activities

Residence: Almonte Country Haven

Residents enjoyed pre-Valentine’s events doing crafts and taste testing chocolate covered strawberries and pineapple. Mexican hot chocolate was a hit!

Residence: Almonte Country Haven

Celebrating Valentine’s Day with Residents participating in crafts, lots of sweet treats and dancing the afternoon away to musical entertainment.

Couple Highlights

Residence: Forest Hill

Margo Nowosad and  Clayton Fulford were married on August 31, 1957 at the First United Church on Golden Avenue in Ottawa. They were introduced at a Valentine’s Day dance by their good friends Shirley and Eddy LeSage who remained life long friends. They started a family, having 2 daughters and remained in the west end of Ottawa until their retirement when they moved to Middleville Ontario (30 km west of Almonte). Health issues made them decide to move into ‘town’ (Almonte), which they thoroughly enjoyed until they moved into Forest Hills.

They loved to travel and one of Margo’s greatest memories was all the beautiful gardens and flowers in Amsterdam. Family was very important to them and some of their fondest memories were of having a hosting a full house of family during holidays. Clayton stated that the first thing that stood out to him about Margo was her kind smile. 

Residence: Rosebridge Manor

This picture was taken at Rosebridge Manor, in our beautiful main lobby. The gentleman in the picture is David Scott, along with devoted Personal Care Assistant, Patti Rathwell. David’s wife is away at this time and this picture is being sent as a special “I Love You” for Valentine’s Day.

Residence: Rosebridge Manor

Married just 4 years ago, John and Joan Fyke knew each other since they were teenagers. They met early on but fell in love later in life.

New Year, New Beginnings: Tips for Transitioning to Adult-Style Living in 2024 

Introduction to Transitioning to Adult-Style Living 

The new year is a natural time of transition. Some of us have vowed to return to the gym, eat healthier, or focus on improving finances. For some, this year will bring a transition from independent living to a long-term care or retirement community. Such a major life change can be challenging, but there are several reasons to be excited.   

Health and Wellness in Adult-Style Living 

  • Professional Medical Care: Long-term care and retirement living facilities have a highly skilled team of professionals who are well-equipped to care for residents with a wide variety of medical needs. These communities also have access to the right medical equipment and medical professionals to help manage specialized healthcare services for residents in need.  
  • Nutritional Meals and Exercise Programs: These communities also focus on keeping residents healthy by serving nutritional meals, encouraging body strength through exercise programs 
  • Mental Stimulation: Individual and group activities are also organized that prioritize brain health and keeping minds sharp.  

Hassle-Free Living 

Resident’s will spend more time living their best life and less time worrying about the details in long-term care and retirement living communities. 

  • Onsite Services:  Many of the daily tasks that may have required extra help or coordination like grocery shopping, sending mail, visiting the gym, managing utilities, and doing chores around the house are all services that are either located onsite or managed by staff in  long-term care and retirement living communities. No more dish duty, no more home maintenance surprises, and no more worrying about driving or finding a ride to run errands.  

Living in Community 

Arguably the most valuable benefit of moving into long-term care and retirement living is the supportive and active community.  

  • Building New Relationships: As we age, it can be difficult to make new friends and maintain a close-knit group of peers. Living in a long-term care orretirement community is ideal for meeting new people who are at the same stage of life and enjoy the same types of activities. 
  • Variety of Social Activities: There are a number of social activities like art classes, baking classes, group excursions, and movie nights that are specifically programmed to encourage residents to build a strong community.  
  • Community Interaction: Friendly chats in the elevator, sitting with friends in the dining hall, and nights filled with music and dance are a few of the little things that make life in long-term care and retirement living communities an excellent social experience. 

Tips for Transitioning into Adult-Style Living 

Despite the many benefits we discussed above, moving into a long-term care or retirement community is a big transition and there are steps that can be taken to make it a smooth one.  

  1. Plan Ahead!  
  • Early Preparation: Planning is key to making a transition into long-term care and retirement facilities a success. Ideally, you’ll want to start planning well ahead of your loved one’s transition. Planning ahead will preserve a sense of control for those transitioning into long-term care and retirement living and will help identify the right timing for the transition.  
  • Health and Physical Ability Assessment: Taking an inventory of any health conditions, considering their physical abilities, and anticipating future healthcare needs can help identify their best option for long-term care and retirement living.  
  • Financial Planning: It’s also important to understand the full financial picture in terms of what your transition will cost, what you can afford, and what your options are for long-term care insurance. It’s important for those making the transition and their caregivers to communicate openly about plans and discuss finances so that everyone is on the same page when it’s time to transition. 
  1. Create a Sense of Familiarity 
  • Personal Belongings: During a transition, with so many sudden changes happening, it can be very helpful to create a sense of continuity by making sure residents are surrounded by pictures, furniture, keepsakes or art from their previous environment. It seems like a no-brainer, but it’s important not to forget about the power of our belongings in transitioning into a new space.  
  • Entertainment Access: In addition to décor, making sure a resident has access to their favorite TV programs, movies, and other electronic devices can ease the transition and help them feel at home.  
  1. Open Lines of Communication 
  • Stay Connected: For residents transitioning into adult-style living, easy access to friends and loved ones through email, phone and social media is crucial. 
  • Regular Dialog with Staff:  If you are a family member or caregiver that is assisting a resident with a transition into adult-style living, opening regular dialog with staff will ensure that everyone is on the same page in terms of making sure a resident’s needs are being met. 
  1. Get Involved 
  • Social Integration: It’s important for those making the transition to join clubs, introduce themselves to neighbors, and get to know staff. Meeting people that have already gone through the transition or knowing who to go to when you need something will help them feel more comfortable in their new space.  
  • Establish New Relationships: If you are helping a resident transition, make sure you stay involved and encourage your resident to be active, make an effort to establish new relationships, and make sure they know you are always reachable. 

Embracing the Change 

Transitioning into adult-style living is a big change for those making the transition and for the families who support them. But, there are many benefits to living with others who are in the same stage of life, and the transition doesn’t have to be a difficult one. Have any questions about life in a long-term care or retirement community and how to prepare for a transition? We’re here to help. Contact us for more information about one of our residences. 

How to make your loved ones feel included during the winter months

Winter can bring a lot of challenges for residents of a long-term care or retirement home. The cold weather comes with health and safety risks. Outdoor activities, out-of-home excursions and socializing can drastically slow down. Friends and family members of residents can make their loved ones feel more included during the winter months by putting in extra effort to let them know they’re loved. This can look like a lot of different opportunities to reach out and spend time. Especially over the holidays, it can be easy to feel a sense of loneliness when the rest of the world is husting and bustling, so residents rely on their support systems to keep their spirits up. Interactions mean so much more over the holidays, and quality time can make a huge difference in the overall enjoyment of a resident experience.  

Here at Omni, we encourage strong family bonds, active social plans, and opportunities to expand life beyond the resident community. This comes in many forms and can be facilitated by those closest to a long-term care or retirement resident.  

Plan extended in-person visits 

In-person visits are an integral part of keeping families and friends connected over the winter. It can be challenging to find varying activities when limited to a certain space, but we love seeing residents and their families and friends get creative! One suggestion is to plan extended visits. Rather than popping in for an hour, visitors can plan to spend an entire day at a home with their loved ones. This provides an opportunity to reconnect while also giving the friends and family members a glimpse into the everyday life of their loved one living as a resident.  

You want to ensure that this time is engaging and well-spent. Keep in mind what your loved one enjoys doing throughout their day and try to make your plans around their schedule and needs. Engaging activities can include bringing different board games or puzzles for some down time, or activities like drawing or crafts. For some more personal ways to spend time, you can bring in old photo albums or home videos to reminisce on and tell stories about. One of our favourite suggestions is for the families and friends of residents to join their loved ones in resident activities, such as sitting down for coffee with their friends within the home or joining them for dinner alongside their neighbours. This provides a warmth that a quick visit doesn’t, bringing you into their everyday lives and giving them the opportunity to show you their favourite parts of their home and the friends and community they live amongst.  

Plan virtual activities  

If in-person visits are hard to make happen or you live too far away from your loved ones to visit often, virtual activities have made it so that people can still provide love and support from afar. We often see family and friends scheduling a video call for when people are all together to include their loved ones in the family holidays and traditions — grandkids facetiming Grandma while they’re at Thanksgiving dinner, friends calling to catch up on a birthday, etc. Virtual visits, although not quite the same, show that you care to take the time during a busy life to spend your energy and love on the resident you’re visiting with. This fulfillment from family and friends can bring so much joy and love into the lives of a long-term care or retirement resident and is imperative during the winter months to maintain a sense of community and family. 

At Omni, we empower residents to live life to its fullest potential.  

Go to https://omniqualityliving.ca/life-at-omni/life-enrichment-programs/ 

To learn more about our life enrichment programs and how residents are experiencing their joyful retirement and long-term care living.  

Celebrating diversity at Omni

At Omni, we believe that diversity is beautiful, and inclusion is key. We recognize that our residents come from all walks of life and our main priority is cultivating a warm, supportive environment where everyone can feel right at “home.” 

For someone who’s considering making the transition to long-term care and retirement living, it’s not uncommon to have some questions or concerns about entering a new community and establishing a sense of belonging within it. Some of the questions we often hear is will the home have the expertise and compassion to fully support my needs? Will I fit in with the rest of the resident community? Will my independence be jeopardized by moving into a residence?  

While making this big life decision, these are all very valid concerns and the community at Omni works diligently to ensure ease and comfort throughout this transition. Our community is designed to support our residents’ physical, emotional, and social well-being. This includes being committed to building a community where everyone feels valued and respected, and always finding new opportunities to celebrate the vibrancy of our differences.  

Residents and team members are part of one big family, and the love and warmth within the walls can be felt right when you enter one of our residences. The bonds formed here are akin to best friends and family members, where sharing spaces and making new memories is all part of the liveliness of this experience. Our team members are trained in EDI (equity, diversity, and inclusion) and practice these values daily. 

We value the unique experiences of our residents and team members, which provides a beautiful mosaic of rich perspectives within each residence. Individualized care is the standard at Omni, so team members are equipped to understand the diversity of our residents and the uniqueness of their needs and preferences. Diversity and inclusion are at the heart of every decision made, and the voices of all residents and team members are heard and appreciated. 

