Healthy Choices Program
Independent Living Resource Centre Thunder Bay (ILRC) works to promote ability & independence within an inclusive community. Their Healthy Choices program, which is supported by donations to United Way, is one of the ways they do this work. The program offers training and skill development to educate persons with disabilities about food purchasing and meal planning. Healthy Choices also enhances their knowledge of meal preparation and nutritional value, which can have long lasting positive impact on their health and wellbeing. Many clients of ILRC are affected by more than one health issue that can make leading a healthy lifestyle difficult. Through the Healthy Choices program and other ILRC supports, individuals can gain the skills and independence needed to attain the quality of life we all deserve. Here is Sara’s story:
Sara* was a new participant involved in the ILRC Healthy Choices Program this past year. In addition to another diagnoses, she had disclosed she had been having a very hard time effectively managing her diabetes. Sara had been diabetic for nearly 15 years and had always struggled with good blood glucose control. This had an impact on both her daily life and overall health, which was made more complicated by the fact that she had more than one health issue to deal with. Sara realized that poor eating habits and a lack of physical activity was contributing to her struggle and she was brave enough to ask for help from ILRC.
Upon speaking with Sara, the program staff learned that she in fact lacked both the knowledge of preparing healthy food and the opportunity to be physically active. Together, Sara and the staff made a plan that would help her gain control over her diabetes. After 6 months of incrementally increasing her walking level and eating a more whole food centric diet, Sara reported that she was able to reduce her HbA1C level by 2 points in the most recent test. The HbA1C is a test that people with diabetes must take regularly and provides their health care team with a ‘snapshot’ of how their blood glucose levels have been over a period of 3-6 months. It can take a lot of commitment and effort by the individual to lower the results and even a half point can be considered an accomplishment. The impact of this seemingly small change has had an immensely positive impact on Sara’s overall health and has noticeably raised her self-confidence and determination. She has stated that these found successes are directly related to her involvement with the ILRC’s United Way funded Healthy Choices Program.
Independent Living Resource Centre Thunder Bay is located at 130 Brodie Street South and can be reached at 577-6166.