Care Ventures Cooperative wins innovation award
On Wednesday, Feb. 8, Care Ventures Cooperative, a network of 15 rural care centers including Fair Oaks Lodge, of Wadena, received the 2012 Excellence & Innovations Award for its Fit 4 Life Ventures program from Aging Services of Minnesota. The Excellence & Innovation Awards celebrate older adult service organizations that develop new and innovative programs that benefit their residents and communities. The Aging Services awards are among the highest honors for aging service organizations and professionals in Minnesota.
Fit 4 Life is an exercise and wellness program for seniors first developed in 2004 at Galeon in Osakis to promote improved physical well being and stability. The philosophy of the program is to balance the traditional medical model of care and rehabilitation services with empowering wellness opportunities. Care Ventures adopted the program at all its organizations two years later with financial assistance from a Pay-for-Performance Incentive payment project (PIPP) grant through the Minnesota Department of Human Services. Fit 4 Life involves a focus on the physical aspect of wellness by providing assistance, personal training and physical fitness consultation to individuals on strength training, conditioning, physical fitness and general exercise topics.
"Our Fit 4 Life instructors guide our residents through various exercises done on a regular basis," said said Roberta Cline, Fair Oaks Lodge administrator. "These exercises work to increase upper body strength, maintain range of motion, enhance motor skills and maintain full body strength."
The benefits of the program have resulted in a significant reduction in falls in seniors living in care facilities and the greater communities, improved strength and stability and increased socialization.
Project Manager Chere Rikimoto noted two stories showing evidence of the project's benefit in the community. In the first, an elderly woman was admitted to a local nursing home after a fall, being very weak and requiring oxygen. She attended Fit 4 Life exercise classes consistently and was eventually able to completely skip assisted living and move back to independent living.
Another woman living in the community joined Fit 4 Life outreach programming. Her baseline assessment showed below average numbers in every area. After three months of attending, she showed notable increases in strength, flexibility, endurance and balance, as well as weight loss and lowered blood pressure; and a general improvement in her overall quality of living.
"Fit 4 Life is an exercise program for our residents that works on maintaining balance, prevention of falls, building strength, increasing flexibility, increasing independence and having fun," said Cline.
Exercise is an important part of many people's lives, especially those who live at Fair Oaks Lodge and Fair Oaks Apartments who participate in the Fit 4 Life Recreation Therapy and other community exercise programs.
"We realize the importance and impact that exercise can have on one's life," said Cline.
Care Ventures Cooperative was founded in 1999 by a group of rural, independent long-term care facility leaders in response to the significant market, financial and staffing challenges. Care Ventures sites include Knute Nelson, Alexandria; Lakeside Health Care Center, Dassel; Centre Care Health System, Long Prairie; Talahi Senior Campus, St. Cloud; Galeon, Osakis; Annandale Health & Community Services, Annandale; Minnewaska Community Health Services, Starbuck; Assumption Community, Cold Spring; Mother of Mercy Campus of Care, Albany; PioneerCare, Fergus Falls; Glenwood Retirement Village, Glenwood; Cokato Manor, Cokato; Belgrade Nursing Home, Belgrade; Fair Oaks Lodge, Wadena; and Traverse Care Center, Wheaton.