Integrity, compassion, and inclusiveness are some our key values and we strive to uphold them in each decision we make. These words are the guiding light of everything we do at Omni and it’s reflected in our daily work. For more information about our values, visit https://www.omniqualityliving.ca/about-omni/corporate-values/.  

Omni Quality Living Acquires Wildwood Care Centre in St. Mary’s, Ontario, the Second Major Property Acquisition in the Past 12 Months

  • Wildwood Care Centre is now part of Omni’s growing portfolio of Long-Term Care and Retirement properties in Canada

Peterborough, ON / February 2, 2024Omni Quality Living (“Omni”) is pleased to announce the acquisition of the Wildwood Care Centre (“Wildwood”) in St. Mary’s, Ontario, effective February 1st. The acquisition is part of Omni’s growth strategy and marks its second significant acquisition in the past 12 months, following the acquisition of Bear Creek Terrace (formerly Fiddick’s Nursing Home on March 31, 2023), a class A long-term care and retirement home located in Petrolia, Ontario.

The Wildwood Care Centre, renowned for its dedicated service to its community, offering both long-term care and retirement living options to seniors. Omni has been involved in the operational management of Wildwood Care Centre, partnering with the Walsh family for over a decade. This operational collaboration has been instrumental in shaping Wildwood’s success to date.

As Omni steps up to acquire the property, Scott Walsh will remain involved with Omni as part of the management team. The addition of Scott to the Omni team guarantees a seamless transition for the operational staff at Wildwood, and continuity in the high standards of care the residents have grown accustomed to, and that Wildwood is known for.

“We are thrilled to officially welcome the residents and staff of Wildwood Care Centre to the Omni family,” said Raheem Hirji, President and CEO at Omni Quality Living. “This acquisition is a welcomed expansion of our portfolio, reinforcing our commitment to building a portfolio of properties that provide exceptional care, and a warm, welcoming environment for our long-term care and retirement home residents.”

Scott commented on the new partnership between himself and Omni, stating, “Joining forces with Omni is a significant milestone for myself and the Wildwood Care Centre. I am excited to continue with a team that shares the same vision for enhancing the quality of life of our residents, and I look forward to contributing to Omni’s renowned reputation of excellence in care.”

Michael Doner, Managing Director at the Hillcore Group, and a key figure in facilitating Omni’s growth strategy, expressed his enthusiasm for this recent acquisition. “The inclusion of the Wildwood Care Centre in our network signifies Omni’s thoughtful approach towards both portfolio growth and continuing excellence in resident care in the long-term care sector.”

About Omni Quality Living 

At Omni Quality Living, our passion is people. Established in 1975, Omni is one of the more prominent and trusted operators of long-term care and retirement homes in Canada, with 22 residences across Ontario and New Brunswick. Visit www.omniqualityliving.ca for more information. 

Contact  

Alyssa Barry 
Media Relations 
[email protected]

Team Member Spotlight: Doneath Stewart on nurturing diversity, equity, and inclusion

At Omni, “respect, always” is not only one of our policies, but also our guiding light for how we operate as a business and how everyone who comes through our doors should be treated. The “respect, always” policy is just one aspect of how Omni prioritizes DEI.

Doneath Stewart, Director of Operations at Omni, champions this policy and all diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) initiatives across the organization.  

How did Doneath arrive in her current role as Director of Operations?

Doneath completed her Bachelor’s of Science in Nursing at Ryerson University (now Toronto Metropolitan University). Subsequently, she pursued a Master’s in Health Studies with a focus on Leadership at Athabasca University, graduating in December 2020. Doneath has been part of the Omni family for eight years, starting as a Director of Care and working her way through various areas of the business before arriving in her current position as Director of Operations. Her diverse portfolio encompasses overseeing operations for four long-term homes, managing emergency preparedness, educating team members on behavioral support, and leading initiatives in diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI).

How did DEI become a core business priority at Omni?

During the COVID-19 pandemic the Omni leadership team noted a surge in negative expressions from homes and staff related to allegations of discrimination. Fueling this surge was the current staffing environment in long-term care, increased agency use, as well as residents and families refusing care from care staff with unfounded prejudice.

Omni’s existing “respect, always” policy was exercised, with every complaint taken seriously. However, staff expressions of their ongoing concerns, prompted the realization that a change was needed from the top down This feedback led to a deeper initiative to explore the current state of DEI within the organization and how Omni could embed this deeply into the organization.

How did Omni determine where to start?

To understand the existing perceptions around DEI, Omni conducted a survey among staff, families, and residents. Although respondents were familiar with DEI concepts. Recognizing the importance of education, Omni started a journey that involved continuous learning. Doneath and various team members became highly engaged in Ontario Centres for Learning, Research, and Innovation (CLRI) in Long-Term Care , a critical resource for learning and education. She engaged in community care practices, webinars, and seeking information to bridge gaps in understanding. The initiative aimed to address unconscious bias and began with the powerful notion that inclusion starts with “I.”

How did Omni ensure the DEI initiatives would be fully integrated into the organization?

Omni first engaged a development consultant to review the face of the organization and reshape Omni’s mission, vision, and values to ensure that DEI was represented in Omni’s Strategic Plan. A two-day session with administrators and the Omni leadership team then laid the foundation, and a working group, including Doneath, ensured processes were in place to implement the embedding of ‘inclusiveness’ in the strategic plan effectively.

How did Omni ensure diverse voices were heard in the organization?

To gauge the perspectives of both leadership and staff on DEI, Omni conducted an additional survey prior to the annual leadership forum. The results revealed perceived disparities in perceptions of diversity, equity, and inclusion. The leadership forum featured a presentation comparing these perspectives, emphasizing that diversity extends beyond ethnicity to encompass age, disability, sexuality, and more.

Omni has also participated in an educational pilot program with CLRI for Cultural Humility in Healthcare, involving five Omni long-term care homes. Policies are being developed to guide homes in DEI efforts, with a dedicated DEI committee at the home office assisting in implementation and the set-up of additional residence-specific committees.

How is Omni fostering a culture of respect and inclusiveness in its long-term care homes?

Omni’s “respect, always” policy underscores our passion for people, recognizing and celebrating individual uniqueness. By focusing on inclusivity and embracing differences, Omni encourages staff and residents to carry their uniqueness throughout their journey with the organization.

In conclusion, Omni’s commitment to DEI is not just a policy but a cultural transformation, spearheaded by individuals like Doneath, who have dedicated their efforts to create an inclusive and respectful environment in long-term care and retirement homes.


Winterizing mobility aids

Colder weather brings the ice and snow, which starts to limit outdoor access for many people. People who use daily mobility aids are especially affected by the changing of seasons, as mobility is already limited, and safety risks rise with the unsturdy surfaces.

At long-term care and retirement residences, mobility aids are a popular way for residents to maintain autonomy and freedom of movement while staying safe and working with their physical limitations. When the snow falls, these mobility aids can still be helpful for outdoor adventures but need some extra care and caution to remain safe. Outdoor excursions don’t have to stop just because of the snow, but here are some things to keep in mind when it comes to winterizing your mobility aids.

Walkers and canes

Walkers and canes are mobility devices that do not require power to operate. They are often lightweight and manual, offering more stability to those who use them. Canes and walkers are recommended for people who struggle to stay balanced and can be great companions in the winter for outdoor walks to add additional support and balance. When maintaining your cane or walker during the winter, it is important to keep an eye on the wear and tear of the feet/bottom of the device. For canes, the rubber cap at the bottom can be easily damaged by ice and snow. These can be replaced easily and often. Canes can also have additional interchangeable tips that act as ice grips for creating further friction through the snow. Just be sure to change or remove these before you move back inside! For walkers, some folks opt for a heavy-duty wheel to help move over the snow, but anything with operating wheels will struggle with the uneven ground. Try your best to make sure that your walking path is clear and salted and wipe down your mobility device when you get indoors to prevent salt damage.

Wheelchairs and motorized devices

Canadian winters can be especially rough on those who rely on wheelchairs to get around. Sidewalks are often unattended and pose serious hurdles for folks who are reliant on wheelchairs. Many long-term care and retirement homes prioritize sidewalk maintenance within the residence so that those who use wheelchairs can enjoy the snowy season safely. Motorized wheelchairs and scooters are better for snowy sidewalks because of the extra power. Be mindful that the wheelchair wheels are waterproof and safe for the outdoors, and make sure that you thoroughly dry the wheels and undercarriage when returning indoors to avoid damage.

Footwear

Footwear isn’t necessarily a mobility device, but it sure is a safety aid in the winter. Wearing proper footwear can prevent slips and falls and make walking feel more stable and safer. Wearing winter boots that keep your feet warm and dry is important for weather safety to avoid getting too cold. Shoes with additional traction or snow spikes are even better, because they will provide extra protection from imbalance and uneven ground.

Storing your mobility devices

When you’re all done with your time outside, caring for your mobility devices will help with their safety and longevity. Storing your mobility aids in a dry, warm space is the best way to prevent damage. If your device is motorized, remove the batteries and store them separately while being mindful of replacing them in a timely manner. With your mobility aids well cared-for, they can be used or donated and help you or others navigate outdoor adventures in the snow for years to come.

If you are unsure about what mobility aid is right for you, speak to a medical professional to get guidance on your options. Safety is the priority, and enjoying the winter weather to the best of your abilities comes in as a close second.

To learn more about Omni residences and activities, go to https://omniqualityliving.ca/.

Riverview Manor Residents Receive Heartwarming Christmas Keepsakes

Residents in the Passport program at Riverview Manor in Peterborough, Ontario received a very special Christmas present this year from their Passport Support Worker, Darlene Storey. Darlene gifted residents with personalized photo albums highlighting their trips and activities over the past couple years.

The Passport program from the Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services aims to help adults with developmental disability live independent and full lives by funding caregiving services and community participation activities.

There are currently eight residents in the Passport program at Riverview Manor, and Darlene has been the Support Worker for six of those residents since 2021. Darlene works with each resident to find out what types of activities are of interest and develops a monthly calendar of in-house activities and outings for the group.

Residents have taken part in an impressive list of outings over the past couple of years. Darlene has organized several everyday activities like going to a coffee shop, catching a movie at the theater, playing billiards, and shopping. Residents have also participated in a number of special events like visiting the Riverview Park & Zoo, going to the Peterborough Music Fest, taking part in the Under the Locks Fishing Derby, enjoying the Liftlock boat cruise, and watching the St. Patrick’s Day and Canada Day parades. Recent in-house activities include crafts, listening to music, participating in discussions, and watching movies.

