Charlene was eager to start cooking in her apartment after living in a nursing home for two years. She wanted tasty food and she wanted to cook it for herself. She found it especially trying for someone attempting to eat gluten free in a nursing home.

“At the time… I had very limited choices for nutritious gluten free meals. Quite often, it was a plate of gluten free pasta, or Rice Krispies.”
She transitioned out of nursing home care to her own apartment through the Community Transition Services offered at The Independence Center in July of 2014. During her two years in a nursing home, her husband had passed away unexpectedly. This left Charlene with no place to go home to. Having never lived alone, she was being discharged from a nursing home to live independently all by herself.

Once settled in her new apartment, she began to cook for herself. Her concerns were to make nutritious food that also tasted good. Charlene admits she put on weight after leaving the nursing home and says, “Knowing about food and nutrition is very helpful for weight loss and a lot of things, seeing as how I am doing everything on my own now.”

About a year after transition, when her transition services were about to be finished, she was offered a spot in the Diabetes Education Class at The Independence Center. The class is part of a program to help people with disabilities learn how to prevent or control diabetes through diet and exercise. This is important because people with disabilities experience diabetes at a much higher rate than the general population.

Charlene takes a great deal of notes throughout the Diabetes Education Class. “They teach us how the pancreas works, what glucose is and how it goes into the cells, what are simple carbs, complex carbs, a lot of information…. Every two months we come here and talk to Martha the nutritionist and she’ll catch up on what we’ve been doing and give us a new set of information to practice the next two months and then come back.

“I think one of the biggest things [I’ve learned] is peas are not a vegetable. Peas are 100% carbs. If you have peas on your plate, then you [shouldn’t] have the potatoes. We were really upset about the peas,” she chuckles good-naturedly.

When asked if there is one word that describes the difference in her as a person between now and eighteen months ago, Charlene answers enthusiastically: “Independence! I’m way independent now! I had always been married so I didn’t know anything about living alone. The Independence Center with the community transition program was amazing. If it wasn’t for them, I don’t know what I would have done because I didn’t know anything about where to begin.”

The Diabetic Education program was made possible by a $7,500 grant from the Myron Stratton Grants Program. Support from the program aims to promote healthy living as a person with diabetes or prediabetes. It serves to make her independence that much more secure, so she can live as she wants to live – independently. ~ JT

21st century pie chart

The IC’s 2015 Grants and Sponsorships as of Oct. 1, 2015


  • Sam’s Club granted $1,000 to buy equipment for consumers to improve health.
  • The Myron Stratton Home granted $7,500 for diabetes education for staff and consumers.
  • Corporate Sponsors collectively funded $11,330 and paid for our ADA Celebration.
  • National Council on Independent Living (NCIL) is paying $20,000 for a Spinal Cord Injury Program which includes a peer support group, outreach, equipment, and field trips.
  • Pikes Peak Area Council of Governments (PPACG) awarded $25,000 for equipment to enhance independence and the quality of life for seniors with reduced vision.
  • Daniels Fund awarded $45,000 for equipment to be given to Red Cross Shelters that will enhance the accessibility of emergency disaster shelters.
  • Regional Care Collaborative Organization Region 7 (RCCO 7) awarded two grants. One will test a reporting system by caregivers to see if collected information can prevent hospitalizations; the other grant provides ADA coordination for the RCCO7.

2015 ADA Celebration Sponsors

Central Bancorp Insurance
Network Insurance Services
Cascade Investment Group
Denver Management Advisors
Health South
Mellat, Pressman, Higbie
Kelley Vivian
US Bank
United Healthcare
Meeting the Challenge
The Arc
Yellow Cab
AT&T Relay
RMHC Services