Yee Hong Newsletter
John Tcherkezian, Yee Hong’s Occupational Health and Safety Manager, is this year’s CHAIR Leadership Award recipient!
This award recognizes John’s outstanding work and leadership in reducing acquired infections using engineered infection prevention technologies.
Since May 2021, Yee Hong has been working with CHAIR (The Coalition for Community & Healthcare Acquired Infection Reduction) and Lundin Mining to trial an Antimicrobial Copper Project at Finch Centre.
With John’s leadership in this project, we replaced or treated 700 high-touch surfaces in our Finch Centre with solid layer antimicrobial copper. This material has been proven to eliminate up to 99% of harmful bacteria within two hours.
This initiative is a great enhancement to Yee Hong’s vigilant infection prevent and control measures to keep seniors, families and staff safe.
Thank you John for your continued dedication to health and safety, and congratulations again!
By: Bonnie Wong, Director of Home Support Services
May 19th is Personal Support Worker Day. I want to take this opportunity to recognize and celebrate our Home Support Workers (HSWs), all of whom are personal support workers.
Our HSWs work tirelessly to support seniors’ independent living in the community. HSWs provide services 24 hours a day, seven days a week to clients living in five buildings and the surrounding areas. Their care and dedication make a huge difference in the lives of many seniors and their caregivers.
Most of our Home Support Services clients are considered as high-risk and require frequent visits from our HSWs throughout the day. Our HSWs support clients’ activities of daily living to help them remain independent and continue to live in the community.
Each day, our HSWs will go into the homes of different seniors, providing scheduled services such as medication reminders, bathing assistance and mobility support. HSWs also provide unscheduled services, such as security checks and responding to emergencies.
Our HSWs are truly the hidden backbone of our Home Support Services. Without their care, many of our clients would not be able to live in their own homes on their own terms. Thank you, team!
Career paths in seniors’ services are vast and varied. There are many roles and professions we often do not think about. Construction is one example. Although her educational background is in architecture, Roberta Lau found the perfect fit for herself at Yee Hong as Director of Capital Projects.
In her role, Roberta supports our Facility Managers and Executive Directors in renovations and maintenance projects across our four Centres and Garden Terrace. Working with a team of consultants and Yee Hong colleagues, Roberta also plays a key role in advancing our new Finch II long-term care build. From getting government approvals, to meeting with stakeholders, to choosing the right type of toilet paper holders, Roberta does a lot behind the scenes to move the project along.
Although Roberta’s work can be challenging at times, the satisfaction of knowing she played a role in adding 224 beds and the fifth long-term care site to Yee Hong keeps her motivated.
“The work I do is truly coming from my heart because I grew up knowing about Yee Hong and our great reputation for culturally appropriate care. There is a lot of value in the services Yee Hong brings to the community, particularly the Asian community, and I am proud I can help alleviate some of our long waitlists through my work.”
This April, Roberta celebrates her one-year anniversary as a Yee Hong family member. However, her connection to long-term care dates back to her university years. During her studies, Roberta’s grandfather was admitted to a long-term care home. The facility did not feel home-like, and her grandfather had a difficult time adjusting to his new residence.
“I thought a lot could be done to improve the physical environment in long-term care homes. After all, this is a place many seniors called home. Everyone deserves to live in an environment that is comfortable, uplifting and warm,” Roberta recalls. Her grandfather’s experience inspired Roberta to design a long-term care for her final year thesis project.
At the same time, the provincial government was rolling out a long-term care redevelopment project. Roberta’s thesis project caught their attention and she was hired to support the redevelopment project with the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care, thus starting her career in healthcare. Since then, Roberta has worked in government, consulting, and hospital, but feels her career has come full circle now that she is back in long-term care with Yee Hong.
Roberta is happy to share that the Finch II project is moving according to schedule. We’ll have more exciting updates about the project in coming months, so make sure you stay tuned to our newsletter and social media channels!
McNicoll residents are waving goodbye to winter and preparing for a fun-filled spring with friendly faces and exciting events!
On Valentine’s Day, we welcomed back our long-time friends, Bloomy Music Therapy after a break during the pandemic. Their Drum Circle program is still as popular as ever! McNicoll residents drummed to their hearts’ content. We’re thrilled to have Bloomy Music Therapy visit us again every month.
In March, McNicoll residents and staff celebrated International Women’s Day with Hua Feng Yun Art Seniors Group. The talented group demonstrated their artistic range through a mix of live music, Chinese Opera, Tai Chi Sword Movement, and Chinese dance performances.
We look forward to resuming more performances, outings and special fun days this spring and summer. We also plan to bring back our annual sales events to raise funds for music therapy and Drum Circle sessions – stay tuned for updates!
By: Crystal Yang, Finch Centre Social Worker
The Finch Care Team has always been touched by the spiritual resilience and interaction between family caregivers and their loved ones. Recently, we witnessed another touching moment during a “Goal of Care” meeting with Finch resident, Ms. Lee and her daughter Janet.
101-year old Ms. Lee has always been humble, resolute and amiable. Recently, Ms. Lee’s condition has changed and she is experiencing increased frailty. Ms. Lee’s care team met with her and Janet to discuss whether palliative care may be the right approach to support Ms. Lee’s changing needs.
Talking about end-of-life care for a loved one is important, but can be very difficult. While discussing Ms. Lee’s care goals, Janet, a caring and dutiful daughter, shared how her mom’s resilience and life philosophy became her strength to face her own hardships.
“Mom always taught me no matter how difficult life is, be calm and resilient by taking one step at a time. I believe that is why she is always so peaceful and acceptant,” Janet shared, as she looked at the calm and kind face of her mom.
Janet was tearful and full of gratitude as she reminisced on Bai Juyi’s “A Pair of Swallows on the Beam,” a poem about parenthood and life’s journey that she and her mom used to recite together. Hearing the familiar poem, Ms. Lee smiled warmly as she looked at her daughter.
Bowie Leung is an Activation Worker who joined our Finch team last November. Not only is she a new member of the Yee Hong family, but Bowie is also new to Canada. Originally from Hong Kong, Bowie came to Canada in 2021. She is still getting used to our cold, snowy winters!
Growing up, Bowie had a close relationship with her grandmother. Her fond memories of her grandmother are what inspired her to pursue a career in senior care. With her educational background in kinesiology, a spot on the Activation team is a great fit for Bowie.
Activation colleagues play an important role in supporting residents’ quality of life. They develop and run programs to promote residents’ social, emotional, psychological and physical wellbeing. In addition to running programs that encourage physical activity, Bowie also enjoys coordinating sing-along and cooking programs, monthly birthday parties, and cultural-themed programs for residents.
Bowie shares that Activation can be a tiring and stressful job at times. She must remain attentive and maintain a safety-first mindset at all times to ensure residents’ wellbeing during programs. Despite the difficulties, Bowie finds personal meaning and satisfaction in her work.
“Although many residents might not remember the past, I am glad I can help them feel happy and cared for in the moment when I spend time with them,” she shares. “When I see the residents smile and see how happy they are to chat with me, I am happy.”
Every year on April 16, we celebrate Advance Care Planning Day in Canada. This awareness day encourages everyone to have conversations and make plans about their wishes for future health care.
What is Advance Care Planning?
Advance Care Planning (ACP) is a process to describe your wishes for end-of-life of care in advance. ACP is not only for people who are getting older. All adults should make plans for future medical needs because a serious accident or illness can happen at any age.
Your plan may include information about procedures that you do or do not want to have, as well as other information about your care at the end of life. ACP is not a one-time decision – you can revise your plan at any time as your goals and values change.
Why is Advance Care Planning important?
Planning for your care in advance allows you to share your personal values, life goals and preferences regarding future medical care. If you are not able to speak for yourself during a medical emergency, having an ACP ensures your wishes and values are respected, and supports your loved ones who might otherwise struggle to make choices about your care.
How do I get started with my plan?
The following are six tips to help you get started on your Advance Care Plan:
1. Think about what is right for you. Think about your values, beliefs and understanding about end-of-life care and medical procedures. Think about what is important to you when it comes to your care.
2. Learn about different medical procedures. There are many medical procedures that can be offered at the end of life. Some may improve quality of life, others may prolong life. Learning about different procedures can help you identify what is right for you, and what treatments you may not want.
3. Choose your Substitute Decision-Maker. A Substitute Decision-Maker (SDM) is a designated person who you authorize to make decisions about your care on your behalf if you cannot speak for yourself. Your SDM may be a spouse, partner, family member or trusted friend. Choose someone who would honour and follow your wishes and values.
4. Talk about your wishes. Talk about your wishes with your Substitute Decision-Maker, family members and friends who are important to you. Tell your health team about your values, and if you have a written care plan, share it with them.
5. Record your wishes. Write down or make a recording of your wishes. In an emergency, your recorded wishes can give your loved ones the confidence to speak on your behalf. There are forms and resources available in Ontario for this purpose.
6. Review your plan. It is important to review your plan regularly and make sure it reflects your wishes over time. You may never need your plan, but if you do, you will be glad to know that your voice will be heard.
Our Yee Hong Hospice team provides information and education on Advance Care Planning and other topics related to end-of-life care, available in different languages.
With the generosity of our donors, Yee Hong will soon start construction on our new Finch II Centre. We need your continued support to build the new facility as soon as possible, so that more seniors can benefit from Yee Hong’s quality care services.
The four existing Yee Hong centres are among the top ten long-term care homes with the longest wait times in the Greater Toronto Area. Over 8,000 seniors are currently on our wait list and the median wait time is 3 years, with the longest wait up to 10 years.
To tackle this urgent problem, we have launched the “Love Gives” Capital Campaign to raise funds for the construction of three new long-term care centres in total. We’ve already reached $10 million, but we still have a long journey ahead. The total construction cost for the Finch II Centre alone is over $120 million.
Whether you donate now, plan a legacy gift, or host your own event, there are many ways that you can support our capital campaign. Visit LoveGives.ca to learn more.
Together, we can build a new legacy of love that will last forever.
Host Your Own Fundraiser
This spring, the spotlight is on Clara Leung, who hosted a fundraising exercise class to celebrate her retirement in March!
Clara’s passion for our seniors is truly inspiring – not only through nearly 20 years of dedicated service at Yee Hong Garden Terrace, but also her kind support for many of our fundraisers.
Though she has retired from her full-time position, she will stay on part-time with Yee Hong Community and Professional Services to help seniors stay active and engaged, as well as continue volunteering in the Yee Hong Family Division of our Love Gives Capital Campaign.
Want to set up your own fundraiser? Contact our team today at firstname.lastname@example.org or 416-321-0777.
Join Yee Hong Golf Tournament May 16th
Join us on Tuesday, May 16th at the beautiful King’s Riding Golf Club for the annual Yee Hong Golf Classic and feel the warmth of the sun after these long winter months!
You’ll enjoy a fun day of golf, food, and competition, all in support of one of our longest-running annual fundraisers! It’s a win-win for everyone!
Your Planned Gift Can Make A Significant Impact For Your Family And Our Seniors
When you think about your legacy, how do you want to be remembered? Most of us would just like to know that we’ve made a positive impact in the world. A planned gift to Yee Hong will make a real difference to the lives of our seniors.
One of our longest-supporting donors, Mrs. Pauline Tsang Po-Yan, planned a gift of $700,000 to Yee Hong prior to her passing on Jan 18, 2023. She told us, “One of my biggest missions in life is to enjoy my golden years to the fullest, living with dignity, respect, and independence. I am extremely grateful that I made it.”
“But even better is the opportunity I have to help other seniors who are not as fortunate. I am in my late eighties now and I’m not sure if I will still be around when Yee Hong will finally build new long-term care centres, but I’m sure I’ve built this legacy for the community, and it is immortal.”
By: Bill Stephenson, Interim Director of Finance
Every week, Yee Hong Centre generates over 100 cheques to pay our suppliers and vendors. Before the cheques are distributed, they must be signed by two signing officers. A significant amount of senior executive time was needed to review and sign the cheques.
Under the direction and leadership of Stewart Boecker, Yee Hong Chief Financial Officer, a cheque signing solution became an urgent priority for 2022.
Paystation Software was chosen as the best option for Yee Hong’s needs. Last summer, through many rounds of testing and validating, the new software was installed.
Our Finance colleagues, Stevenly Law and Jinny Wong, were instrumental in implementing this new software. Stevenly and Jinny worked tirelessly and persistently over months to ensure that this project was a success.
By improving our payment process efficiencies, senior executives can dedicate more time towards other priorities. As well, we can pay our invoices faster which helps strengthen our vendor relationships.
March is National Social Work Month, a time for us to recognize and celebrate social work professionals and their selfless contributions to our communities.
Yee Hong is fortunate to have many stellar social work professionals on our team. Our Social Workers provide a range of services to support the wellbeing of our residents, clients, family caregivers and community members.
We sat down with Nicky Lam, our Caregiver Education & Support Services Social Worker, to learn more about his work at Yee Hong.
Q: What do you do as a Social Worker at Yee Hong?
A: I primarily work with family caregivers and older adults living in the community. I provide a range of caregiver education and support services to help clients meet their needs. I also develop programs to help my clients reach their psychosocial goals through therapeutic activities, such as our MedEx Table Tennis for Dementia program. This is a fun program to help promote cognitive stimulation and overall wellness for community members with dementia and their caregivers through playing table tennis together.
Another large part of my work is establishing community linkages through outreach with other organizations and agencies so that I can facilitate effective referrals, partnerships and educational opportunities for my clients. I also provide supervision to students from local universities and Hong Kong who are pursuing the field of social work to help develop the next generation of social work professionals.
Q: Why did you want to become a Social Worker, and how long have you been in the field?
A: I’ve been practicing as a Social Worker for 22 years now. I’ve always had a passion for helping others, so I wanted to pursue a career where I could make a positive difference in someone else’s life.
Q: What’s the most challenging aspect of your job?
A: In recent years, I would say COIVD-19 has really impacted my work. Before the pandemic, majority of my interactions with clients were all in-person. After social distancing and other pandemic measures were introduced, we had to quickly shift to an online space. I had to find creative ways with limited resources to continue supporting my clients, many of whom are older adults.
Q: What’s your favourite part about your job?
A: My favourite part about my job is the opportunities I have to gain new experiences. Anyone who thinks that Social Workers just sit in an office and listen to people talk all day is wrong. At Yee Hong, I have so many opportunities to interact with my community and develop new programs and initiatives for my clients. I also get to meet and form connections with so many people, and I learn something new from everyone I meet.
Thank you, Nicky for sharing your experiences with us, and for all that you do to support seniors and caregivers in our community!
To welcome the new year with staff and residents, we held special celebrations across our Centres. Take a look at our Mississauga Centre celebrations!
As life has returned to something resembling normal in 2023, so has Yee Hong’s flagship fundraising gala, Dragon Ball! The 34th annual event returned in-person on Saturday, January 21, at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre with 1,000 guests in attendance. Tickets were completely sold out.
This year’s Dragon Ball fell on Lunar New Year’s Eve. The theme of the gala symbolized the rebirth of the Dragon, emerging from the pandemic stronger, smarter, and more powerful. All proceeds raised will go to cover the operational expenses of services and programs of the Yee Hong Centre, and the capital to build three new long-term care facilities in the near future.
Dr. Joseph Wong, Founder and Chair of Yee Hong Foundation remarked, “While the provincial government recognizes the urgent need for more long-term care by providing grants and mortgage subsidies to assist the not-for-profit sector, it is not enough. We still need to raise $80 million to begin construction of three new, already-approved Yee Hong centres. The collaborative efforts of everyone in the community is critical to this immense undertaking. We hope to break ground on the first new centre this fall in Scarborough.”
Honoured guests included Minister of Housing and Diversity and Inclusion Ahmed Hussen; Lieutenant Governor of Ontario Elizabeth Dowdeswell; Canadian Ambassador to the United Nations Bob Rae; Minister of Long-Term Care Paul Calandra; Minister for Seniors and Accessibility Raymond Cho; Mayor of Toronto John Tory; and Mayor of Markham Frank Scarpitti.
The pre-dinner grand reception tantalized the tastebuds of guests with hors d’oeuvres prepared by a group of young, accomplished Chinese-Canadian chefs with the concept of “from memories to creativity”. Guests were warmly welcomed by greeters dressed in gold bird and peacock costumes, while another popular attraction featured a taxi from Hong Kong displayed against the backdrop of the captivating Hong Kong harbour. Many shared their photos on social media.
The evening’s entertainment featured an amazing interactive magic show by Louis Yan, an internationally recognized champion magician who is also known as the David Copperfield of Hong Kong. Active seniors and seniors with Parkinson’s disease and other chronic health conditions participating in the Yee Hong “I Can Dance” fitness program debuted at the gala to demonstrate the joys and benefits of dancing. Another highlight of the evening was the attractive costumes and beautifully choreographed dance by Kulkat Entertainment.
While we are welcoming the Year of the Rabbit, this year is also the beginning of a new era for Yee Hong. Blessed with amazing support from our donors and supporters, the ground-breaking for the new Finch Centre in Scarborough is scheduled for this fall.
Your continued support is needed now more than ever. We want you to know how much we appreciate your support that makes a difference in the lives of so many seniors.
May the Year of the Rabbit bring you happiness, prosperity and good health!