A partnership between the Good Samaritan Society and Carver County Public Health is helping to improve the health and emotional and mental well-being of the residents of Westview Acres in Waconia.

The partnership, which began four years ago, was formed to help the staff of Westview Acres implement a variety of health-based programming for residents at the senior living center.

Through the support of Carver County Public Health’s Statewide Health Improvement Partnership (SHIP), eight separate programs have been implemented at Westview Acres. Those programs have included new healthy foods offerings, brain fitness classes and balance classes, a fall prevention program, evidence-based exercise and education classes, a raised bed produce garden and a fitness walking program, among others.

In addition, through the support of Carver County Public Health SHIP, Westview Acres Life Enrichment staff have each become certified trainers for all of the programs being offered.

“Without this partnership we would not be able to have implemented these programs due to the cost of supplies and training,” said Emily Henderson, Campus Administrator for Good Samaritan Society, Westview Acres. “The residents and staff are very appreciative of the funding we have received through Carver County SHIP.”

SHIP is a state-based program through the Minnesota Department of Health that works at the local level to support healthier communities by expanding opportunities for active living, healthy eating, well-being and commercial tobacco-free living.

Henderson said that the participants in all of the programs feel better physically, mentally and emotionally and that an added benefit is the socialization that occurs and the friendships participants have made throughout the past several years.

“I enjoy teaching the residents ways to improve their health through education, physical activity and problem solving. The smiles on their faces and their words of thanks for offering these innovative programs is priceless,” said Denise Leonhardt, CTRS, Life Enrichment Director for Good Samaritan Society, Westview Acres.

Carver County Public Health manages a wide range of programs and efforts designed to promote and protect the health and well-being of all Carver County residents - from infants and the elderly, to suburban and rural residents alike - thereby improving the overall health of the county.

“The need to eat healthy and stay fit through exercise never ends, and the benefits of recognizing that fact reach far beyond the individual,” said Dawn Plumer, Public Health Program Specialist at Carver County.

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