DSP Jade sits in the grass with Sheila who sits cross legged and barefoot

DSP Jade LeBlanc’s daily support provides choice and dignity to Sheila C .

Despite staffing challenges in the field, local non-profit makes investment in employees

Minnesota Governor Tim Walz spent a day in the life of a Personal Care Assistant, November 22nd to bring attention to the overwhelming shortage of direct care workers and resulting crisis in Minnesota. While clearly the rewards of working as a Direct Support Professional aren’t always monetary, like any other employee, Direct Support Professionals must pay their bills.

The increase to Living Well Disability Services staff was instated in October.  Despite an inadequate State reimbursement rate, the board of directors and leadership of Living Well Disability Services recently increased its hourly rate of pay for new hires from $12 to $13.25/hour and raised the hourly rate of pay for tenured Direct Support Professionals.
Click here to view the entire press release.


December 11th, 2019

More people are hearing the words “Assistive Technology” in conjunction with accessibility conversations. That’s because accessibility doesn’t only mean curb cuts and automatic doors. It means opening doors to opportunity and choice to people who live with disabilities.  ARRM Minnesota created this fantastic video for its Technology Resource Center. The video shares the story of Dan S. — a professional artist with a huge personality who calls one of our residences his home.  He utilizes technology ranging from his wheelchair, to his communications device, to the customized crown that holds his paintbrush. All these things give him greater opportunity and expression. Midwest Special Services worked with Dan to develop a tool he can wear that helps him paint.  The video also features great input and perspective from Kit Piltingsrud (Program Manager) and Sam Subah (Assistant Program Manager).  A second video will soon be released showing more detail about staff and organizational use of assistive technology in our homes.

January 8th, 2019

What generosity! So many people helped to fulfill the wishes on our Giving Tree. From clothing to music to games, many people had gifts to open in celebration of the holidays.

Thank you to our families, friends, staff, supporters, book groups, and especially the Maplewood Oakdale Lions Club! With your thoughtful efforts, no one was forgotten.

December 26th, 2018

Some of the adults we support do not have anyone to give them presents during the holiday season.

Living Well Disability Services is gathering gifts for these individuals to make sure their holidays are merry and bright!  Gifts can be dropped off through December 17th, between 9:00-4:00 M-F, at our main office 1168 Northland Drive, Mendota Heights.

Please select gift ideas from the list below. Notify kathy.anderson@livingwell.org which gift you have selected. Or you can stop by our main office to select an ornament gift item directly (see location information above).
Gifts must be new, and can be wrapped or unwrapped (if wrapped, but tape note to label what gift is inside). Gift value should be $25 or less. Thank you!

For additional information contact our Volunteer Program Manager, Kathy Anderson kathy.anderson@livingwell.org 651 242 5141

Men’s heavy sweat pants or jeans size 31×30 Men’s MN Pro team hat or cap
Men’s warm pull over shirt size medium Men’s action figure t-shirt size large
Cracker Barrel gift card Card games such as Uno
Men’s newsboy cap size  large Michaels Craft Store gift card
Earrings Polka CDs
Women’s blouse size 3X Women’s winter hat, mittens, scarf
Men’s cologne Men’s Vikings gloves & cap
Men’s  winter hat & mittens Applebee’s gift card
novelty joke/prank items Outback gift card
LaLaLand DVD, other musical  DVD Target/Cub/Walmart gift card
craft/art supplies Men’s MN Pro team hat or cap
Bath & Body Works gift card nail polish
Hair ties and jewelry bath bombs
Men’s Vikings  accessories Women’s soft fuzzy hat, scarf, mittens




December 13th, 2018

William T. & Richard M. with BethEach year ANCOR, the American Network of Community and Resources, recognizes outstanding direct support professionals with ANCOR Awards.  This year ANCOR created 5 new awards to recognize DSPs from around the country who showed excellence in 1 of 5 fields: advocacy, leadership, innovation, NADSP tenets, and relationships; only two people are awarded in each category from every submission across the country. This year Beth Ryan won an award with special commendation for her efforts in advocacy!

“Under our original system where we had only one winner per state and then a national winner, we saw a lot of excellent DSPs not receive recognition because their state produced several great candidates and judges had to make tough calls to pick only one. That’s why we created the category awards – to be able to expand our recognition not just to a DSP’s overall actions but also to DSPs who really exemplified advocacy, leadership, innovation, relationships and DSP tenets.” Doris Parfaite-Claude, Federal Advocacy and Research Manager.

(Pictured are William T. & Richard M. with Beth)

February 22nd, 2018

We couldn’t be more grateful! This Give to the Max Day we had a goal of $7,500 and thought we were aiming really high. Much higher than we’d reached in previous years.  Then we were bowled over by the generosity of our friends at Think Mutual Bank who contributed $2,500 in match funds to help prime the pump!  We not only met our match, but we exceeded our goal of $7,500.  This year our generous donors helped us raise more than we have in any of the past three years.  THANK YOU!  With your help, we’re able to ensure that people impacted by disabilities live with opportunity, choice and dignity.  YOU are transforming lives!

November 30th, 2017

Photographer Shawn Nielsen has a passion to discover why and how people work in positions of service to others.  As the 31st installment of his series, he came to visit our offices to meet two of our many outstanding direct support professionals and one of the individuals whom we support.  Kit and Teewon shared insights about their choice to give back in what they do — that they get so much more in return.  Teewon, especially, expressed a commitment in “being a voice for the voiceless.”  In Nielsen’s words, “Kit said that she believes she does this out of a firm belief that there really is no greater gift than to serve one another. As they shared their hearts and a few stories they smiled as they spoke of the people that they get to help walk through life. Teewon and Kit help give dignity and steadfast support to those that they care for.”  Take a look at the fantastic photos and read more of the interview here.

November 30th, 2017

We were honored to be awarded the Silver level Workplace Achievement Award on November 8th, 2017.  The American Heart Association has defined best practices for employers to use to build a culture of health for their employees in the workplace. The American Heart Association’s Workplace Health Achievement Index measures the extent to which the company has implemented those workplace health best practices. Companies recognized at the Silver level have achieved an Index score of 130 – 174 out of a maximum 217 points.  Living Well Disability Services continually practices wellness in all areas of the workplace. To have this honor is validation that we are actualizing our goals of healthier lives for staff and for those we support. You can read more about the award here.

November 30th, 2017

At Living Well Disability Services, we’re proud to be recognized as a Minnesota Business Magazine Leaders in Health Care – Employee Wellness Program Award winner in 2016! This award recognizes Minnesota based “individuals and companies that have supported or accelerated the regional health care industry through innovations in the medical field, corporate philanthropy, and workplace innovations.” Living Well Disability Services is recognized as an innovator and leader in employee and workplace wellness. View the other winners and finalists, and read more here.

Our staff work to support individuals with disabilities and each person supported creates an individualized wellness plan with personal goals aimed at physical fitness and community connections.  Plans include health coaching, horticulture, art and music therapies, volunteerism, and mind body wellness. Improved nutrition and increased physical activity has resulted in a better quality of life for both employees and people with disabilities. Read more about our wellness philosophy, here: https://livingwell.org/wellness

October 28th, 2016