Darlene was diligent about taking photos of these activities and outings, and made each resident a photo album documenting all the fun residents have had over the past couple years. Darlene’s sweet, thoughtful gift is a phenomenal example of the lengths our support team will go to ensure our Passport program residents are living fulfilling and joyful lives.   

Winter gardening 101: Keep your passion alive 

Gardening enthusiasts don’t need to stop sewing and growing just because of the snow! Canadian winters can be harsh for a budding outdoor garden. That said, there are plenty of ways for seniors to continue with their craft during the winter months. Those who are comfortable with the snow can build a hearty, winter-proofed garden with cold-weather plants, and those who prefer the indoors can continue to watch their favourite florals bloom.  

There are plenty of ways to keep flexing your green thumb throughout the winter. Omni’s long-term care and retirement homes have options to support year-round gardening so residents can keep up with this soulful hobby. Gardening is also an activity that can be accessible to all. Whether you prefer to get your hands dirty in nature or sit back and enjoy the views, gardening can be loved by people of all ages and abilities. It is important to make this hobby accessible to Omni residents year-round, so we have come up with a list of ways to keep your gardening passions alive while staying safe and warm. 

Plant winter veggies 

If you’re keen on continuing to garden outside, there are plenty of hearty winter veggies and shrubs that will keep your garden going strong through the snow. Many vegetables, such as kale, cabbage, and brussels sprouts, do well when exposed to frost. You can still yield little home-grown gems for your dinner table (isn’t that just the best feeling ever?) while ensuring they can withstand the chilly weather. If veggies are too much work, try planting simple shrubs to keep your garden looking full without much maintenance. 

Surround yourself with wildlife 

Gardening doesn’t have to be all about the plants! In the summer, wildflowers and fruits bring the birds and the bees. You don’t have to give up these nature sightings just because the snow is falling. We love watching winter wildlife as they enjoy the Omni residences. Tall bird feeders bring colourful friends to the garden, creating a source of entertainment and enjoyment for residents of all ages and abilities. Hanging out near our stand feeders is the best way to get the birds to come to you. 

Start planning for next year 

Take a little break from getting your hands dirty and start thinking about your spring gardening dreams. Planning for next year can include chatting with pals about your ideas and shared gardening tasks within the home, or ordering seeds and bulbs so that you’re ready when the snow melts. Some folks also like to take this downtime to learn more about gardening through books, podcasts, and television shows. This might help you come up with new ideas for your garden next year! 

Plant indoors 

If you want to keep your gardening hobby going throughout the winter but don’t feel comfortable or safe maintaining a space outside, you can always transition to indoor gardening. Herb gardens are a great indoor garden idea because they take up minimal space and can withstand indoor climates (especially heartier herbs such as sage, rosemary, and thyme). For those who prefer a garden to admire, knowing your blooms can help create a beautiful floral garden that flourishes indoors. Florals such as poinsettias and orchids do well inside during the winter months. 

At Omni, we believe it’s important to continue making space for fulfilling activities and recreational time, no matter the weather. We love watching residents and their loved ones find new ways to enjoy gardening throughout the winter. We’d like to thank our residents for sharing their creative tips and tricks for keeping their love of gardening alive throughout year-round. For more information about Omni residences, go to https://omniqualityliving.ca 

Omni Quality Living’s Woodland Villa Celebrates Grand Opening of Long-Term Care Home

Woodland Villa’s 128-bed residence opens following the addition of 17 new beds and 111 upgraded beds

SOUTH STORMONT, ONTARIO, December 18, 2023: Omni Quality Living (“Omni”) today celebrated the grand opening of Woodland Villa, a long-term care residence providing 128 beds in Long Sault, Ontario. Woodland Villa has re-opened following the renovation and retrofit of the residence, which includes 111 upgraded Class C beds and seventeen new beds, along with several other renovations. Woodland Villa welcomed its first resident on November 20, 2023, following approval from the Ministry of Long-Term Care.

In addition to supporting the demand for new and upgraded beds, Omni prioritized creating additional resident-centric spaces that align with today’s design standards. Originally constructed in 1985, Woodland Villa now features additional outdoor spaces, dining and activity areas, and among other enhancements. 

Left to right: Janna Goulding, Administrator, Omni Quality Living; Nolan Quinn, MPP, Stormont, Dundas and South Glengarry; Susan Bell, Director of Operations, Omni Quality Living; Sarah Ferguson-McLaren, VP, Omni Quality Living; and Stan Cho, Minister of Long Term Care.

“It has been an honor to live at Woodland Villa during the construction and opening of the new home,” said Jill Watt, a Woodland Resident since April 2020, just one month after the COVID-19 pandemic was declared. “The transition has been smooth and comfortable, and it is wonderful to have new space and enjoy many activities and events in the home. I am now an active member of the Residents Council and a passionate advocate for the residents.”

This initiative is part of the Long-Term Care Development Program, the Ontario government’s $6.4 billion commitment to build more than 30,000 new beds by 2028 and upgrade 28,000 existing long-term care beds across the province. Woodland Villa currently has a waiting list of over 100 people.

“Congratulations to Woodland Villa as we celebrate the opening of an upgraded long-term care home for the United Counties of Stormont, Dundas, and Glengarry. Our government is committed to fixing long-term care and ensuring we build homes for seniors in the communities they helped build,” said Stan Cho, Minister of Long-Term Care. “This redeveloped home is a significant milestone for Long Sault. Woodland Villa means 128 residents now have a modern and comfortable place to call home.”

This project was completed by Omni’s construction partner, Bourgon Construction. With the essential support of this program, Omni currently has four other active construction projects underway, resulting in the addition of 450 new and upgraded beds.

“This is a great accomplishment for the Omni team and a significant first step towards completing Omni’s ambitious redevelopment program. The team is continuing to press forward with four other active projects, with two more set to be completed in 2024 and another two in 2025. These redeveloped homes allow Omni to continue its strong tradition of delivering on its mission, vision, and values to the Omni community,” said Michael Doner, Managing Director & Chief Operating Officer at Hillcore.

This redevelopment project will serve to support provincial priorities, including:

  • Improving the healthcare experience through an integrated and patient-centered continuum of care;
  • Collaborating with partners towards the achievement of an accountable, high-performing healthcare system;
  • Eliminating the need for hallway medicine; and
  • Achieving better patient outcomes through more equitable access to quality care.

“Omni has a deep history operating long-term care in Ontario, but we are also highly invested in its future,” said Raheem Hirji, President and CEO at Omni Quality Living. “Woodland Villa, alongside our other active projects, marks a significant stride towards meeting the needs of our community, offering upgraded amenities to uphold the highest standards of care for decades to come.”

For more information on Woodland Villa, visit https://omniqualityliving.ca/community/woodland-villa/.

About Omni Quality Living

At Omni Quality Living, our passion is people. Established in 1975, OMNI is one of the more prominent and trusted operators of long-term care and retirement homes in Canada, with 22 residences across Ontario and New Brunswick. Visit www.omniqualityliving.ca for more information.

Contact
Alyssa Barry
Media Relations
[email protected]

Winter nutrition for seniors

Residents of long-term care and retirement homes need to always be mindful of their bodies, including their physical abilities, specific health care needs, and any other care requirements. A balanced diet means different things for different people. For one person, it may be known that excess salt is a potential health risk. Others may still be discovering what food fuels them best. Regardless of your personal dietary needs, a balanced diet is critical during the winter months. This is because it can be more difficult to exercise and get outside in unsavoury weather. Not only that, but a lack of sunshine can influence mood and energy, which can be supported with additional vitamins and minerals.

Here are a few ways you can meet your nutritional needs this winter:

Focus on vitamin and nutrient rich foods

It’s always important to maintain your fruit and veggie intake in the winter, which is why we plan ahead so meal plans can be built using in-season produce. Foods that are rich in vitamins and nutrients can boost immunity and energy levels. In the winter, seniors can take advantage of seasonal root vegetables like yams, beet, and carrots. These vegetables keep for longer than greens and fruits and are high in fiber and carbohydrates, perfect for fuelling your body and keeping the winter blues away! These vegetables also freeze well, both before and after they’re cooked. This means that meal prep doesn’t go to waste, and any scraps and leftovers can be salvaged for soups and stews later.

For those who go on regular shopping trips, we recommend doing some shared shopping with your neighbours and friends within the community. A full bag of sweet potatoes might be hard to get through on your own before they rot, but if you split the bag with some neighbours and trade for some hearty carrots or beets in return, you can have a variety of fresh produce without having to worry about eating it before they expire.

Pack in extra citrus

Another key element to proper nutrition during the winter is citrus. Packed with vitamin C, citrus is helpful for your immune system during cold and flu season. It is also “in season” and fresher than berries and other fruits. Don’t worry, if you’re still a big fan of summer fruits, frozen options make a great replacement in baking, oatmeal, pancakes, and other recipes. Doing what you can to maintain a healthy balance of fruit and vegetable intake, even when you have to be a bit creative, will maintain your healthy immune system and give you the necessary energy to get through the colder and darker months.

Consider supplementing your vitamin D

It is important to have a thorough understanding of your body and its needs to effectively stay on top of your nutrition and health. During the winter months, vitamin D supplements can be a great way to maintain your physical and mental health with less sunlight and outdoor time. You should consult your physician for a more detailed approach to supplements, but consider them a great option to fortify your nutrition and vitamin intake and give your body the best chance at an active and healthy winter.

For more information about the experience of long-term care and retirement residences during the winter, and how to stay safe and active, go to https://omniqualityliving.ca/page/news/

Omni’s holiday gift guide for residents

There are plenty of occasions where someone might be receiving a gift from you, and we love a good excuse to make someone feel loved. Gift giving is such a joyful act of kindness and love and can be fulfilling for everyone involved in the winter holiday season. When folks are in long-term care or retirement homes, these acts of kindness and thoughtful moments help to remind them of their value and community support. Buying gifts for residents can be a tricky art due to accessibility, space, and necessity limitations. Knowing your gift recipient well and understanding what little things might bring them joy is a great place to start.

When shopping for a resident of a long-term care or retirement home, being mindful of their individual circumstances will set you up for success. Items that are practical tend to be the most common, like an activity or hobby that keeps residents’ bodies and minds active.

When you’re picking out the perfect gift, the options feel endless. Knowing your recipient well will help you find something that you know they could use or enjoy. If you’re gifting to someone you aren’t as acquainted with, you can opt for something more general and all-encompassing.

