Meadow Park Chatham uses Care Bucks to engage residents and staff in OLTCA's Better Seniors' Care campaign

seven women gather holding up signs that say "care bucks" in front of a binIt's no secret that all of Jarlette Health Service's long-term care homes are actively involved each year in the Ontario Long Term Care Association's campaign for Better Seniors' Care. But Meadow Park Chatham has found a unique way to get residents, staff and the community involved.

"For the past couple of years, our home in Chatham has used a contest to engage staff in the Better Seniors' Care Campaign," explained Lydia Swant, who coordinates resident, family and volunteer services for the home. "We call the incentive "Care Bucks" and our staff have the opportunity to earn care bucks in a number of ways. For example, completing mandatory education or acknowledging a fellow coworker when they go above and beyond - that sort of thing."

a resident attempts to shoot a hockey puck into a netThis year, management decided to add to the ability to earn Care Bucks when staff collected names and addresses to write letters in for the Better Seniors' Care campaign. The Association asked homes, residents, families, staff and the community to get online and write a letter to their MPP demanding that long-term care be a priority in the 2018 Ontario Budget, as well as in the 2018 provincial election. 

a resident attempts to shoot a hockey puck into a netOnce they earned their Care Bucks, staff were able to enter them into a draw for a gift card. They also developed an award for the overall Care Buck Olympian!

"We had an outstanding response!" added Swant. "Our approach was simply to find ways to have fun with the staff and the residents while promoting and educating our community about the current challenges facing the sector and the Better Seniors' Care campaign priorities."

a woman holds up a huge amount of care bucks, fake moneyMeadow Park Chatham staff also worked to incorporate the priorities of the campaign into some themed events throughout the the beginning of 2018. Jarlette Health Services adopted the theme of "Going for Gold for our Seniors" to drive participation in the campaign so, in keeping with the theme, one of the events they hosted was their very own "Olympic mini-stick shoot-off." Staff, along with a resident partner, participated as teams in the shoot-off. 

"It was fun and a great way to engage both residents and staff," said Swant. "We send big congrats to our resident Paula for being our overall Olympics champion!"

In addition to Paula winning the Olympics, staff member Lori-Lynn, won an award for being the overall Care Buck Olympian. Lori-Lynn spent many, many hours collecting names and addressed to submit letters to MPPs for the campaign, and her support is greatly appreciated by both Meadow Park Chatham and the Association.

In photos (top to bottom, left to right): staff show off their Care Bucks campaign; Residents Verna and Evelyn participate in the Olympic shoot-off; Lori-Lynn shows off all her Care Buck "winnings."