Making salad for dinner with lettuce grown by her 18-year-old daughter Abby, Laurel couldn’t believe how far she has come since moving into a Yooralla supported accommodation.
“Before Yooralla we couldn’t even imagine that Abby could be as independent as she is today. She grows her own vegetables and has developed a keen interest for cooking and baking.
“She now also helps with tidying up her room and doing laundry.
“This is a huge transformation and a testament to the skill and experience of the staff who support Abby, as before Yooralla she didn’t have many independent living skills and preferred junk food over healthy food,” she said.
Betty Bletas, Service Manager at the house where Abby lives, said that Yooralla’s Enhanced Healthy Eating program, which was rolled out to all residential sites at Yooralla in June 2020, played an important role in Abby’s transformation.
“The program works by educating, empowering and involving the residents to take control of their health, whilst enjoying delicious home cooked meals,” she said.
When Abby, who is non-verbal, first moved to Yooralla accommodation, her favourite food was two-minute noodles. Now her diet consists of a wide variety of nutritious and wholesome foods.
“Now instead of toast with jam for breakfast, for example, Abby will have eggs on toast or a mango smoothie; instead of two-minute noodles, she’ll have a chicken and salad wrap for lunch, and fish with broccoli and peas for dinner,” said Betty.
“As a result, Abby has lost some weight and her health and wellbeing have significantly improved.
“The most exciting part is that Abby’s perspective on food and her palate has changed. She will now make healthier food choices herself; she actually prefers healthy food over junk food now,” said Betty.
Supported by Yooralla staff, Abby plans her weekly menus herself and then participates in the preparation of her meals.
“With staff support, Abby is in charge of making sure that all the required ingredients for a meal are out on the kitchen bench before we start cooking and she is also in charge of peeling all the vegetables,” said Betty.
The Enhanced Healthy Eating program also promotes that eating treats in moderation are an important part of healthy eating and making your own is a great way to cut out unnecessary fats, sugars and preservatives.
“Baking muffins with different flavours has been Abby’s latest passion!” said Betty.
Mum Laurel said it was clear that Abby was “very settled and happy” at her Yooralla home.
“We are so grateful to the wonderful Yooralla staff who have so successfully supported Abby to develop independent living skills by providing an environment where she is happy, comfortable and safe,” she said.