By Jeanine Genauer ~
Daily rituals and activities associated with taking care of oneself are often taken for granted as we race through the day with our daily regimens. Cooking, loading a dishwasher or opening a can aren’t given a second thought. For those who have suffered a brain injury or other physical setback, these simple everyday tasks are nearly impossible and need to be relearned. Mastering how to make blueberry muffins from a prepackaged mixture is as difficult to these individuals as creating a holiday meal is to the average person. Learning how much energy to expend, how to open a box, how to access a faucet and cooking on a stovetop from a wheelchair are just some of the obstacles they face.
Juniper Village at the Spearly Center proudly assists people who suffer from brain injuries, traumatic physical injuries, chronic mental illness or neurological disorders. It has been a long-standing goal of the community to provide its residents with a fun, safe and enriched environment to perform skills prescribed by occupational therapists to help them be more independent.
This past month, Spearly’s goal to provide a suitable practice kitchen was met with the opening of their new Life Skills Center. A multi-faceted space, the Life Skills Center provides a therapeutic opportunity for residents to practice making meals, navigating all kitchen appliances, and utilizing a dishwasher. These opportunities are profound for those residents rehabbing from traumatic injuries to return home, to those who simply want to maintain an important skill set.
Another wonderful benefit of the Life Skills Center is the implementation of a resident cooking program through Spearly’s Connections Department. Many people who are permanent residents at the Spearly Center miss cooking and baking and are excited to share their favorite recipes. Baking holiday cookies are certain to be a big hit within the community.
The impact of a cooking program can be summed up in this quote by an individual who received cooking OT, “When I cooked my first muffins, which are as simple as can be, it seemed I had crossed a big threshold.”
“Eventually we hope to also have this space serve as a meet and greet center for our international associates to prepare and serve meals from their native countries. We are proud to add another worthwhile programming space to our unique and therapeutic community,” said Susan Pappas, NHA, CPI Certified Instructor.
Juniper Village at the Spearly Center is located at 2205 W. 29th Avenue, Denver, CO 80211. Telephone 720.504.2616. https://junipercommunities.com/community/juniper-village-at-the-spearly-center/