Keeping the Focus on People
Written by: Amy Kerrigan, Community Education Specialist
The pandemic changed a lot of routines and habits for everyone. Some of these changes were incredibly difficult for individuals with disabilities. Due to caring for people with high needs and some individuals having increased risk of illness, Person Centered Services (PCS) in Urbana needed to make some tough decisions.
How can they make the health and wellness of their day service participants a priority while still maintaining a connection to the community and providing quality activities?
Many precautions are in place. There are less group outings. Visitors should call ahead, will be screened for illnesses and asked to wear a mask before entering. Staff amped up the cleaning, wear masks and try to keep day service participants in smaller groups. They also eat lunch and snacks in shifts. All of these changes were important to ensure the health of all their people.
What hasn't changed is the genuine care that the PCS staff has for people with disabilities. They still keep everyone mentally active with puzzles, crafts, games, books, music, and regional self-advocacy meetings.
They still engage everyone in physical active by having exercise time in the large dining area. They also walk the circular driveway outside their building when the weather is nice and up and down the long hallway when it is not nice.
The PCS staff encourages nutritional health by organizing a cooking club. They help the group pick out a nutritional recipe, take them to the grocery store to get the ingredients, and help them put the recipe together to share with everyone else at lunch time.
Then there is emotional health. This is encouraged through holiday celebrations and making friendships with each other. Staff members put a lot of love and time into creating the Thanksgiving feast pictured here., and they ensured that day service participants were invested in the process as well.
As an added bonus, some of the PCS staff members can be found volunteering time with community organizations which their day service members likely participate in. In fact, Director Darlene Caudill current helps as an adviser for the Champaign County Kiwanis Aktion Club.
So, in the coming year, when you make your new year resolutions, think about PCS. Be inspired to set goals of caring and kindness.