If you’re unsure of what to get for your loved ones, we’ve got some go-to ideas:

Digital photo frame

A digital photo frame allows residents to display and relive cherished moments, fostering a sense of nostalgia and emotional connection. These are designed to be user-friendly, often with simple interfaces, easy uploading and remote controls. Family members can digitally upload images that will show up right away, similar to a social media feed with new posts incoming. This is a wonderful way of staying connected and sharing updates with loved ones.

Clothing

Layering clothing pieces are useful for all seasons. If you’re gifting summer clothing, ensure that it is made of lightweight and breathable materials. For heavier layers, avoid stiff and itchy fabrics, and make sure that they are easy to put on and take off. For example, someone with physical limitations might struggle with buttons, so opt for a zipper instead.

Journal

A journal is versatile and can be used for hobbies, note taking, journaling, keeping phone numbers and addresses, and more. Since long-term care and retirement residences often have big communities, getting a journal embossed or designed with their name or initials on it is not only a beautiful, customized touch, but will also prevent them losing their belongings around the community.

Books

Books are a great way to pass the time, spark invigorating conversations, and keep minds sharp. Gifting your favourite book to someone is a great way to have more topics for conversation. You could also opt for a book series to provide a few opportunities to get through books and a way to pass plenty of time. Book gifts could also be crosswords, word finds or sudoku, as alternative ways to keep minds moving and hobbies fruitful.

Comfy blanket

Gifts for the home often go unused because they can be too specific. Blankets offer a perfect pop of colour and cozy feeling without anticipating someone’s needs for a gift. Everyone has use for a cozy blanket. To personalize a gift like this, try to be mindful about the resident’s favourite colours or patterns or whether it will match well with the rest of their room décor.

Shoes

Anti-slip shoes are a great gift for the active people in our lives. Helping prevent falls and keeping them safe, a good pair of shoes with ample traction can make a big difference in balance and safety. Alternatively, we love hard-soled slippers with foot support and structure. These are more likely used around the home, but provide the same safety, security, and comfort.

Care package

If you’re not sure exactly what somebody might want, a care package might be the best option. These can be filled with day-to-day items such as a mug, tea, reusable water bottle, and other personal favorites. Add in a few of their go-to snacks or fun pictures to reminisce on and you’ve got a full experience in one single gift. Check with the residence to see what policies are in place when it comes to bringing in outside food.

When picking out the perfect gift for a long-term care or retirement resident, keep in mind that it’s the thought that counts. When we share a life with someone in any capacity, having the opportunity to show them that they are loved, appreciated and thought of is an act of true kindness. Putting thought into what will make them feel loved and understood is a step above, providing a true sense of companionship to those on the receiving end of your gift-giving.

To learn more about each Omni residence or respective rules and regulations pertaining to visiting and/or bringing gifted items, go to www.omniqualityliving.ca or contact us here. For more inspiration, you can also read our blog about how to make a loved one feel more at home. Happy holidays!

Tips for planning your holiday celebrations

As the holidays approach, it’s time to start thinking about how you want to celebrate. Throughout the fall and winter, Canada celebrates a myriad of holidays from different cultures and religions, making for a beautiful time of celebration and love. For residents of a long-term care or retirement home, the holidays can look a bit different. Sometimes, scheduling outings and plans with family becomes more difficult because the resident’s loved ones have busier schedules during the holidays. That makes it even more important to be intentional about your plans so you can spend more time with your loved ones and enjoy this time of year together.

The holidays are all about sharing a festive and joyful experience with those you love, but sometimes there are barriers. Canada’s holiday season can come with cold weather and dangerous roads, making it important to find ways to celebrate that are safe and accessible. Holiday celebrations can be shared amongst residents and their loved ones, giving everyone something joyful to look forward. The plans can be big or small, but most importantly, the plans should bring cheer. Here are some of our favourite ways that we’ve seen our residents celebrate and make the most of the holiday season:

Get social

Holiday celebrations don’t have to be fancy to feel fulfilling. Sharing the joy with other people can be one of the best parts of the holidays, so start by making plans to socialize and spend quality time. Make plans with other residents to share conversation over a meal or coffee, or an invite extended to loved ones to spend some time reconnecting.

Unwind

The winter months bring a cozy feeling to your indoor spaces. Warm up by the fire and sip a hot chocolate on your own or with friends or watch a holiday movie (we love a throwback!). The holidays can be a great time to slow down and unwind, with opportunities to relax celebrate around every corner. With the hustle and bustle of the world during this busy season of the year, it’s important to carve out time to rest and relax.

Make it a party

Holiday plans can be shared with pals no matter the activity. If you’re making hot chocolate, invite your friends to join you for a mug! If you’re baking cookies, plan a cookie swap. If you’re watching a movie, ask your friends to bring a snack and join you. We love it when residents share joyful experiences with one another. Planned activities can be added to your social calendar to share in the joy of the holidays with your neighbours and friends.

Involve your family

Sharing the joy of the holidays with your nearest and dearest can fill your cup in ways that sparkly decorations and holiday sweets just can’t. Invite your family and friends who don’t live in your residence to join you for holiday festivities. We’ve seen grandkids come for a cookie baking day, best friends stop by for a holiday movie party, and everything in between. What’s most important is that you make time for your family to celebrate alongside you and enjoy your residence with you.

Get crafty

Holiday crafts are a wonderful way to decorate your space, showcase your holiday spirit, and spend time doing something fun and creative. Some folks paint their own holiday cards and others make table or tree decorations. Crafts can vary in difficulty and accessibility and are a great way for people of different cultures, ages, personalities, and abilities to work together on something fun and festive.

Share the joy

They call it the season of giving! The holidays are a time to show your love in extra little ways. Through gifts, cards, and quality time, you can share your joy and seasonal festivities with the people around you. This can be in the form of thoughtful gifts or hand-written cards, or simply sharing your favourite movie to watch or your family’s famous cookie recipe. Giving is a joyous way to celebrate the season with the people around you, and a fun way to show people just how much you care.

There is no one way to celebrate the holidays correctly, and we encourage our residents to share their holiday traditions and joys with others to create the fullest and most vibrant holiday season within our homes. For more information about Omni residences and activities, go to https://omniqualityliving.ca/

Team Member Spotlight: Jonathon Krieger, Regional General Manager 

At Omni, we pride ourselves on having a diverse and dedicated team that works tirelessly to provide exceptional care and service to our residents. Today, we shine the spotlight on Jonathon Krieger, our Regional General Manager, who plays a pivotal role in ensuring that all our homes in New Brunswick run smoothly and efficiently. With 14 months under his belt at Omni, Jonathon brings a wealth of experience, having been in the industry since 2010. 

A day in the life at Omni 

Jonathon’s role as a Regional General Manager is no small feat. He oversees various aspects of our operations, from culinary and sales departments to maintenance and care services. What makes his job truly exciting is that no two days are ever the same. In Jonathon’s words, the dynamic nature of his role is what keeps him engaged and passionate about his work. Omni is not just a care home; it’s many operations under one roof. Jonathon’s responsibility is to tie all departments together, ensuring a seamless experience for both residents and his team. 

One of the things he values most is having an outstanding team that excel in their roles and shares the same dedication to Omni’s mission and values. Having a team that believes in the organization’s mission is essential for Jonathon to be efficient in his role.  

Biggest accomplishments 

Jonathon takes immense pride in building a strong, cohesive team. He acknowledges that his success isn’t solely attributed to him but to the exceptional individuals he has the pleasure of working with.  

Jonathon has been able to provide crucial support to Omni’s nursing team, filling gaps in their experience and helping them become more efficient. By identifying areas where support was needed, Jonathon and his team have made significant strides in improving the quality of care provided to residents. Omni’s yearly retreat further strengthened the bonds within the team, emphasizing inclusivity and the importance of every team member’s unique contributions. 

What inspires Jonathon in his professional work? 

For Jonathon, the inspiration comes from the seniors Omni serves. Despite his shift from a maintenance role, where he was celebrated as a hero for every lightbulb change, to his current position, where he deals with challenging issues, Jonathon’s commitment to seniors remains unwavering. He sees his role as an advocate for seniors, ensuring that their resources are used efficiently and their best interests are at the forefront of every decision. 

Jonathon’s work extends beyond the residents to include partnerships with community organizations like the New Brunswick Special Care Home Association, which exemplifies his commitment to building a strong network and fostering inclusivity. 

Resources and support at Omni 

Omni provides Jonathon with a wealth of resources and support, from the CEO down to the management team. He values the collaborative approach of the leadership team, which promotes problem-solving and knowledge sharing across departments. With team members like Shawn Riel, Chief Operating Officer, who have decades of experience, Jonathon and his team have access to a vast pool of knowledge that helps in making informed decisions. 

Omni’s history of long-tenured employees is a testament to its dedication to its team, and Jonathon believes that this wealth of experience is a vital resource that sets Omni apart. 

What makes Omni unique? 

One of the most unique aspects of working at Omni is the opportunity to be part of shaping its future. With Omni’s recent entry into the New Brunswick market, Jonathon and his team have a blank canvas to work with. They can innovate and create without the constraints or roadblocks. This fresh start combined with the unwavering support of Omni’s leadership makes it a unique and exciting journey for Jonathon and his team. 

Professional growth at Omni 

Jonathon’s journey with Omni has been one of personal growth and rediscovery. He returned to the long-term care sector in New Brunswick with a renewed passion and sense of purpose. Omni has provided him with a platform to give back and mentor others while also deepening his sense of empathy and understanding. His role has allowed him to rediscover the love he always had for the industry, making each day at Omni a fulfilling experience. 

Jonathon Kreiger’s dedication, leadership, and passion for his work make him an invaluable member of the Omni team. We look forward to witnessing the continued positive impact he brings to our organization and the residents we serve. 

Fun fall activities for residents in long-term care and retirement living

As the colder weather approaches, residents of all ages will find themselves spending more time indoors. Although there are plenty of ways to have safe and mindful time outside in the cold, finding fulfilling activities indoors will help rid any winter blues and keep residents connected to their community and selves.  

Firstly, it is important to still get moments of fresh air and time outside if the weather is safe to do so. One of our most recommended fall activities is to have an outdoor walk as often as you can before it gets too cold. Fall is great weather for residents to go walking, as it isn’t too hot or sunny, but also isn’t snowy, icy and unsafe. For us Canadians, fall also means that the trees are colourful and the leaves are falling which makes for a great change of scenery and beautiful views.  

Otherwise, seasonal indoor activities can keep residents busy and happy while the weather cools down. Here are some of our favourite ways to enjoy the fall festivities and the company of other residents inside: 

Pumpkin decorating 

Making the most of the season’s harvest, pumpkin decorating is a creative way to get together with friends and other residents to celebrate the season. Although carving is the traditional way to do this, it can be difficult for those with mobility limitations. Decorating pumpkins can be creative and can be malleable for all types of physical abilities. You can use paint, stickers, pipe cleaners, googly-eyes, craft paper, and other materials to make your pumpkins pretty and festive.  

Seasonal food – cooking & tasting 

Fall is the season of apple picking, and cozy cooking. Sharing food with friends and residents is a wonderful way to connect and spend time together and can become a fun activity or even recurring event at your residence! Putting together a fall-themed event that includes everyone’s favourite treats will allow folks to gather and share in the joy of food. Things like apple cider, hot chocolate, pumpkin pie, and hearty soups can be shared amongst friends in big or small groups. 

Baking activities 

Working together to create sweet treats is such a wonderful way to spend time together. This can be an activity on your own, with your family, or a full-blown resident event. Baking together doesn’t have to be complicated and can involve easier alternatives for larger groups such as cookie or cupcake decorating. This could also be an opportunity for folks to share their favourite fall recipes of apple crumble or pumpkin pie, sharing in the joy of family recipes and good memories. The community can also work together on a bigger project, such as putting together cookie tins to give to residence staff or a friendly competition for who has the best apple pie.  

Movie night 

Tis’ the season for early sunsets and cozy evenings. Hosting a movie night for residents can be a low-impact way to spend quality time with your community indoors. To make it more personal, try having residents write down their top 3 favourite fall-themed movies and tally the submitted results for the winner! 

Arts and crafts 

Arts and crafts can be an accessible activity for many, with variations that include projects for people with limited mobility or cognitive considerations. This can be as simple as having fun festive stickers and paper, or include drawing, painting, clay sculpting, and more. Make sure to have enough materials for everyone attending your arts and crafts session and ask for ideas from other residents for new and exciting projects you can do together.  

Resident life at Omni is full and vibrant no matter what season. As the leaves begin to fall, we turn inwards to focus on safe and happy activities for every Omni resident.  

For more information about our residences, events and activities, go to https://omniqualityliving.ca 

How to establish strong social connections with other residents in long-term care and retirement residences

Staying social is sort of like exercising or eating well — it takes energy and effort but will pay off in the long-run. No matter your age, social connections are integral when living at a long-term care or retirement residence. Of course, your loved ones who live outside of the residence are just as important, but getting to know your neighbors at the residence and establishing these lifelong connections is part of the invigorating and unique long-term care or retirement resident experience.

Social connections are more valuable than we think. Especially when it comes to later stages of life, it can help reduce feelings of isolation and loneliness and make the experience in long-term care or retirement residences more enriching. Residents who are part of various communities will feel a stronger sense of belonging and fulfillment during the experience – and this in turn will enhance their quality of life. Not to mention, staying active can also have incredible positive effects on mental health, improving overall mood and helping to reduce cognitive decline. With mood increase typically comes healthier habits and a more positive outlook on life.

Here are some recommended ways to develop more meaningful connections with other residents:

1. Participate in more group activities

Most long-term care and retirement residences host a myriad of activities and events for residents to enjoy. Take a look at the activities schedule, or research what local events are happening in your area. It’s also a good idea to connect with other residents to see if they’d be open to forming a group where you can engage in shared interests or activities, such as meeting up at a regular time each week to go for a walk together or creating a book club.

2. Be open-minded about the experience

It can be hard to try new things, but these experiences will lead you towards establishing life-long connections with others and creating new memories together. Understand that many others are going through a similar experience, and making the transition into long-term care or retirement is something common. Being open-minded about the process and actively engaging in the community will make the process easier and you’ll get to meet many great people along the way.

3. Introduce yourself to other residents

Recognize that there’s plenty of opportunity within this experience to meet new people and form strong connections with others. Your breakfast table crew might become your favourite people to play cards with. The opportunities within this experience to establish strong friendships with others are endless, and it all starts by saying hi.

4. Have open and honest conversations with others

You and your neighbors share a community and a home. In addition to your shared experience as a resident of the community, there are many other areas of life in which you can connect on a deeper level. Even outside the walls of your long-term care or retirement residence, you’re likely to have many other experiences to share with one another.

5. Bond over similar interests

Activities arranged by the residence can be a great way to find like-minded people who share similar interests. Whether it’s simply conversational or you become activity buddies with other residents, similar interests can connect people like nothing else can.

Build your community

Expanding your network of friends and folks around you will help foster a strong sense of community within your experience living at a long-term care or retirement residence. Not to mention, connecting with others in a deep, meaningful way is one of life’s greatest joys and at the end of the day, community is what life is all about.

At Omni, we pride ourselves in being a part of building happy communities across Canada. Get to know what life at Omni looks like by contacting us or booking a tour to learn more about our residences and recreational programs.  

Fun Activities When Visiting a Loved One in Long-Term Care and Retirement Living

It’s not uncommon for a long-term care or retirement resident to feel a little homesick from time to time — whether they’re new to the residence and still adjusting, or they’ve already been there for a while. For this reason, most residents really look forward to when their friends or family members pay them a visit. To extend the duration of your next visit, try to come up with some fun activities that you can enjoy with your loved one. Here’s a list of fun activities for your next visit so you can spend more quality time together:

1. Print out photos and bring a hard copy with you

Before your next visit, dig around for some old and new photos that you think your loved one would enjoy seeing. Print out hard copies and bring them along with you on your visit so you can look at the photos together. Rather than viewing the photos on a digital screen, it’s easier for a resident to look at a hard copy. The best part about this idea is that they can keep the hard copies with them at the residence.

Put the photos into an album for the resident so they can feel like they’re receiving a thoughtful gift. Including a photo album also makes the photos more accessible so residents can view them whenever they feel like it. Also, you can bring new photos each time you visit the residence, and both of you can keep adding them to the album. Just be sure to include photos of friends or family members from recent events or milestones, so your loved one can feel included. This will also help offset any negative feelings they might have about missing out on what’s going on outside of the residence.

2. Handwritten letters

If there are any friends or family members who cannot visit as often, get them to write the resident a handwritten letter or note that you can help pass along. Bringing letters with you that are addressed to the resident can help make them feel special and remind them that everyone is thinking of them. Also, letters don’t take up too much space to store in a resident’s living space and it’s easy for a resident to take them out to have a look whenever they’re feeling a little homesick. Unsure what to write about in your letter? You can mention some of your favorite memories with the resident, or what you love or appreciate about them the most. Try to be as detailed as possible so the resident has more to read when you’re not around and they’re feeling lonely.

3. Share your favourite memories

Grab a notebook and ask all your friends and family members to write down their favorite memory with the resident. Bring this notebook along with you when you visit so you can go over these special memories with the resident. If the resident is a little older, this can be a great exercise to help jog their memory and to remind them of special moments or details they might’ve forgotten about. Let the resident keep the notebook with them as a reminder of all the precious moments you’ve spent together.

4. Tour of the residence

If mobility isn’t an issue for the resident, you can ask them to give you a tour of the residence and their living space. Allowing the resident to lead a “tour” can be fun and exciting for them, and they’ll love the idea of getting to show you around. During this “tour,” make sure you’re actively present in the experience and ask a lot of questions to show the resident you’re interested in what’s going on and want to be involved in their life.

5. Picnic

If the weather is nice, set up a cute outdoor picnic for you and your loved one. But be sure to check with the residence first to see if there are any specific policies in place when it comes to bringing in outside food or leaving the residence. If the residence permits bringing your own food, try to grab some of the resident’s favorite foods or even something that they love to eat but isn’t typically served at the residence. When preparing for a picnic together, make sure to bring a sheet for the resident to sit on and choose a spot that has plenty of shade. Most importantly, bring enough water to ensure your loved one keeps hydrated. Also, try to set up the picnic somewhere close to the residence so your loved one doesn’t have to walk for too long. 

Team Member Spotlight: Aviya Kohn, Kitchen & Nutritional Care Manager

In the heart of Moncton, New Brunswick, Omni is dedicated to providing exceptional care and services to its residents. One important aspect of this commitment is ensuring that residents not only receive the care they need but also enjoy delicious and nutritious meals. We recently sat down with Omni’s Kitchen Manager and Nutritional Care Manager, Aviya Kohn, to gain insight into her role and the remarkable transformations she’s brought to the dining experience.

From revamping menus to overseeing multiple kitchens, this interview sheds light on how Aviya has turned the dining experience into something residents eagerly anticipate each day.

Q: What does your role look like day-to-day?

A: I began working at Omni last December as the Kitchen Manager and Nutritional Care Manager at our Moncton location, where we serve over 200 residents with varying levels of care needs. My daily responsibilities involve ensuring the satisfaction of our residents by providing them with the right food, following the menu, and managing our budget. In June, I was promoted to oversee all of our kitchens in New Brunswick, which includes two more kitchens in Moncton and two in Dieppe. This expanded role encompasses managing the kitchen staff, ensuring menu consistency across all locations, and delivering delicious, nutritious meals. I also conduct staff meetings every three weeks, meet with residents every other week, and engage in daily conversations with family members in the dining room to maintain a high standard of quality and service.

Q: Tell me about your engagement with residents and the feedback and input they provide.

A: Engaging with our residents is a unique challenge because they all come from different backgrounds and have diverse preferences. We strive to create a menu that caters to as many residents as possible. Recently, we introduced an à la carte menu, which offers six daily choices on top of our regular menu, providing residents with eight options. This flexibility ensures that everyone can choose meals they truly enjoy, and the positive feedback we receive is a testament to our success in this regard.

Q: What has been your most significant accomplishment so far?

A: When I first joined, I had to build everything from the ground up, including recipes, menu planning, budgeting, and staff training. I even hired new staff and brought them up-to-speed. Establishing a cohesive system and seeing it run smoothly from the beginning has been a significant achievement.

Q: What inspires and motivates you in your role every day?

A: What motivates me most is the satisfaction and appreciation of the residents. When I hear them express their gratitude with smiles and kind words about the food, it truly makes my day. Positive feedback like “It was a great lunch” or “We love the food” is all I need to keep going.

Q: What kind of resources do you leverage at Omni?

A: At Omni, we have a strong sense of collaboration and effective communication. Whenever a problem or issue arises, we come together as a team to find solutions. This collaborative environment has been invaluable, and I appreciate the support and resources available to address any challenges that may arise.

Q: What would you say is the most unique part about working with Omni?

A: First and foremost, Omni is a huge company, but what makes it special is the sense of unity and teamwork among its employees. We all work together to achieve our goals, and that collective effort creates a unique and positive work environment.

Q: How have you grown professionally at Omni?

A: I initially started as the Nutritional Care Manager in Moncton, overseeing one kitchen. After six months, I was promoted to manage all of our kitchens in New Brunswick. This promotion allowed me to align all the kitchens, ensuring uniform processes, guidelines, and staff training across locations. It has been a significant professional growth opportunity.

Q: How do you manage overseeing several homes?

A: To effectively oversee multiple homes, I make an effort to be present as much as possible. I engage with residents in the dining room and their rooms, promptly address any concerns, and hold resident meetings every other month. I encourage residents and staff to communicate with me directly if they have any issues or feedback. This constant interaction helps ensure that everything runs smoothly and meets our high standards.

Q: How would you describe your experience at Omni to your friends and family?

A: My friends and family, even those outside of Canada, all want to work at Omni after hearing about my experience. I share with them the positive work atmosphere, the commitment to quality, and the sense of fulfillment that comes from making residents happy.

Q: What are some of your favourite meals or dishes, and how does your personal approach to food influence your work?

A: I believe that everyone appreciates homemade food, so we strive to make everything from scratch, even if it requires more time and training. This commitment to quality and freshness in our menus is essential for the health and satisfaction of our residents.

Learn more about how Omni supports its residents’ diet and nutritional needs.

How to stay active at a long-term care or retirement living home

Staying active through every step of life is a great way to maintain the best possible mental and physical health. When you live in a long-term care or retirement living home, staying active can look different for everyone. No matter how you approach physical activity, it is important to prioritize it. Staying active can impact your mental health, maintain weight, reduce your health risks, keep bones and muscles strong, and improve or maintain your ability to do everyday activities.

When you make staying active part of your everyday life in a long-term care or retirement residence, you’ll understand its impact on your mental and physical wellbeing instantly. Regular physical activity is known to improve memory and reduce risk of anxiety and depression. These traits of mental and physical wellbeing will have a domino effect in the overall enjoyment of this chapter of your life. Transitioning into a long-term care or retirement residence can come with its challenges as life’s big changes affect your habits and hobbies, but don’t let it stop you from finding some joyful movement in this new space!

Some may find it challenging to stay active due to social, physical, or educational limitations. When you’re adjusting to a new change in life, like a new home, surroundings, or way of living, it can be difficult to maintain motivation to keep moving. Not to mention, everyone has a different ability and intention when it comes to staying active, and finding the right movement that works best for you and your lifestyle can take some time and trial.

There are many different forms of physical activity that you can explore while living in a long-term care or retirement residence. We have seen residents flourish in their friendships and physical activity within our homes at Omni — here are some of the most recommended and successful ways to stay active:

Lots of walking

Walking is one of the best ways to fit in daily exercise without overdoing it. Especially if the weather is good enough to get outside, it can do wonders for your physical and mental health to get some fresh air and some steps in each day. Some folks prefer to walk inside when concerned with potential walking hazards. We often see residents creating schedules with their friends, family, or neighbours to go for walks together. Not only is this a great way to stay accountable to your movement, but it can also act as a great way to stay social, see new sights, and enjoy nature!

Staying social

Socializing is an important aspect of every human life, and it can motivate physical activity in small but mighty ways. Not only is it proven to help with mental stimulation, which in turn will help you with your overall motivation and longevity of health, but it is also a wonderful tool to stay accountable and excited about movement. You can learn different ways of staying active from your friends and family, especially from other residents within your long-term care or retirement residence, and share your tips and tricks with them, too.

Events and activities

Events and activities are one of the many perks of long-term care and retirement residences. There is dedicated staff that curates unique and friendly experiences for residents to get outside of their homes, socialize, and often move around. Events can be weekly, monthly, or one-off experiences that encourage residents to try new things, touching on the importance of maintaining a socializing schedule while introducing fun into the mix. Most long-term care and retirement residences are keenly aware of the importance for consistent movement and physical activities for their residents, and therefore maintain a diverse and fun-filled activity schedule to allow residents to access group classes and exercises. Often modified for varying mobilities and accessibility, these workout options provide a supported and safe environment to get in some movement. Some folks find it easier to get active with a group of people that you feel comfortable around, such as your neighbors and friends within the residence.

Any type of movement is good movement, as long as you’re staying safe and having fun while doing it. When you live in a long-term care or retirement residence, maintaining an active lifestyle will impact your overall health and quality of life while you explore this new chapter. If you’re curious about activities and recreational programs at Omni, contact us for more information.

What to consider when planning an outdoor excursion with a loved one

As friends and family members of residents in long-term care or retirement living, it is important to consider how you can take part in their lives in new and exciting ways. Excursions outside are encouraged to give residents an exciting opportunity to see or learn something new and socialize outside of usual circles. These trips outside can be incredibly fulfilling and revitalizing for residents and should be a priority for those who are able to do so.

Be sure to check in with us for rules and regulations before planning and going out on your day trips. Sometimes, key details such as visiting hours, procedures, medication schedules, and other factors can influence what kinds of excursions are possible. If you are planning to visit your loved one and take them out for a casual excursion outside of the residence, here are some key considerations to make the best of your day out:

What does your loved one want to do?

The first thing to consider when planning an out of residence excursion is how your loved one is feeling. Take their preferences, interests, and hobbies into account when planning your itinerary for the day. If you can, involve them in the planning process! They might have ideas or feel excited to be a part of the process.

This consideration also allows for the resident to set expectations for the day, including how far they are comfortable going, how long they want to stay out for, and if there’s anything they might be apprehensive about. At the end of the day, the goal is to have a safe, fun, and successful trip no matter how big or small. Setting expectations for an excursion means that everyone can make the most of it and have their wants and needs met in the process – plus planning together is like a whole other fun activity in itself!

Is it accessible?

Another integral consideration when planning a trip, is to take accessibility into account. Even if it doesn’t include physical exertion, limitations in physical mobility might dictate where you can and can’t go. Think about the transportation aspects of the trip, whether it will be a busy route or if a wheelchair will be needed, and how close the excursion is to the residence and what that long car ride might look like for different passengers. And finally, don’t forget about the weather! Especially in Canada, seasonal weather can seriously impede accessibility for those using mobility devices such as canes, walkers, or wheelchairs. Be sure to take the weather into consideration and have back up plans for if mother nature changes her mind last minute.

Prepare for a fun day

Be prepared enough that you can have fun no matter what. When planning an outdoor excursion with a loved one, there may be certain physical or emotional limitations to be conscious of. For example, if you are planning an activity that requires physical exertion or being outside in the heat for extended periods of time, pack a bag with lots of water, snacks, sunscreen, and an extra layer of clothing. If you can, bring extra of everything you need, just in case something happens, and your plans get extended (you don’t want to get hangry or too hot).

Being prepared with a backup plan, a travel plan, an extra set of hands, or even just an acceptance that the plans might have to change throughout the day will set you up for a successful trip.

When you take a loved one who lives in a long-term care or retirement residence on an out-of-home excursion, you are showing just how much you care about spending quality time and being a part of their fulfilled life. It gives you the opportunity to connect over new experiences and share precious time together, making lasting memories with the people that you love.

For more information about Omni’s Rules and regulations regarding visitors and resident excursions, please connect in with us directly so we can help make your experiences safe, fun and interactive.

Caregivers: How to Ease a Loved One’s Transition to Care

Moving from one place to another can be stressful, though it’s especially difficult when this life event also coincides with making the transition from independent living to long-term care or retirement living. More specifically, it’s not uncommon for new residents to experience a range of emotions, such as hopelessness, isolation, or even a sense of mourning. Here are some tips and examples for how to help ease the transition to care for a friend or family member:

Be patient

It’s normal for someone who’s making the transition to long-term care and retirement living to feel a little emotional about the situation. Moreover, they might also have trouble articulating what they’re experiencing. As a caregiver or supporter, it’s important to give them space to process these feelings internally. That said, it’s a good idea to sit down with them to address any specific concerns they might have. Try to lead all these conversations with a lot of patience, empathy, and compassion. Acknowledge that their feelings are valid and ask very specific questions to identify what some of their reservations might be.  

Create familiarity

Going from living independently to receiving long-term care or retirement living comes with a lot of immediate changes to one’s lifestyle, which can potentially impact mental health. Keep in mind, new residents are not only downsizing their living space and personal belongings, but also leaving a place where they’ve spent years of their life building and creating memories.

To help create more familiarity and help ease the transition, you can reuse or recreate the same furniture, art, or even paint colours to make a new space feel like their past home. When it comes to getting rid of any old belongings before moving, try to give your loved one some freedom in the decision-making process so they can feel in control of the situation.

Be involved

Being more involved in the process can help reshape a resident’s experience. Get to know the staff at the residence, as well as other members within the community like residents and volunteers. Be sure to also get familiar with the residence itself, in terms of its rules and regulations. With full awareness of how the home operates, you can easily relay this information to your loved one and answer any questions they might have. Moreover, it relieves your loved one from feeling like they’re burdened by the need to “learn” about their new home.

Figure out what to expect

After identifying some of the immediate lifestyle changes that can be expected with this new living arrangement, go over this information with your loved one in a way that doesn’t feel too overwhelming. Even something as simple as explaining what their new day-to-day might look like, or what friendly faces they’ll see at the residence can make a huge difference in making them feel more at ease.

While going over what to expect, it’s a good idea to reframe this narrative into something positive. For example, talk about all the new and exciting things that your loved one can look forward to, like getting to meet new people and connecting with others who might share the same experiences. 

Provide reassurance

It’s completely normal for new residents to feel a sense of loss, sadness, or hopelessness. Remember, they’re not only trying to adjust to moving from one place to another but might also be trying to reconcile negative feelings associated with a decline in their health or losing the ability to take care of themselves.  

When reframing this situation in a positive light, it’s important not to overdo it. Being overly performative can be especially off-putting for someone who’s already not feeling great about the situation. Instead, acknowledge that their feelings are valid, reassure them that you’re in this together, and give them some space to grieve. This can be as simple as saying, “you’re right, this is hard.”

You’re not alone

Supporting a loved one through their transition to care isn’t easy. However, walking into this with an open mind and putting in the effort to learn more about what to expect can make a huge difference on how smooth the transition goes. Have any questions for us? We’re here to help. Contact us for more information about one of our residences.

Springdale Country Manor: Get to Know Our Residents

Community is always at the heart of Omni. Our passion is people. We love sharing special moments with our residents where we get to learn more about them and create new memories together. During one of the most recent activities held at all our residences, we asked our residents at Springdale Country Manor to share their favorite childhood memory with us, and this is what some of them had to say:

“Waiting for my father to come home from work because he was a lot of fun and would spend time playing with us kids. He built us houses to play on and also made the furniture to go in them.” – Marie Swan

“Going to my Grandma’s and baking. She loved baking pies! She would take us to church on Sunday.” – Monica Craig

“My mom was always cooking in the kitchen and I loved to watch her. Every morning she made me porridge before school and it started my day off right. I loved porridge then… I still love it!”
– Carol Dauncey

“In the 40s, my mother, father, and brother when my dad was off, we’d go on a trip and go anywhere there was good trout fishing. We would set up our little trailer and we’d spend the night. I’d bunk with my mom and my brother would bunk with my dad. We had a lot of fun.”
– Better Hulsman

“My dad made us homemade skis. We would use them to travel farm property and we would wear them to and from school, 1 mile each way.”
– Leo Wannamaker

“Got a pair of roller skates with key and could not skate on them, crying. Daddy came home in business attire. Held me up till I learned.” – Marylyn Our

Sharing old memories and creating new ones together

We’re so grateful to our residents for allowing us to be a part of their life journey and it brightens up our day when we get to learn something new about them. Every one of our residents has so much wisdom and experience to share with us, and we cherish all the special moments we get to spend together. To learn more about Springdale Country Manor or any of our other residences, please visit: www.omniqualityliving.ca.  

Caregivers: How to get involved in a loved one’s stay at a long-term care or retirement living home

Maintaining a close connection to a friend or family member living at a long-term care or retirement living home is important. Getting involved in their experience makes a huge impact on enriching their time at the residence and there are a lot of different ways to get started, like visiting more often or volunteering at the residence. Here are a few simple ways to get involved in your loved one’s long-term care or retirement living experience:

Do your research

Start off by learning more about the residence your loved one is staying at. Doing your research is the best way to get started because knowing more about the residence will help you get a better sense of what rules or restrictions are in place, such as visiting hours, whether it’s permitted to bring in outside food, or how to leave the residence. A great place to start is taking a closer look at what type of care or services are provided, amenities, and what social activities or events to expect on the residence’s social calendar.

Also, it’s a good idea to sit down and chat with your loved one about how they’d like to see you get involved or what you can do to make the transition easier for them. Figure out what the resident is most concerned about and do your research to understand what options are available to help make them feel more at ease. For example, if the resident is feeling a little uneasy about socializing with others when you’re not around, you can try to accommodate these feelings by visiting more often, participating more frequently at events, or facilitating introductions with other residents or staff members to help them feel more comfortable.

Visit more often

For residents, having a support system in and outside of the residence can help uplift them and contribute to a stronger sense of belonging. Although there are plenty of opportunities within a long-term care or retirement living home to develop genuine connections with others, it’s still important for residents to feel connected to friends and family members outside of the residence. Otherwise, they could feel like they’re missing out or like they’ve been forgotten. To avoid this, try to create a routine out of visiting more often and staying for longer periods of time — especially when a resident is early on in their transition. Visiting more often will help create more comfort and stability for a resident, whether it’s a quick visit to drop off a coffee, or a weekly visit for a catch-up session, showing up more often and making your loved one feel like a priority will make a positive impact on their experience.

Plan activities for your visit

This is where the real fun begins! On the same concept of visiting more often and staying for longer periods, try to come up with more activities for your visit so you can spend more quality time together. You can get creative with your visits, but keep in mind that a fun activity doesn’t always have to be something grand. That said, you may even ask your loved one what type of activities they prefer so you can plan ahead for your visit and give them something exciting to look forward to. Some examples of simple activities for your visit include boardgames, a mini crafting session, or looking at photos from an album. If mobility allows, you can plan activities that involve a bit more adventure, such as a short drive to a new area of town that can be explored together, a visit to a local coffee shop, or even a short walk or picnic.

Get to know the community

You can expect a huge sense of community from most long-term care or retirement living residences that includes staff members, residents, family members, and volunteers. Getting to know the people within this community can help ease your loved one’s transition to long-term care and retirement living. More specifically, this will make them feel more comfortable socializing with others when you’re not around — especially if they’re shy or don’t like being around unfamiliar faces. Becoming a part of the community will not only help ease this transition, but it’ll also facilitate better communication between you and anyone who’s involved in the care of your loved one.

Volunteer at the residence

The best thing you can do for a loved one in long-term care or retirement living is to be present and actively involved in their experience. Volunteering at our residences is a great way for caregivers to better understand what goes on at the residence while spending more quality time with their loved one. As opposed to visiting the residence more frequently, getting actively involved at the residence as a volunteer gives you the chance to participate in a range of events or activities that you usually wouldn’t be a part of and you can get to know the community much better.  Most importantly, it’s a great way to give back to the community and make a positive impact on the lives of other residents. Contact us for more information on how to get involved at one of our residences or fill out a volunteer form here

Team Member Spotlight: Brittney Sharpe

After more than 10 years working of with Omni in different roles, Frost Manor’s beloved Administrator Brittney Sharpe is well-versed in the life of an Omni team member. Company culture is ingrained in everything Omni does. From the quality care provided to residents, to the community we build around our long-term care and retirement residences, we are consistently focused on making the Omni experience the best that it can be. Without team members like Brittney, we couldn’t do what we do.

Brittney has been part of the incredible community at Omni’s Frost Manor since May of 2012, advancing her career and growing in her integral role as an Omni team member. Prior to employment, she spent time at Frost Manor as a volunteer while in elementary school, stopping by to visit residents and create meaningful connections out of the goodness of her heart. In 2007, she completed her high-school co-op placement in the same residence, which she notes as a pivotal moment in understanding exactly what she wanted to do with her career.

She worked diligently as a Personal Support Worker (PSW) while going to school to become a Registered Nurse (RN) and was then welcomed into a position as an RN at Frost Manor post-graduation. After working on the floor for a few years, she stepped through multiple levels of leadership, first as a Quality Care RN, and then as Director of Care. Soon after, she took the position of Administrator in 2021, working for Omni through the height of COVID-19 and leading the Frost Manor team through trying times with grace and exceptional management.

“What I love most about working at Omni is the endless opportunity to explore your role within the company.” says Brittney, “Omni has put an emphasis on providing opportunities within the company, which has shown me just how much they care for their staff”. As she continued to explore these new opportunities, Brittney was awarded with an Inspired Leader Award in 2019, being recognized for the amazing work and dedication she continued to provide to Omni team members and residents each day. “My favourite part of my role at Omni is that I can be a leader and show others within the company that anything is possible. It feels good to know that the work that I do every day helps to provide a better work environment for my team.”

Prior to her tenured employment at Frost Manor, Brittney’s heart was set on changing lives. Her goal in life was to spend her days improving the quality of life for those around her, and she has found a community at Omni that brings out the incredible compassion and care within her in all the best ways. Team members like Brittney are what make Omni possible — enabling us to provide world class, people-first care in each long-term care home and retirement residence through dedicated and educated team members who are focused on making a difference.

To learn more about Omni or how to become a part of our ever-growing team, visit our careers page.

Team Member Spotlight: Neil Macdonald

It is with great pride and joy that we step forward each day at Omni with a people-first mindset. This is what sets the precedent for care within our residences, and what builds a culture of incredible team members and community within them. We work to create a supportive atmosphere that fosters an optimal experience for our residents, families, and team members. Hope, purpose, and belonging in healthcare is the foundation of everything we strive for, and we couldn’t do it without our valued team.

Meet Neil Macdonald, Administrator at Pleasant Meadow Manor and an incredible team member at Omni who spends his days making residents feel at home. We sat down to talk with Neil about his purpose and experience as part of the Omni team.

Q: What does your role look like day-to-day?

A: A day-to-day in my role is overseeing the operation of Pleasant Meadow Manor across all departments. Each day I strive to provide supportive, effective leadership to all employees of the home and ensure that residents of the home receive the high quality of care that they deserve.   

Q: What have been your biggest accomplishments on the team?

A: I am still relatively new to the Administrator role at Pleasant Meadow Manor and our team, but my biggest accomplishment has been leading the team through the redevelopment process. On March 1, 2023, the residents of our home moved from a more than 30-year-old home into a brand-new addition to the home. Our residents now live in the new section while the part we left behind is being renovated. The team has been great at finding successes in our new environment and showing adversity through challenges. 

Q: Who are some of your biggest inspirations within the company? 

A: I have had the privilege of having a few mentors throughout my career with Omni Quality Living. The team at Home Office have always been very supportive and provided a lot of opportunity to myself and so many others in the company. I have worked at various other homes during my career, and I always find each team provides their own unique inspiration towards proving quality care for the residents of the home. I have been a part of many inspiring teams here.  

Q: What kinds of resources have you taken advantage of while at Omni? 

A: Omni Quality Living provides incredible resources, such as ongoing education within the company. Along with in-house education, I have also been able to utilize the Omni bursary program for continuing education on several occasions. This resource really helped me propel my career and further enhance my ability to contribute to the residents of the homes I have worked in.   

Q: What’s the most unique part about working here? 

A: A unique part about working for Omni is the way that people are cared for in the company. We expect to provide high quality care for our residents, and we recognize that we need to have caring and compassionate team members to do this. I have received great support and guidance on my journey at Omni and have a lot of fun caring for the residents of the home on that journey. 

Q: How have you grown professionally while at Omni? 

A: I started as a cook at Riverview Manor in Peterborough, ON. I was able to complete education to obtain various diplomas and certificates while working, and then had the opportunity to work as the Nutritional Care Manager at Frost Manor in Lindsay, ON. I was able to assist throughout the years at Springdale Country Manor and Willows Estates as well. Through mentorship early on in my career with Omni, I had the goal of becoming an Administrator one day, and when the moment presented itself, I was very appreciative to take on the new role.  

With love and support, Omni captures an appreciation for individuals and their life stories, both in the residents that we care for each day and the team members that make it possible. When we strike the perfect balance of understanding and support, we are truly fulfilling our vision of using our hearts and our minds to bring hope and humanity to long-term care, retirement homes, and health care.

“I used to think my career achievement was unique, but when talking to many individuals at Omni I have realized how strong the culture of promoting from within and providing opportunity to staff at all levels is” says Neil. “There are so many professional development stories in every Omni home, it is quite amazing.” 

To learn more about Omni or how to become a part of our ever-growing team, visit our Careers page.

How is a long-term care residence different from a retirement residence?

Making the decision to seek care isn’t always easy. However, learning more about the process can help simplify the transition for you or a loved one is a great first step. Omni is more than happy to help guide you through this process. Please contact one of our residences to learn more about our services. Below, we’ve addressed a question we receive often in the industry.

How is a long-term care residence different from a retirement residence?

Good question. Not only are long-term care residences and retirement residences different from each other, but their differences vary between provinces. Understanding the differences can help you and your loved ones make informed decisions for these next steps in life. These differentiations range from small day-to-day details to big life decisions, like financial or health needs, but there are some integral differences that can help you understand what might work best for you:

“Long-term care” is legally defined

Long-term care is a legally defined term. In Ontario, long-term care residences are licensed, monitored, and regulated by the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care. This definition is important, because it means that you can always rely on provincial regulations to set a precedent for the standard and type of care that you will receive when in a long-term care home.

Public vs. Private

Retirement residences are privately run organizations, while long-term care residences are often public. In private retirement residences, less extensive regulations mean that a wider range of lifestyles can be catered to.

Type of Care

Those who choose a retirement residence over long-term care may often require less assistance and supportive measures, such as 3 meal a day service, daily laundry, housekeeping, 24-hour nursing care, or assistance with activities of daily living. Long-term care residences typically provide more extensive nursing, personal care, and rehabilitation services than retirement residences.

At Omni, our long-term care residences are upheld to the highest standard of provincially regulated care while simultaneouslyattaining a “retirement residence” feeling in the development of programming and personal satisfaction of our residents. Omni’s New Brunswick residences offer a range of different levels of care from Independent Living (L1), Assisted Living (L2), and Memory Care (L3B). With the opportunity to progress through these care styles under the same residence, one can move from independence to assistance easily. This provides stability and familiarity, knowing that each resident will have dedicated staff and commitment to their care plans as life changes.

Focusing on care at our core, our team provides specialized care plans to each one of our residents. This care extends beyond the health of our residents but encourages their fulfilment and happiness as a core pillar of health. This means that Omni long-term care residences include nutritional care, entertainment, and activities, keeping residents engaged and upholding high quality living.

The differences between long-term care residences and retirement residences are in the details — but those details are considerable when you are choosing your path to senior living regardless. We believe that knowledge is power, and we love sharing ours. Whether you’re just starting your research on the future of your resident journey or you’re in the final stages of making this decision, know that at Omni, you are supported in kindness and care every step of the way.

For more information about our residences, visit our residences page.

Choosing a Power of Attorney

Choosing a power of attorney comes with a lot of care and responsibility. If something were to happen to you, such as an illness or accident that changes your capacity or ability to make financial or health care decisions for yourself, appointing a power of attorney ensures that your best interests will still be considered. Regardless of your financial situation, health status, or age, you could be considering a power of attorney for many reasons.

A power of attorney is a legal document that gives someone you trust the right to make financial or health care decisions for you (Ontario.ca). This trusted person does not have to be a lawyer, but can also be a family member, spouse, or good friend. In Canada, there are two types of powers of attorney: personal care and property. Personal care powers of attorney can make decisions about your health care, housing, and other aspects of your personal life such as day-to-day tasks, meals, and choices. Without a personal care attorney, family members will have some capability to make decisions, but not all. Property powers of attorney can make decisions about your financial affairs, such as paying your bills, maintaining or selling your house, or managing your investments. Without this in place, family and spouses cannot automatically make decisions for you, and may have to involve lawyers to become a court-appointed guardian.

Making the choices about your power of attorney early can take a lot of stress off your eventual plate for if and when you are in need of this important paperwork. Taking the time to consider the varying aspects of this choice is the recommended way to start the process. What type of power of attorney will suit your needs best? When would you like your power of attorney to start? How many powers of attorney would you like to appoint? Each of these answers can be discussed with your trusted close relationships and/or a lawyer, and will help kickstart the process of finalizing the legally binding documents.

The next step is to discuss with the person(s) you have chosen to make decisions on your behalf should you be incapable of doing so. Consider naming an alternate power of attorney in case your first appointed person(s) can no longer act on your behalf.

Keep in mind that the nuances and specifics of rules, regulations, and processes when appointing a power of attorney will vary between provinces. As Omni operates both in Ontario and New Brunswick, we encourage you to be mindful of these differences, and seek legal help if you are unclear about your provincial regulations. Choosing a power of attorney does not have to be a scary feat. With the right support and intentions, setting up your power of attorney can relieve some worries about your future and let you focus on the more exciting and joyful parts of life. If you have any questions for the Omni team, please send them to us here.

Summer activities to enjoy with other residents

Canadian summers are short and sweet, but they’re also full of sunshine. We wait all year for the good weather to show up, and it feels lovely to soak up some sun before the snow comes again. That said, being conscious of the heat and its limitations while taking the right precautions to stay cool is critical to staying safe this summer.

Spending time outdoors can provide physical and emotional benefits. More specifically, getting a healthy dose of vitamin D from the sun can help boost your energy levels and serotonin, which will keep you happier and healthier throughout the warmer months. Furthermore, participating in more summer activities with other long-term care or retirement residents is a great way to connect with one another.

Here’s a list of fun summer activities for residents to get outside and stay connected during the warmer months:

Go for a walk

Walking is a wonderful form of low impact exercise that is safe and sustainable for most people. Not to mention, it’s one of those activities that you can enjoy either on your own or with many others. The next time you’re thinking about heading out for a walk, invite a friend, family member, or even your neighbor to take a stroll with you. Better yet, ask other residents if they’re open to making this a regular thing and creating a weekly routine out of it. Share stories, stroll quietly, or chat about life while soaking up the sunshine together.

Yoga or meditation

Yoga and meditation are great ways to get some fresh air while practicing mindfulness. Participating in this form of activity with other residents can be a really fun shared experience and it’s a great opportunity to form stronger connections with one another.

Picnic

When it’s nice out, picnics make for the perfect last-minute activity for just about anyone. So the next time you’re having trouble coming up with a fun outdoor activity, consider taking advantage of the nearby good company of other residents and the beautiful weather and move your mealtime outside together.

Gardening

Connecting with nature can be good for the soul, and doing so with family or friends is even better. Find a buddy to grow some plants with you and watch the fruits of your labour grow for the remainder of the warm summer months. That said, if there are any physical limitations that might be preventing you from performing some of these tasks, it can be just as enjoyable to find a nearby garden where you can sit and admire the great outdoors.

Tabletop Activities

Anything that can be done around a dinner table can be moved outside! Bring out your board games, puzzles, arts and crafts, trivia, and soak up the sunshine while enjoying the company of other residents. This is a great idea for anyone who’s looking for some light-hearted entertainment that isn’t too strenuous. And if everyone’s up for it, you might even want to schedule weekly board game sessions with other residents, which you can move outside in the summer and keep them going on indoors during the winter.

Group Hang Out

Remember, you don’t need to have something major planned out to have some fun this summer. Good company always makes for a good time. Not to mention, you can always organize a group hangout with other residents and invite your loved ones from outside of the residence to join.

Whatever your plans are this summer, we hope that it is filled with a lot of love and sunshine. The nice weather brings many new opportunities to connect with other residents — and together, you can experience all that your long-term care or retirement home has to offer.

To learn more about Omni’s social calendar or Life Enrichment Programs, contact us or learn more about our Life Enrichment Programs.

The benefits of volunteering with us

At Omni, compassion and respect is at the core of what we do and we’re so proud to say we’ve built a team of dedicated professionals who embody these values and uphold this commitment in their daily work. But of course, none of this would be possible without our amazing team of volunteers, who are always here to support us in all areas to ensure we deliver the best care to our residents.

Ultimately, volunteering at a residence is an exceptionally rewarding experience that provides joy and fulfillment. Here are some of the benefits of volunteering with us:

Make a positive impact on residents’ lives

Working at Omni gives you the chance to work closely with many different residents and throughout the duration of your volunteer cycle, you’ll find many different opportunities to really make a positive impact. From helping a residence organize fun events to bonding over activities and sharing great conversations through daily interactions, volunteers play a huge role in uplifting residents and enriching their overall experience here. Without a doubt, you’ll find a lot of purpose and meaningfulness in volunteering at a long-term care or retirement residence, but often, the residents also leave a beautiful imprint on you.

Form new friendships

What’s great about volunteering at a residence is that it puts you in the presence of many other like-minded individuals who are equally passionate about caring for others and making a positive impact in their community. As a volunteer, you’ll get to meet a very dynamic group of people and residents who come from all walks of life. Ultimately, volunteering is a great way to meet new people and expand your network. Not only that, the experience itself will present plenty of opportunities to forge deeper connections with other members in the community, such as residents, team members, and other volunteers.

Gain real-life work experience

When volunteering with us, you’ll find many different opportunities to learn, while developing new skills on a personal and professional level. The role of a volunteer is quite diverse, and responsibilities can range from coordinating events to providing supervision for an outdoor excursion. While supporting the daily operations of a residence, you can expect to develop a good combination of hard and soft skills that are transferrable to various job industries. Through volunteering, some of the skills you can expect to learn include organizational skills, problem-solving, patience, and collaboration.

Learn more about other people’s experiences

As you spend more time with our residents, you’ll find that they all have incredible stories, experiences, and wisdom to share. And as you develop deeper connections with one another, you can expect to see an internal shift in perspective — one that’s full of compassion, gratitude, and patience.

Volunteer with us! Wherever you are, becoming a volunteer is an exceptional experience that can help you learn and grow as a person. In essence, getting more involved in the community is a great way to meet new people and expand your skillset while contributing to the betterment of society. But if you asked us what’s the best part of it all? Our team members and volunteers would say it’s the fact that they get to make a positive impact on the lives of residents daily. Interested in volunteering at Omni? Contact us for more information about how to become a volunteer here.