Yee Hong Newsletter

Meet Nicky Lam

An image of Nicky Lam. He is smiling and sitting on a cream coloured chair wearing a white and grey striped shirt and blue jeans. Text reads Meet Nicky Lam social worker, caregiver education and support services. 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!


New Year Celebrations at Mississauga Centre

To welcome the new year with staff and residents, we held special celebrations across our Centres. Take a look at our Mississauga Centre celebrations!

34th Annual Dragon Ball Returned Full House on Lunar New Year’s Eve

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.

To learn more about Dragon Ball or other Yee Hong Foundation fundraising events, please follow @YeeHongFoundation on Facebook and Instagram.

May the Year of the Rabbit bring you happiness, prosperity and good health!

Meet Mr. Tran!

Originally from Vietnam, Mr. Tran, a Markham Centre resident, used to work as an Interior Designer. Even today, Mr. Tran continues to put his passion and talent for art to good use. When Mr. Tran isn’t busy participating in our Activation programs, he spends his spare time working on various art projects.

It’s difficult to find a bare wall in Mr. Tran’s room – all of his artwork is posted up as decoration. To welcome 2023, Mr. Tran made two colourful new year banners to help decorate our Nursing stations. Mr. Tran is proud of his artwork and very happy to show off his masterpieces. Our staff also enjoy Mr. Tran’s art – walking through the halls and seeing Mr. Tran’s work puts a smile on everyone’s faces!

When asked about what it’s like living at Yee Hong, Mr. Tran replied, “Yee Hong Centre is the best! I am happy every day. I like to work hard on artwork.”


Pen Pal Meetup!

In March 2021, during the midst of the pandemic, Markham Christian Community Church (MCCC) youth and their leaders started an Intergenerational Pen Pal Program with our McNicoll Centre residents. Ever since, MCCC youth and our residents have exchanged letters and cards every two to three months to introduce themselves and share their interests and life stories.

In December 2022, MCCC youth visited McNicoll Centre and the pen pals finally had the chance to meet in person.

The youth organized special holiday programming for our residents, including a Bible sharing activity, arts and crafts, and musical performances. The pen pals also spent time chatting and singing Christmas carols together. Everyone enjoyed the special moment and truly felt the meaning of Christmas. The youth and our residents can’t wait to celebrate another holiday together!

Meet Polly Yeung, Program Worker of Home Support Services

In December 2022, we celebrated Polly Yeung’s retirement. Polly first joined Yee Hong in 2005 as a Personal Support Worker. Later in 2013, Polly joined our Home Support Services team at Villa Elegance as Program Worker. Before joining the Yee Hong family, Polly worked as a nurse in Hong Kong.

As Program Worker, Polly utilized her medical knowledge and contributed greatly to the health and wellbeing of Villa Elegance residents. She was responsible for developing and facilitating recreational programs, performing emergency response and medical checks, and conducting infection prevention and control audits to ensure residents’ safety.

Polly is a reliable team member who is always punctual and accurate in her work. Her integrity and dedication to ensuring the best care for our clients is truly admirable, and we will miss her greatly. Thank you, Polly, for your 17 years service! We wish you all the best in your retirement!

Meet Margaret Yip, Program Assistant of McNicoll Special Day Program

This January, we wished Margaret Yip farewell as she retired after 25 years of dedicated service at Yee Hong. Margaret first joined our Yee Hong family as a member of our Home Support Services team, then made the switch to our Special Day Program (SDP) at McNicoll Centre as a Program Assistant, where she has been working since.

As part of the SDP team, Margaret collaborated with her colleagues to design and facilitate programming for our community clients living with Alzheimer’s and dementia. Seeing how happy our SDP clients are during program time is what Margaret loved the most about her job.

Anyone who knows Margaret will tell you how caring, kind and thoughtful she is. She strives to provide high-quality and creative programming to support our clients’ social, cognitive, emotional and physical wellbeing. On top of that, Margaret is always well-dressed!

After working at Yee Hong for 25 years, Margaret truly feels like Yee Hong is her family. She looks forward to staying friends with her colleagues after retiring. We will miss Margaret dearly, but congratulate and wish her all the very best in her retirement! Thank you for your dedicated service, Margaret!

Celebrating Japanese New Year!

In Japan, it is customary to celebrate the New Year by spending time with family and eating Osechi Ryori. Osechi Ryori has a variety of New Year dishes, which varies in many regions of Japan. Each dish has a specific wish for happiness and longevity.

In keeping with the tradition, our Finch Centre partnered with Momiji to arrange a special Osechi Ryori meal to ring in the New Year with our Japanese residents! The menu was specially catered to ensure the dishes’ texture was enjoyable to residents, but also safe for residents with chewing and swallowing difficulty.

The auspicious dishes included Mame Kinton (mashed sweet white kidney beans), Kuromame (sweet blackbeans), Kohaku Namasu (pickled daikon radish and carrot) and Sake Kobumaki (salmon kelp rolls).

Culturally Appropriate Food in Long-Term Care Homes

When it comes to aging well, food and eating rituals are considered especially important. The average age of Yee Hong’s long-term care residents is about 90. As individuals age, and particularly for individuals with dementia, eating culturally appropriate foods that they recognize and enjoy supports mental well-being, promotes joy and creates a sense of belonging and comfort.

Food is often associated with the holidays. At McNicoll Centre, our residents celebrated Chinese New Year with delicious, traditional meals. On Chinese New Year’s Eve, residents enjoyed Yee Hong Double Happiness Fin and Braised Abalone with Fish Maw. These dishes symbolize happiness and prosperity.

On Chinese New Year day, residents enjoyed many auspicious dishes and snacks, such as Chicken and Lobster E-Fu Noodles for longevity, and deep-fried smiley balls for happiness.

In addition to Chinese New Year, our Food Service and Activation departments collaborate to launch festive menus on other major holidays from various cultures year-round. In the coming months, we have special food days planned around Italian, Korean and Thai cuisine, to name a few. There’s something for everyone at Yee Hong!

Introducing Yee Hong’s Community and Professional Services Division

By: Maria Chu, Executive Director, CPS

Yee Hong is well known for our “Continuum of Care” model, whereby we provide a wide range of high-quality services for seniors living in the community through our Community and Professional Services Division (CPS).

CPS’s mission is to provide community-based services to enable seniors of diverse needs and backgrounds to maintain independence and dignity, and live their lives to the fullest. This mission is based on our belief that people, no matter how old they are, have the potential to grow and develop.

CPS offers a wide range of holistic, client-centred community and home support services. We adopt a multi-disciplinary team approach to care for seniors’ physical, emotional, social and spiritual well-being. Services include Active Senior Programs, Congregate Dining Programs, Adult Day Programs, Home Support and Assisted Living Services, Caregiver Education and Support Services, Friendly Visiting, Transportation services, Volunteer Development, Meals on Wheels and a Community Kitchen.

CPS also manages and supports different housing project models, including Yee Hong Garden Terrace, a life lease housing community, Chinese Evergreen Manor, a social housing complex and Villa Elegance, a private condominium.

CPS services support thousands of seniors and their families in the community each year. I’d like to extend my gratitude to all CPS staff. They are all unsung heroes of our community. With their dedication and commitment, our seniors can age at home gracefully!

To learn more about our community-based services, please contact 416-412-4570.


Chinese New Year Celebration at Finch Centre

Chinese New Year is an important celebration for many of our residents. To welcome the Year of the Rabbit, we held special celebrations across our Centres. At Finch Centre, our Activation team organized a lion dance to ring in the new year with residents.

Thank you to our dedicated Activation colleagues for putting together another successful celebration for our residents, and a very special thank you to the passionate and energetic team at Lion Dance Toronto for their amazing performance! Residents and staff had the brightest smiles on their faces as they enjoyed the traditional dance and received red envelopes from the God of Fortune.

Introducing Yee Hong’s Advisory, Education, Research Division

By: Anisa Wu, Project Manager, AER Division

As a recognized leader in providing culturally appropriate, person-centered care, Yee Hong is expanding our service offerings through our Advisory, Education and Research (AER) Division.

AER’s mission is to leverage Yee Hong’s specialized expertise to support other organizations and build system capacity for high-quality, inclusive and integrated services. We do this by sharing what we know with others, leading and participating in meaningful research, and providing education and training through our private career college.

This work is critically important because culture impacts all aspects of a person’s life and how they experience care, but access to culturally appropriate care in our communities is still limited. AER is beginning to fulfill our mission through several strategic partnerships, including working with a hospital to develop two new long-term care homes. We are helping the hospital build a thoughtful and sustainable operation model that will meet the needs of seniors in the area, while also addressing service gaps the pandemic exposed.

We are also collaborating with an Indigenous advisory group who has assumed operations of a long-term care home to deliver culturally sensitive services for Indigenous elders and community members. By sharing our experience in respecting cultural diversity and promoting inclusiveness, we are helping the group grow their operational capacity and tailor services for their residents.

With exciting work ahead, Yee Hong looks forward to engaging the broader community to increase culturally appropriate approaches to support seniors’ quality of life.