Living Well Disability Services works to transform the system of service for the people it supports to one that models health and wellness. Physical exercise, good nutrition, stress management and social support are important for everyone but are even more critical for people with disabilities who have a thinner margin of health. Maximizing health for people with disabilities is a key determinant in the level of independence possible and the amount of support needed throughout their life. More people will have increased opportunity to age in place, rather than in ever more restrictive and costly settings.
A seasonally based menu in all Living Well Disability Services homes
Mealtime in Living Well Disability Services homes has changed dramatically since the introduction of wellness programming and will continue to evolve. In 2009, Julie Jones, Ph.D., Professor Emeritus at St. Catherine University collaborated with students to overhaul Living Well Disability services menu system. New and healthier menu plans are now enjoyed by people at all of our 34 homes each season. Breakfast, lunch and dinner menus now take advantage of fresh, seasonal ingredients which are naturally low in sodium and fat.
Gardens at our homes and access to farmer’s markets
Gardens are planted and cared for by volunteers, staff, and those supported by Living Well Disability Services at more than half of our homes. Living Well Disability Services master gardeners and the University of Minnesota Landscape Arboretum assist us in educating and planning our gardens. Those without gardens are encouraged to frequent farmers markets to incorporate more fresh produce in their meal planning.
Pet therapy visits brighten the days of people we support at more than half of Living Well Disability Services homes. Therapeutic use of pets can help the people we support enjoy stress-free friendships. We bring pets to our houses to give the people we support a fun and memorable experience. Studies have shown that the presence of a pet can decrease heart rate and blood pressure significantly. When combined with our other initiatives, pet therapy will increase the quality of the lives of the people we support.
Contact Annelies Stevens for more information on our innovative Health and Wellness programs: