–Rebecca Amuso Wendell, Program Director
WHATEVER THEY CHOOSE to do, residents feel safe in the knowledge that staff are on hand 24 hours a day to assist with activities of daily living, serve delicious meals, and help them meet their goals. Riverbrook’s stellar staff are trained to be thoughtful and supportive above all else; their number one objective is to help the residents lead their best lives. The team encourages independence and sExit Visual Builderelf-reliance while always making sure the women know they are there to help.
RIVERBROOK STAFF know that learning doesn’t end after the initial training period; at monthly staff meetings they learn new skills, techniques, and information that can immediately be applied to the work at hand. Riverbrook’s annual staff turnover rate well below the national average; residents form healthy, trusting, long-term relationships with team members who care for them deeply.
FITNESS & RECREATION
FROM EXCURSIONS on hiking trails to trips into town, the residents of Riverbrook enjoy an active life by any measure. An extensive indoor and outdoor recreation program enables women with disabilities to maintain physical and mental strength through activities that tone the body and relax the mind.
RIVERBROOK HAS its own fitness room and where staff tailors activities to meet the needs of each individual woman, incorporating weights, aerobic exercise, balance and stretching activities. Residents also participate in weekly movement therapy classes, swimming, bowling, and dancing. Advanced athletes compete in horseback riding and train for the summer and winter Special Olympics. Body work and massage with a licensed massage therapist are available to the women.
RESIDENTS ENJOY exercise classes at Berkshire South Community Center, where they also swim during the winter. Many take movement and yoga classes at the nationally-recognized Kripalu Yoga Center.
LIVING IN one of the most naturally beautiful environments in the United States gives Riverbrook women many opportunities that vary by season – they can hike through the Berkshire mountains or cross country ski through the fields which are literally situated at their back door.
RIVERBROOK’S HUMAN RIGHTS Committee ensures that the rights and freedoms of Riverbrook women are completely respected. The Committee is comprised of a social worker, attorney, psychiatric nurse, and local citizens and guardians of individuals who are not associated with Riverbrook. In this way, a high standard of objectivity is maintained.
RIVERBROOK IS an environment in which women with developmental disabilities are supported to understand and actively exercise their human rights. In its 2010 review, the State of Massachusetts Department of Developmental Services noted that the Riverbrook women “were able to articulate basic human rights as well as speak to how they had been supported to exercise them in various settings.”
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Riverbrook Residents Enjoy
- Dinners out and at friends’ homes
- Attending religious services & bible study
- Gardening in the accessible garden
- Swimming in Riverbrook’s pool
- Spending time with volunteers
- Town Meetings and other local events
- The Berkshires’ many cultural events
HEALTH & NUTRITION
THE HEALTH of Riverbrook’s residents is a priority. Our Health Services co-ordinator provides comprehensive care and accompanies residents to all medical appointments. Minor medical needs are treated and referrals are made as necessary. Riverbrook’s RN also reviews the medication system and makes sure that all employees are properly certified and trained. Each resident receives annual physicals, semi-annual dental exams, and eye exams every two years. In addition, local medical specialists are consulted as needed. Families are kept updated on the women’s general health and notified promptly should any issues arise.
RIVERBROOK RESIDENTS ENJOY nutritious home-cooked meals, often prepared with organic ingredients from our own garden and local producers. Riverbrook’s Chef and Nutritional Manager consults with our RN to tailor meal planning to meet individual medical needs through healthy diet. Riverbrook women assist with meal preparation and in the garden as part of their day program.