Getting Fit to Live, Work, and Play
- Over 5,000 individuals with disabilities received mental wellness services throughout the project
- 940 Texans with disabilities received health, fitness, and wellness services
- 872 Texans with disabilities received training in formal or informal community support
- Improved 27 health care programs and policies
- 41 entities participated, supported, and collaborated in Get Fit to Live, Work, and Play
Medical management alone isn’t effective in meeting the health and wellness needs of many people with developmental disabilities (DD). People with DD are more likely to have health issues including obesity and many are less likely to engage in physical leisure activities. A large number of people with DD live near the poverty level, so health club memberships may be cost prohibitive. People with DD more often rely on public healthcare, and the growing cost of long-term care has restricted the access and quality of services. Regular exercise is imperative and as publicly funded healthcare costs continue to grow, public systems like Medicaid are increasingly seeking cost-containment strategies.
Improve the overall health of people with DD by providing access to information and programs and demonstrate efficacy of health and fitness programs to statewide partners.
Getting Fit to Live, Work, and Play developed health and fitness programs and educational opportunities for Texans with disabilities. The program was administered by State Independent Living Council (SILC) and implemented by Centers for Independent Living (CIL) partners: Brazos Valley CIL, LIFE/RUN CIL, Volar, Mounting Horizons CIL, and Valley Association for Independent Living.
The project was executed through a three-tiered approach. The first tier centered on increasing the availability of and access to fitness programs for individuals with DD. The second tier connected participants to health programs in their areas. With help from professionals, participants developed fitness plans to help reach self-defined goals. The final tier focused on raising awareness of the importance of health and fitness programs for people with DD.
CIL partners use Independent Living Plans (ILP) to track and determine goals and progress. ILPs created a framework of immediate and measurable health and fitness steps to be taken within a time frame. When a participant identified a health and fitness goal, they were given access to an Independent Living Specialist and a Health and Fitness Specialist to ensure that they could achieve their goals.
Over the project life, Texas SILC and CIL project partners provided physical, social, and recreational activities (e.g. aerobic training, yoga, nutrition classes) that are shown to have a positive impact on mental health. Data from this project and positive outcomes enabled CIL partners to continue to include health and fitness activities as part of their Independent Living contracts issued by the Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC).