AON began as a family-owned land development and property management firm owned by the Smith family, and by 1975 was one of the largest of its kind in the region.
Ross Smith, son of the company founders, anticipating the impact of demographic shifts, sought to expand into the senior housing market. Centennial Place was AON’s first foray into this market. It is a 128 bed long term care facility in Millbrook. A second location followed shortly after in Tweed, and a third located in Havelock is the final stages of the approval process
These Long Term Care homes both located in small towns provide home-like environments and make efforts to interact with their host community. AON has since established other models for senior living, through four retirement living homes known collectively as “the Gardens of Peterborough” with integrated health services and another option for independent seniors in the Summit Terrace seniors apartment which offers meals, weekly housekeeping and social programs.
Last week, AON celebrated the 20th anniversary of Centennial Place, and they have a lot to celebrate. Staff continues to focus on professional development opportunities that help them enrich the lives of their residents, whether it’s developing skills to address behavioural issues or finding ways to integrate normal activities such as couples’ dinners at Valentine’s Day or trips to the ice cream or coffee shop for a special treat.
Now that pandemic restrictions have lifted, local groups and individuals have returned for regular visits to Centennial place. Youngsters come to monthly outdoor events coordinated in concert with the Millbrook EarlyON Child and Family Centre ( see photos p __), Millbrook and District Lions’ Club monthly men’s breakfasts have returned, and CM Library staff come regularly to read with residents. There are also regular visits from Music Therapists, pet therapists and spiritual leaders.
For those who are able, there are outings to museums, restaurants, coffee shops and ice cream parlours, a visit to the local car show and the Millbrook Fair, exercise programs incorporating fun and movement such as Zumba classes, axe throwing (plastic ones) and physiotherapy programs.
In June, Centennial Place along with its sister home in Tweed received their official designation from the Registered Nurses Association of Ontario as a Best Practice Spotlight Organization. The designation is a longstanding strategy designed to optimize health outcomes at the individual, organizational and health system levels. This recognition marked the culmination of more than three years of work. It confirms that nurses at both of AON’s Long Term Care homes have met the standard of this international program, which ensure their members use evidence-based nursing practices that are designed to improve patient care and satisfaction. Staff consider the process to be an investment in their own careers, adding a recognized industry credential to their resumes. Centennial and Moira Place are now among the more than 1,000 other health related organizations, including esteemed health care providers like Toronto’s Michael Garron Hospital, Women’s College Hospital, St. Michael’s Hospital, Holland Bloorview Kids Rehab Hospital and Toronto Public Health.
So on Wednesday, it was time to bring on the cake and champagne as residents, staff, friends and family members joined in a toast to our neighbours’ achievements. We wish them many more in the years to come. KG