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Christmas

Fun Facts: Christmas!

A fun and festive holiday to you all!

Here are some little-known facts about some of our favourite Christmas traditions!


Servicing the Ottawa Community since 1998. We are now accepting clients in Smith Falls, Kemptville, Prescott, Brockville, through to Kingston, Ontario.


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Spinach & Ricotta Pinwheels

This fun and simple appetizer is not only nutritious but delicious! Before baking, arrange each pinwheel in the shape of a Christmas tree and you have instant festive decor!

Click here for the full recipe and video instructions.

Ingredients

  • 1 teaspoon vegetable oil for frying
  • 2 red onions, chopped
  • 8 cups fresh spinach
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 pinch ground nutmeg
  • 9 ounces fresh ricotta cheese
  • 1 tablespoon grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 sheet frozen puff pastry, thawed
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 4 multi-colored cherry tomatoes, halved, or more to taste

Directions

  1. Heat oil in a large pan over medium heat and saute onions until soft and translucent. Add spinach, salt, and pepper and briefly saute while stirring constantly, 2 to 3 minutes.. Cover and cook until spinach is wilted, 5 to 7 minutes. Remove lid after 5 minutes and allow cooking liquid to evaporate. Remove from stove and cool completely.
  2. Chop spinach mixture and combine with ricotta and Parmesan cheese in a bowl. Season with salt, pepper, and nutmeg.
  3. Roll out puff pastry sheet and evenly cover with spinach-cheese mixture to within 1/2 inch of the edges. Tightly roll up sheet lengthwise and press edges tightly together. Wrap in plastic wrap and cool in refrigerator for at least 1 hour.
  4. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Cover a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  5. Slice pastry log into 3/4-inch slices so you have 16 to 22 pinwheels. Lay puff pastry pinwheels in the shape of a Christmas tree. The lowest row should consist of 6 pinwheels the second row 5 pinwheels, etc. If you end up with 16 pinwheels, start with 5 pinwheels in the lowest row. Place the last wheel on the bottom to make the stem. Brush with egg.
  6. Bake in preheated oven until wheels are lightly browned and puffed up, 20 to 25 minutes.

Decorate with cherry tomatoes for Christmas tree ornaments!


Servicing the Ottawa Community since 1998. We are now accepting clients in Smith Falls, Kemptville, Prescott, Brockville, through to Kingston, Ontario.

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Christmas BINGO!

For today’s activity, we thought it would be fun to gather as a group and play a fun and festive game of Christmas BINGO!

Socialization during the holidays is key for many of our elderly loved ones and this is a perfect way to get them engaged in an activity that is familiar and enjoyable. Whether as a group (up to 8 players) or as partners, use these festive BINGO game boards and call-out cards at your next holiday gathering. Prizes, you ask? Why not gather a few essential items such as holiday socks, gloves/mittens, hats, scarves, and of course some hot chocolate!

Happy Holidays from all of us at Ideal Caregivers 4u!


Christmas BINGO Printables

Click on the image below to download your copy of 8 festive game boards and a set of call-out cards!


Servicing the Ottawa Community since 1998.
We are now accepting clients in Smith Falls, Kemptville, Prescott, Brockville, through to Kingston, Ontario.

Benefits of Singing

As the holiday season is in full swing, so are the many traditional and current Christmas carols found on the radio, music streaming services, in retail stores and perhaps even on our own devices! But did you know that music, and in turn, singing is actually beneficial to our health?

Singing can significantly help seniors afflicted with neurological diseases by improving brain functionality. Singing is also a great activity that produces more oxygen in the blood, improves circulation and deep breathing, resulting in less stress and more “feel good” hormones.

Promotes Engagement in Social Activities

In addition to several health benefits, being a part of a choir or social singing group, even casual sing-a-long activities, can create a positive social network for your elderly loved one. This regular activity builds new relationships and creates something for them to look forward to.

Improvement in Brain Health

Singing can directly impact the emotional regulators within the brain. This can help improve a person’s overall mood by the release of certain chemicals like dopamine. Singing touches on four of the five key cornerstones of brain healthmovement (being active), discovery (learning new things), relaxation (stabilizing mood) and connection (networking with others).

Overall Quality of Life

Older adults that sing at home or as part of a group may experience some of the following quality of life changes:

  • Increased self-confidence
  • Improved interaction with other people in social settings
  • Reduced anxiety and aggression
  • Fewer incidences of depression
  • Fewer hospital visits
  • Ability to communicate even with speech difficulties
  • Improvements in the tone of their speaking voices
  • Easier breathing
  • Improved posture

Aas the holiday season can be a source of loneliness and sadness for our elderly, singing those well-known childhood favourites can make a difference in the lives of seniors. Its benefits include the development and maintenance of friendships, increased happiness, uplifting and positive feelings, and reduced anxiety.

So crank up those old favourites and sing along! If you don’t know the lyrics, here is one of our favourite tunes, also ranked #1 Christmas song, you may remember!


Servicing the Ottawa Community since 1998. We are now accepting clients in Smith Falls, Kemptville, Prescott, Brockville, through to Kingston, Ontario.

Yule Log Cake

Nothing says the holidays like the smells and tastes of freshly baked homemade treats!

Today’s recipe is a tradition in many households during the Christmas season. Yule Log Cake is a delicious chocolate sponge cake filled with a light mascarpone whipped cream, enveloped in a creamy whipped chocolate ganache!

Yule Log Cake

For the original recipe, click here

Ingredients

Chocolate Cake:

  • 3/4 cup (98g) all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup (38g) Hershey’s Special Dark cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 4 large eggs, divided
  • 3/4 cup (155g) granulated sugar
  • 5 tbsp (72g) sour cream
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Mascarpone Filling:

  • 1 1/4 cups (300ml) heavy whipping cream, cold
  • 3/4 cups (86g) powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 8 oz (226g) mascarpone cheese, softened but still chilled*

Chocolate Ganache:

  • 8 ounces semi sweet chocolate, finely chopped
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream

Instructions

1. Begin by preheating your oven to 350°F. Line a 17×12 inch jelly roll sheet pan with parchment paper. Make sure the parchment paper sticks up at least an inch above the sides of the pan on all sides, so you can lift the cake out of the pan to roll.
2. In a medium bowl, whisk the flour, cocoa, baking powder and salt together and set aside.
3. In a large bowl, combine the egg yolks and sugar and whisk together until well combined.
4. Add the sour cream, melted butter and vanilla extract and whisk together until well combined.
5. Add the dry ingredients and gently whisk together until well combined, then set aside.
6. Add the egg whites to a large mixer bowl and whip at high speed until stiff peaks form.
7. Gently fold about 1/3 of the whipped egg whites into the chocolate mixture to loosen up the batter. Add the remaining egg whites and gently fold together until well combined.
8. Spread the cake batter evenly into the prepared pan and bake for 10-12 minutes, or until the top of the cake springs back when touched and a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
9. Remove the cake from the oven and immediately lift the cake out of the pan using the parchment paper and place it on the counter.
10. While the cake is hot, use the parchment paper the cake was baked in and start at the shorter end of the cake to slowly roll the cake up. Set the cake aside to cool completely.

Time to Roll!
1. When the cake has cooled and is ready to be filled, make the filling. Add the heavy whipping cream, powdered sugar, vanilla extract and salt to a large mixer bowl and whip on high speed until soft peaks form.
2. Add the mascarpone cheese to the whipped cream and whip until stiff peaks form. It will happen fairly quickly.
3. Unroll the cake roll very carefully, looking out for areas where it may be sticking to release it. You can use an offset spatula or something similar and run it along the parchment paper as you unroll the cake to help release it as it unrolls.
4. Spread the filling evenly onto the unrolled cake, then roll it back up without the parchment paper.
5. Wrap it up in a plastic wrap with the seam side down and refrigerate for at least an hour to firm up.

Top it Off!
1. When you’re ready to decorate the cake, make the chocolate ganache. Add the chocolate to a medium-sized bowl and set it aside. Heat the cream in the microwave just until it begins to boil, then pour it over the chocolate.
2. Allow the chocolate and cream to sit for a few minutes, then whisk until smooth. Let the ganache cool to about room temperature (or cooler, you don’t want it too warm/thin), then transfer to a large mixer bowl.
3. Whip on high speed until lightened in colour and thick enough to spread.
4. To decorate the cake, use a large serrated knife to gently cut off a piece of the log about 3 inches in length. Make the cut with a slight diagonal.
5. Use some of the chocolate ganache to attach the small log to the side of the larger log.
6. Spread the remaining chocolate ganache all over the cake, then use a fork to create bark-like lines all over it.
7. Refrigerate the cake until ready to serve.


Servicing the Ottawa Community since 1998. We are now accepting clients in Smith Falls, Kemptville, Prescott, Brockville, through to Kingston, Ontario.

Loneliness in Seniors During the Holidays

For many of us, this is a season of joyful celebration, the gathering of friends and family, and the sharing of traditional meals, desserts and stories. But for some, especially over the past year, it can be a time of sadness remembering those whom we’ve lost and those who are unable to visit.
 
For the elderly, especially those in long-term care facilities, the holidays can place a tremendous amount of anxiety, sadness, confusion, and loneliness. Many families may continue to struggle in visiting their loved ones in care facilities, nursing homes, and even private homes due to COVID restrictions. This makes the holiday season especially challenging.
 
Remind your loved ones that although you may not be able to come together as you once did, you are still thinking about them. Share your photos, stories, and festive feasts through phone calls and video chats. Send them Christmas cards, treats, and photos in the mail. Check with your loved one’s facility director to see if window visits can be arranged or even limited visits with immediate family members are possible.
 
Here are a few ways to help reduce your senior loved one with feelings of loneliness during the holidays:
  1. Keep the line of communication open with your senior loved ones. Actively and honestly listen to their stories and their thoughts.
  2. Check with your loved one’s religious organization to see if they can offer social and/or spiritual support.
  3. Share cheerful cards, photographs and drawings from friends and family to encourage positivity and lighten their thoughts on missing loved ones.
  4. Remind them how important they are to your life and the lives of your family. Show them they are loved.
  5. Decorate their room in a festive way and add their favourite homemade treat.
Feelings of loneliness may not manifest themselves the same way with every person. Some may exhibit negative and challenging behaviours as they cannot express themselves verbally, others may share stories of loved ones who have passed and express how much they are missed, and some just may want you to listen as they share their memories while holding your hand. However they express themselves, continue to remind them that they are loved, remembered and appreciated…just as you are to them.

 


Ideal Caregivers 4u is there when you cannot be.  Remember us during the holidays as we can provide services ranging from Companionship and Meal Assistance to 24-hr Care.
Servicing the Ottawa Community since 1998.
We are now accepting clients in Smith Falls, Kemptville, Prescott, Brockville, through to Kingston, Ontario.