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AgeCare Walden Heights COVID-19 Weekly Update: Ideas or visiting with your loved one.

Dear Residents and Families,

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.

 

  1. Information and announcements – this week we are sharing an important community update, tips for visiting residents with dementia, along with ideas and suggestions for making the most of your visit with your loved one.
  2. Recreation calendar as the need to stay active, intellectually stimulated, and socially connected never ends.
  3. A weekly shout-out to celebrate the great work and activities happening in our community.

These updates are sent on Friday each week. We hope that you find them helpful. Thank you all for your continued support.

Sincerely,

 

Dawn Marie Mansfield
Director of Care

 

Carol Law
General Manager

 

Community Updates

Contacting AgeCare Walden Heights about Visits

Designated Visitors are encouraged to set up a schedule for visits.  The visits can be reserved by contacting WHconnect@agecare.ca or calling 403-873-4713 between 9-5 pm Monday- Friday. Please note there are only two designated visitors per resident for indoor visits. These are non-transferable designates.

Window or Courtyard Visits can be arranged by Contacting Kerri Firmaniuk at 587-349-6055 or email kfirmaniuk@agecare.ca

Visits Offsite (including Walks) and Appointments– Please call the neighbourhood LPN if no entry into the building is required; otherwise, please refer to the above information regarding the contact information for Designated Visitors, as seen above.

Changes to our Administration Team

Amber McDonald has been with AgeCare Walden Heights for 8 years.  Amber has been a great contributor to the overall success of our community in her various roles, the last being Office Manager.  We want to take the time to thank her and wish her the best with her future endeavors as she continues in her career path. We will be introducing our new Office Manager next week.

Tips on Visiting with Residents Living with Dementia

Residents living with dementia may be unaware of current events and have difficulty understanding why staff and loved ones have to wear Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). They often rely on things like body language and facial expressions to communicate, especially when their language is affected. Since masks cover a portion of your face, they may make visits more challenging.

To help reduce anxiety or confusion for residents living with dementia, and ensure you can communicate more effectively with your loved one, use these helpful tips:

  • Introduce yourself when you arrive since they may not recognize you with your mask on.
  • Allow more time for your loved one to process who you are (this may take approximately 30-40 seconds).
  • Be mindful of your body language, tone of voice, and facial expressions.
    • Use a pleasant tone when speaking and increase your volume
    • Use eye contact and try being more animated with your eyes/eyebrows whenever possible since your full face isn’t visible.
  • Practice safe physical touch to provide added comfort and familiarity.
  • If your loved one has questions about PPE, provide simple answers.
  • When providing emotional support:
    • Validate their feelings (e.g. “I know these masks seem a little odd”)
    • Distract them with a fun, engaging activity
    • Redirect the topic to something less stressful or confusing
  • Ensure you are breathing (it sounds silly, but sometimes we forget!)
  • If you are feeling overwhelmed, take a minute to ground yourself.
  • Don’t forget to laugh or dance! Your happiness will be contagious to your loved one.

The information above is courtesy of the Alzheimers Society of PEEL (Mississauga, Ontario). BSO Acute Care Team (ACT); by Caitlin Reidy, Behaviour Intervention Specialist, April 2020, MH LHIN

Fun Things You Can Do While Visiting

At AgeCare, we understand the important role friends and families play in the overall well-being of residents. While we know these visits look different during the pandemic, we have asked our very creative recreation teams to share some ideas on things you can do during your visits to make them more fun and meaningful.

There were so many suggestions that the AgeCare Communications Department have offered to put together a resource for families to draw from. They will be working on this for the next couple of weeks, but for now, here are a few suggestions for your next visit.

  • Listen to an Audio Book Together: 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.It’s 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.
  • Read a Book or the Newspaper Aloud. Another fantastic activity is reading aloud. It’s a great way to connect and let them know how much you care. And it may spark a great conversation afterward.
  • Break out the Playing Cards and Board Games: Think about the games your family loved growing up, such as Uno, Rummy, Cribbage, Clue, Monopoly, Life, Scrabble, Sorry, Backgammon, or Chess also will work if you’ve played those in the past and both sides know the lingo of the game.
  • Paint on a Canvas: The act of painting can help improve physical/motor skills through small, purposeful movements, and it can help to alleviate pain. Plus, painting is 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 paints, brushes, and 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.

During activities, it’s important to wear your mask, practice hand hygiene, and avoid touching your face, nose and mouth. If bringing items with you, please ensure they are cleaned/sanitized prior.

Do you have any activity suggestions? If so, we would love to share them. Email the AgeCare Communications Department at communications@agecare.ca.

Recreation Calendar

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.

Walden Heights Recreation Calendars – September 2020

Weekly Shout-Out

We wanted to shout to our Resident Families!

We have all experienced many changes in the past few months.  We understand how hard it is not to be able to get in to visit your loved ones. New information was coming out daily, and rules being changed as more was learned about the virus.

We appreciate the trust that you’ve shown in our team as we worked hard to develop new plans, procedures and practices to meet the challenges of keeping our residents, our co-workers, and ourselves safe and healthy.

We know that this is not over yet, and we hope to continue to work with you and our residents to keep AgeCare Walden Heights a safe and happy place for our residents to live.