135,000 adults served healthy meals & snacks daily
Adult Care Provider
Arnaldo Ferrer has been an adult care giver since 2013. In 2017, he brought his vision to life and opened Cielo Vista Senior Day Care where his family works with him to provide care for the clients. Cielo Vista specializes in the care of the disabled and elderly population of Las Vegas, Nevada, where clients come in the morning and spend the day. The center provides transportation to and from its clients’ homes each day and medical appointments when needed. They have an on-site nurse to help with any medical needs. Arnaldo’s center focuses on mental health with two major components: nutrition and activity.
Each day, the clients come to the center and are served a healthy breakfast, snacks and lunch. The population of the center is 98% Hispanic, for which Arnaldo says health and nutrition play an even more critical role with cultural eating habits. Several suffer from high blood pressure, diabetes, and/or are at risk for heart problems. Once a month, a nutritionist reviews all of the menus and visits with the clients at the center about nutrition information. The on-site nurse teaches classes about good nutritional habits and healthy eating, focusing on advanced age. The nurse is also very involved with the clients regarding weight and nutritional eating for diabetes. The goal is to teach the clients how to make better choices when eating.
The other piece of the puzzle for improving health is social interaction and activity. Arnaldo has daily activities for the seniors. They can take part in crafts and singing with live music. They can also join in on a game of dominoes, exercise classes, or even learn English with an ESL teacher. They try to go on a park field trip three times a year, depending on mobility allowances of the clients.
“The staff is amazing and we care deeply for our seniors. It is a lot of hard work, but we do the work from our hearts and it is truly gratifying.”
The CACFP has played a critical role for Arnaldo and Cielo Vista because nutrition is such a focal point for the center. Arnaldo wants to provide the healthiest and best food he possibly can. The financial help from the CACFP allows Arnaldo to provide his clients with high quality, nutritious food. With the COVID-19 pandemic, the center was certainly affected, and CACFP has positively helped to offset the costs while many people are now choosing to stay home. Arnaldo always wants to be able to provide the nutritional foods his clients need.
“When I am that age, I would love to go to a place just like this. It will be the best six hours of the day.”
In Las Vegas, Nevada, Cielo Vista Senior Day Care Center has been a CACFP participant through Food For Kids, Inc. since 2019.
Adult Day Care
The Diamond Center Adult Day Program is a Community Access Group offering person-centered services to individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities working to improve, acquire or retain communication and socialization skills. These skills are implemented for active participation and independent functioning outside of their home setting. Sheila Russell, director, had a vision to open a center that would make a positive impact through enhancement and advancement of the individuals regardless of their disability. That vision became a reality when the Diamond Center opened in July of 2013.
“I believe that everyone can learn something no matter how long it may take or how simple the task may be. Engagement and positive reinforcement, as well as support in giving assistance for the goal at hand, is extremely significant. We will continue to encourage a healthy lifestyle through diet, exercise and rest with the hope of a most enjoyable life. Community relationship is vital, giving our individuals a sense of belonging and self-worth as they volunteer and work. It is rewarding to see them celebrating their victories and joy in knowing they can accomplish much with support from those who have essential interest in their success in life.”
Healthy lifestyle is a focal point for the Diamond Center. The center encourages individuals to acquire healthy dietary habits, get daily exercise, drink adequate amounts of water, participate in hands-on activities and group discussions - all of which educates them on healthy living and how to strive for optimum health. After learning about CACFP, Sallye Jones, CACFP Manager, immediately enrolled the center as a member. As a result, the Diamond Center has been able to serve over 36 participants through CACFP.
“We are afforded the opportunity to vend in hot lunches and serve our participants a well-balanced meal Monday through Friday with CACFP,” added Jones.
Participants often express how much they enjoy their meal and eagerly volunteer to help during lunchtime by passing out plates, utensils and drinks. Water is offered throughout the day, stressing the importance of keeping the body hydrated and that drinking water is good for vital organs to work properly while giving energy and flushing out toxins. After lunch, participants volunteer for clean-up duties by cleaning tables, sweeping and taking out trash under supervision. By letting them know that they are doing a great job and that they are appreciated, the participants develop a sense of pride which reflects in their positive dispositions.
Morning and afternoon exercise is implemented daily and individuals who are capable, complete jumping jacks, leg bends, running in place and other aerobic activities. Other individuals with low mobility participate by doing staff-assisted upper and lower body movements. Work-out videos are used occasionally and walks are taken outside around the building when weather permits. All work together to help establish healthy habits for participants.
Group discussions are facilitated and create an opportunity for individuals to communicate and express how they are feeling in a caring and friendly environment. Planning the monthly calendar is one of the highlights of discussion as they give their suggestions and exercise their options of activities. The Farmer’s Market is a favorite place to visit as they learn the difference between fruits, vegetables, and their various textures. Individuals are educated on the effects different foods have on the body and knowing how to differentiate nutrient dense, whole foods from junk foods.
They are given the option of choosing simple healthy recipes they would like to make during “Look and Make” activity. They may choose to learn how to make a fruit salad, smoothie or yogurt parfait with fresh strawberries.
Holidays are acknowledged by hosting special luncheons and parties, with participants preparing for the occasions by helping to decorate, creating the perfect ambiance for the occasion. They also dress up in semi-formal attire and take pictures. A nutritious and delicious lunch is served, incorporating fresh fruits and leafy green salads. Parents, providers and other core team members are invited and always welcomed to the Diamond Center.
“It warms my heart to see them dancing, laughing and having fun. Engaging and interacting with them results in everyone having a good time,” added Jones.
The goal at the Diamond Center Adult Day Program is for individuals to proceed to a higher level than their initial admission. It is very important to encourage healthy living, healthy diet and to engage individuals in ISP goals and community integration. The Diamond Center continuously strives to lead by example regarding principles of nutrition, encouraging healthier choices in every aspect of life and will continue to provide support looking at individuals as a whole.
In Rex, Georgia, the Diamond Center Adult Day Program has been a CACFP participant through Georgia Nutritional Services, Inc. since 2014.