Festivals part of therapeutic programs

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Festivals part of therapeutic programs

Four special festivals mark the year at ProTem Health Services Inc. residences as part of our therapeutic programming to bring the outdoors to life for our residents. They include:

Tulip Festival – With approximately 2,000 tulip bulbs blooming each spring, our residents enjoy a riot of colour at the start of the season and often make their first trip for a few weeks into the fresh air and sunshine to enjoy a change of scenery after our normally long winters.

Garden Parties – We bring the residents of all five homes together and enjoy a different garden, play games, walk, socialize, and have a snack. The staff select a theme and work as a team to deliver a garden party that is fun and therapeutic for residents. These are done regularly, usually about three for each home each summer.

Scarecrow Festival – This event runs for three weeks from late September to mid-October when the colours start to fade in our garden. We bring back the colour with scarecrows made by staff and residents. They are enhanced with hay, pumpkins, and colorful mums for about 20 different displays featuring up to 60 different scarecrows. This gives our residents yet another reason to get outdoors and walk. This project has achieved considered local attention and has been featured in the newspaper.

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Festival of Lights – From late November to late February, our back yards are lit up with Christmas lights. This gives residents something to enjoy from the kitchen window, rather than looking out into the dark. Residents can also walk outside with staff and enjoy the lights.

Specific Programs
Being outdoors in the fresh air and sunshine is beneficial to our residents and for that reason, when the weather is nice, we plan our main activity for the day outside in our large, landscaped and fenced in property.

Our main daily activity can range from playing cards to walking in the gardens or house to sitting on patios, reading stories, playing music, or socializing, as examples.

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Some of our specific programs include:

Music – Scientific studies show that music is one of the best means of reaching seniors living with Alzheimers and other Demetias. We have visiting musicians. At least two of the three staff stay with the residents during this activity so the residents can be drawn into the activity, sometimes even getting up and dancing with the staff. Many of our staffers can also provide musical therapy, singing, playing guitar or piano. Therapeutic music plays during meals. Each home is provided with specific CDs (classical guitar, piano, jazz) to provide a soothing background for meals which has considerably limited agitation among residents.

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Pet Therapy –In one home, we allowed a resident to bring her well-trained small dog or “baby” as she calls it. The dog was very well-trained which made the transition easy for him. Accepting this dog in her living environment has allowed this resident to be much happier. We allow staff and families to bring their pets in and one current night staff brings her small dog for every shift and makes a point of having it greet every resident.

Art – We have an art therapist who visits weekly. As with the musicians, our front-line staff are there to assist this therapist. Our staff often have craft projects as their main activity.

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Exercise – Our formal exercise program is titled “walk-and-roll.” This is a friendly competition between our five homes to get the residents moving indoors and outdoors for a pleasure walk every day if possible. Results of each walk are recorded and are tallied at the end of the month.

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And more – We have an intergenerational visiting program with a nearby daycare and the children come in at least once a month in each home. We have a pastoral visitation program and spa services (no charge). We also have a professional hairdresser. Our staff also has binders of projects from which to select to meet the individual needs and interests of each resident.


As in any home, our kitchen is always open.
We are very flexible with our meals at ProTem. For example, breakfast is whenever the resident wakes up.
If a resident is late for breakfast, their lunch will be later in the day or they can skip it if they wish.
Lunch is served at 12 noon and dinner is at 5 p.m., and this can also be adjusted depending on resident needs.
Residents can eat at separate times and/or locations if they want to or if their behaviour requires it.
We place a strong emphasis on providing wholesome, natural foods.

As well, our specially-trained nutrition consultant helps us create a four-week rotating menu of home-cooked meals that meet Canada’s Food Guide and the needs of our seniors.

Because our homes are small, it is easy to know each residents likes and dislikes, portion size, time required to eat and other personal dietary habits.

We offer individual meal plans to accommodate residents with food allergies and chronic disease such as celiac, diabetes, lactose intolerance, diverticulosis and swallowing impairments associated with strokes or other neurological disorders such as Parkinson’s.

There are nutritious snacks available mid-afternoon and in the evening. If a resident is hungry at night, they can eat as well.

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My Mom was diagnosed with dementia in 2011 and we had to locate a nursing home that could meet our Mom’s and family’s needs. We were living 1,400 kilometres away and we had some big concerns.

We did a considerable amount of research on how to pick a nursing home, visited many and then I asked a family friend who is a pharmacist what he would do. He told us about a place called ProTem Health Services. So we scheduled a visit.

ProTem has an amazing concept for caring for residents who have dementia and Alzheimer’s. You walk in the home and are greeted by a happy and engaging staff. The house is bright and clean. The kitchen is the centre of activities that looks onto a beautiful patio. Residents are taken outside for walks and activities frequently. In the summertime they have garden parties with engaging activities and games (and delicious snacks too). Residents are encouraged to engage in activities (and there are many) that interest them.

Living so far away, we really never know exactly when we would get to visit Mom at ProTem. More often that not we would arrive unannounced. She and the other residents always looked lovely.

The residents would be engaged in various activities. There was always conversation and laughter in this home environment.

I would call often and speak with the staff and they would tell me how my mom was and what she was up to. ProTem gave us the security knowing that my mother was in a safe environment and well cared for in the final phase of her life.

We would like to thank Chris and Paulette Wallace and the Ladies at 61 Gorge who showed great compassion and dignity to all their residents.”

Shirley-Anne Miller, Downingtown, PA

My father did not require any emergency visits to the hospital in his three years with ProTem. In the long-term care facilities he resided in prior to yours, when his dementia was not as advanced, he went many times.

John Gillis, Moncton, NB