Health and Wellness:

It is a shocking statistic that individuals with Serious Mental Illness (SMI) often have shorter life expectancies than people without SMI. Research has been done to determine the reasons for this and have found several contributing factors including:
  • Smoking
  • Sedentary lifestyle
  • Poor Diet
  • Side effects from medications that contribute to Metabolic Syndrome (MS) and cardiac problems
  • Substance Abuse
  • Lack of regular physical health monitoring in conjunction with psychiatric care provision due to lack of coordination in service provision, or poor follow up.
In response to the deaths of several beloved members that were due largely to cardio-pulmonary disease and smoking, program members and staff decided to create a “Wellness Committee” to explore ideas and resources for helping members in our community to live longer, healthier lives.

YMCA Health and Wellness Director Justin Cammarata provides
a thorough orientation to the Fitness Center for Elm Brook members

Opportunities for exercise:
Through a partnership with the North Suburban YMCA in Woburn, we are able to transport twice weekly group for an hour and a half work out for members wanting to utilize their extensive Fitness Center, Weight Room and Swimming pools. Additionally, Individual Y Memberships are offered at an income based discounted rate through their YMCA Membership for All program.
In-house at Elm Brook Place, we also have two Expresso Bicycles that feature customized video programs that allow users to choose from multiple scenic bike trails and “chase” games to keep exercise interesting and motivational! The program also allows users to track their progress and gives “awards” for milestone achievements.
Gifford Tubbs, a member at Elm Brook, hosts a weekly “Easy Yoga” class that teaches easy yoga moves and stretching.
Lastly, each summer we partner with Concord’s South Bridge Boat House for a guided kayak trip on the Concord River in which people were taught to paddle while learning about the historical significance of the river.

Improved Nutrition:
Elm Brook’s Culinary Unit is dedicated to providing nutritious, healthy and delicious meals at an affordable price. Menus are geared to be low fat, whole grain, and with lots of veggies. All meals including desserts are created sensitive to the needs of people living with Diabetes. Meals available include free continental breakfast, a choice of two lunch offerings every weekday for $1.50, and a variety of healthy take-home frozen dinners packaged in microwavable containers for $1.00 each.
Our Snack Bar offers healthy snacks and beverages including: baked chips; fruit and yogurt bars, flavored seltzer water, and all natural green tea beverages.
On Wednesdays, the Culinary Unit offers “Healthy Baking” in which low fat, low sugar desserts and snacks are prepared and sampled.
On Friday afternoons, all are welcome to join our “Healthy Cooking for One or Two” demonstration and tasting in which easy to prepare healthy recipes are created and sampled. All recipes are saved in a binder and available for reprint for anyone who wants to take them home and try them.
Ask a Nurse:
On the third Tuesday of each month, Patricia Ngaruiya, RN is available in the meeting room between 1:00 – 2:30pm for free confidential health consultation, blood pressure checks etc.