New England Village Logo Sollar Wellness Center

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Video Highlights New England Village’s Commitment to Health and Wellness

“Getting Enough” Directed and Produced by Susannah Locketti. Cinematography and Editing by Michael Mullen.

The establishment of the Wellness Center at New England Village has enhanced our commitment to promoting a healthy lifestyle for the men and women of the Village and others with disabilities from the community, and solidify our place as one of the premiere service providers for adults with developmental disabilities in the country.

Health care professionals agree, one of the most important components for leading a healthy lifestyle is good physical fitness. A moderate to high level of physical fitness enables a person to proceed through the course of their day undertaking their daily activities as well as leisure activities without becoming overly tired, thus allowing them to lead a quality lifestyle. A moderate to high level of physical fitness also helps to prevent certain conditions or diseases such as high blood pressure, obesity, adult-onset diabetes, osteoporosis, depression, low back pain, and general tiredness.1

Unfortunately, and it is well documented by professionals in the disability and health care fields, there has been a lack of focus on physical fitness for people with developmental disabilities resulting in fitness levels “significantly lower than the general population”2 in all areas of fitness, namely, muscle strength and endurance, flexibility, body composition (body fat), and cardiovascular endurance. For example, “whereas one-third of all Americans are overweight, close to one-half of people with mental retardation are overweight.”3

Neither percentage is gratifying, but the gap suggests a lack of awareness from health educators and professionals of the importance of physical fitness for people with disabilities.4 “Two major barriers to improving the fitness levels of someone with mental retardation are motivation and opportunity.”5

New England Village, through its established wellness programs, has consistently broken down these barriers for the men and women of the Village and the creation of a Wellness Center will further demonstrate our understanding of the importance of physical fitness and a healthy lifestyle for people with disabilities.

The Wellness Center is designed to provide numerous health, wellness and enrichment programs. The 14,000 square foot building includes a 30ft. x 50ft. swimming pool for therapy-based classes, a Jacuzzi, exercise equipment room, fitness area, a walking track, new art room including a pottery kiln, kitchen to accommodate cooking classes, a wellness education center and a massage therapy room . (Click on the above link to learn more about our Wellness Center programming.)

“For people with disabilities, inclusion in health promotion efforts continues to be limited by inaccessible programs and facilities.”6

Our Village founders always envisioned a ‘recreational center’ as a part of our Village campus. Original drawings and early architectural plans included this type of facility and throughout our history the subject of building such a facility has repeatedly arisen. Today, our concept of the center has changed slightly with our center focusing on health and wellness initiatives as well as recreational pursuits. Sharing our commitment to this project are Village family members Arnold and Seima Sollar. With their most generous lead gift and through their leadership and vision they have made this project possible, and it is in their honor that we have named the building the Sollar Wellness Center.

  1. Dr. James H. Rimmer, Ph.D., “Physical Fitness in People with Mental Retardation,” The Institute on Disability and Human Development, The University of Illinois at Chicago
  2. ibid.
  3. ibid.
  4. North Carolina Office on Disability and Health and the Massachusetts Office on Health and Disability. (2003). “The Health Promotion Resource Guide, Promoting the Health and Wellness of People with Disabilities. Chapel Hill: The University of North Carolina, FPG Child Development Institute, NCODH
  5. op. cit.
  6. op. cit.