Dear Resident or Family Member,
We remain committed to providing updates to our residents, families, and staff at AgeCare. We are providing weekly updates to keep you all informed on what is happening in our community and organization-wide.
These updates are sent on Friday each week. We hope that you find them helpful. Thank you all for your continued support.
Dawn Marie Mansfield
Director of Care
2019 Results: Designated Supportive Living Resident and Family Experience Surveys
Today, the Health Quality Council of Alberta (HQCA) released the results of its 2019 survey on the experiences of residents and their family members with the care and services provided at Designated Supportive Living (DSL) sites. These surveys provide a voice for more than 2,800 residents, more than 4,500 family members, and an opportunity for that voice to be shared across the healthcare system.
We want to welcome our new Resident Care Manager Alina Wlostowska-Stach to AgeCare Walden Heights. Alina has been with AgeCare for a number of years at AgeCare Glenmore and more recently at AgeCare SkyPointe. Alina, who is a Registered Nurse, will be responsible to support both of our Long Term Care neighbourhoods Moraine and Waterton located on the 3rd and 4th floor of our Vista building. Alina bring with her a lot of experience and will be a great support to our residents and their families.
Reducing the risk of influenza is particularly important this fall and winter as we simultaneously combat the resurgence of COVID-19 in the greater community. It is important that you are doing all that you can in your day-to-day, especially if you plan to visit you’re loved, to protect yourself. To assist you with this, we have provided some helpful information about influenza.
Influenza (flu) is a respiratory disease caused by a virus that affects the nose, throat and lungs. The flu is contagious and can easily pass from person to person through coughing, sneezing, or having face-to-face contact. The virus can also spread when a person touches tiny droplets on surfaces, from a cough or sneeze, and then touches their eyes, mouth, or nose before washing their hands.
The symptoms of influenza are a fever of 38.5°C (101.3°F) or higher that starts suddenly, sore throat, runny nose, cough, headache, muscle aches, loss of appetite, and feeling tired.
Most people who get sick with the flu get better. However, the flu lowers the body’s ability to fight other infections, putting seniors and those with chronic conditions more at risk of serious illness and even death if they contract the virus.
Because some of the symptoms of flu and COVID-19 are similar, it may be hard to tell the difference based on symptoms alone, and testing may still be needed to help confirm a diagnosis.
View this chart from Alberta Health Services to see the common symptoms of influenza and how they differ from COVID-19 and the common cold.
Music has a universal ability to boost mood, reduce agitation, and increase happiness and engagement. It’s also a wonderful activity to share with your loved one.
When you’re together, play their favourite songs or set up a simple music player so they can listen anytime. If you’re not sure what music they enjoy, ask relatives or bring a selection of songs that came out when they were young and ask which they like most.
If you’re not sure they’re enjoying the music, watch their body language for clues. If they seem agitated, switch to something more soothing, lower the sound, or switch to a different activity.
You could make a playlist of favourite songs and music. Playlist for Life has information about music and dementia, and advice about how and when to listen to it.
Reading is a great way to connect and let them know how much you care without having to make a lot of conversation. It is especially good for loved ones who are bedbound, not very responsive due to an advanced health condition, or those with vision impairments.
Bring one of their favorite books and read a chapter or two each time you visit.
Audiobooks make reading accessible to everyone, including seniors with low vision or limited physical ability. Audiobooks are readily available at local libraries (in both digital and CD format), or you can subscribe to audiobooks such as Audible.
Listening to a book is a fun way to spend time and doesn’t require much energy. And an imaginative story, historical tale, or exciting mystery can transport them to another world.
Bring games your family loved growing up, such as Uno, Rummy, Cribbage, Clue, Monopoly, Life, Scrabble, Sorry, Backgammon, or Chess. Games work well if you have both played it in the past and both sides know the lingo and terms of the game.
Remember these! Seniors likely have a few dozen pictures that could be organized and put into a collection. It gives them a chance to talk about themselves, share stories, and reminisce about positive times.
Looking over old photos or videos is a great way to spend time together and strengthen your bond. You never know what stories or memories your loved one will be inspired to share. Photos are also a great conversation starter.
Additional suggestion: purchase a digital frame, fill it with favourite memories and loved ones and leave with the resident for their enjoyment when you are away.
Puzzles are great as a group activity, keeping both the mind and body busy.
Additional suggestions: order a jigsaw puzzle of your family or special place.
There are companies that specialize in custom puzzles from photographs or perhaps your child’s artwork. If your care recipient is a puzzle lover, you can have a puzzle delivered that contains 2,000 or more pieces. But also available are those with as few as 15 pieces work well for people with dementia or reduced dexterity.
Podcasts, similar to radio programs, are a great way to learn something new or for just the enjoyment of listening to something you are interested in. From education to history, health and comedy, and so much more, there is a podcast for just about any topic but here are a few suggestions to get you started:
The act of painting can help improve physical/motor skills through small, purposeful movements, and it can help to alleviate pain. Painting is also a great way to do something fun and creative together that can double as beautiful artwork for your loved one’s room and remind them of your time spent together.
Gather some acrylic or water paints, brushes, and a mini canvas from the dollar store or local craft store and set-up a mini artist station in your loved one’s room. Spend the afternoon painting the view from the window, or pick a theme and each paint your own interpretation.
Colouring can be very therapeutic and calming. Print themed colouring pages online at www.justcolor.net or purchase drawing pages or books from a local craft store. Using coloured pencils, markers, or crayons, fill in the pages together.
For a complete list of suggested activities, you can do with your loved one, check out our Activities to Do While Visiting Your Loved One Handout
We are happy to share that our recreation calendar is back, and many of our regular recreational activities in the community have resumed. Residents can participate in a variety of engaging activities that enrich the mind, body and spirit, while maintaining appropriate physical distancing.
Each week our Marketing department assists the sites in putting together the weekly Update. They touch base with the sites, monitor what is going on in the communities, and with Alberta Health Services, then assist us in passing on this important information.
Part of what they do is to ensure that we are sharing with our residents, families and team member’s information that is important to know. They make the information easy to read, they are clear on the messaging and they allow us to share news about what is going on.
A part of the challenge we all face is that information is constantly changing as we find out more about COVID-19. As this information changes, we change our practices to keep our residents, families and staff safe. It is through their efforts that we are able to communicate those changes.
Thank you to our Marketing team.