Wellness & Lifestyle Programs
Living Well is more than our name, it’s our reason for being
Thrive and Live Well
At Living Well Disability Services our approach to wellness is to assist individuals with disabilities to express their aspirations, expand their options and increase healthy choices so they can live as independently as possible and be fully engaged in community. We want everyone to THRIVE and to LIVE WELL. Nearly 100% of funding for these essential wellness programs is generated via sponsorships, donations and outside support.
Why Wellness Matters
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. With good health people will have increased opportunity to age in place, rather than in ever more restrictive and costly settings. Which is why, since 2008, Living Well Disability Services has worked to transform the delivery of services for people impacted by disabilities to one that models health and wellness. The goal is straightforward; to improve the overall quality of life for people with disabilities.
Wellness Comes in Many Forms
Wellness programs are based on the interests and choices of each person served and may include the following:
- A healthy menu that incorporates fresh and whole foods naturally lower in salt and fat.
- A holistic approach to wellness that may include individualized exercise programs, animal-assisted interactions or music therapy.
- For people with disabilities who choose to move toward greater independence, intentional focus on volunteerism increases overall quality of life.
- Comprehensive wellness kits include instructions and tools to help families integrate health and wellness activities into their daily routines.
The Impact of Wellness
The Living Well Disability Services holistic approach to wellness incorporates activities to improve the overall quality of life for the people we serve. In 2014, doctors seeing people served by Living Well Disability Services reported that 91% of the people they examined experienced good to excellent health. Annual satisfaction surveys included responses from self-advocates who reported improved physical health, regular engagement with people in the community and a reduced sense of isolation and loneliness. Individuals have made progress in reducing their need for some medications, increasing their mobility and overall fitness, and reducing health-related crises.
Ways to Wellness
Living Well Disability Services has long worked with the Ways to Wellness program at Woodwinds Hospital, HealthEast Care System. Employees and individuals supported by Living Well Disability Services are offered the opportunity to participate in a 12-week program, which includes the setting of individual goals, education in wellness and nutrition and fitness training. Ways to Wellness is not just about losing weight—it is a one-on-one program to learn new behaviors for healthy lifestyles that can be practiced for a lifetime. Covid put this program on hold for a bit, but we look forward to a continued collaboration with this organization post-Covid.
For Peggy, who is supported by Living Well Disability Services, Ways to Wellness has broadened her exercise beyond the treadmill to include yoga, weights, exercise balls and boxing – a new favorite. The program has taught her how to weave wellness throughout her life and share what she has learned with others.
“Peggy has become my fitness coach! She challenges me and the other staff and people in the house to exercise and eat well.”
Minnesota Landscape Arboretum
Flowers and plants bring joy, life and color to the world, and we are lucky to include Dakota County master gardeners and the University of Minnesota Landscape Arboretum as partners in educating people served by Living Well Disability Services and employees about gardens and their care. All of our homes receive flowers and engage volunteers and people served in planting and landscaping projects. Houses are also encouraged to frequent farmer’s markets and look for ways to incorporate more fresh produce in meal planning.