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Cooking Up Something Good

Compared to other at-risk populations, people with intellectual and developmental disabilities are significantly more likely to suffer from a variety of diet-related complications and conditions such as obesity, diabetes, and heart disease (Gast et al., 2021). That being the case, as part of Sunrise’s mission to create valued lives for people with disabilities, it is a major priority that the people we support have ample access to high quality and healthy meals, especially in a Sunrise group home. But that can be easier said than done.

Additional research focused on ensuring people with disabilities have access to nutritional foods has also revealed that, among one of the key challenges for caregivers and staff, is an increasing lack of adequate accommodations. As an example, one report noted the importance of giving caregivers greater access to more modern kitchen appliances and tools, as well as healthy ingredients, to ensure that the individuals they support receive consistent and frequent healthy meals (Ruud et al., 2016). Those same researchers emphasized that, by providing the appropriate resources in the kitchen, caregivers could significantly reduce reliance on faster, less healthy meals.

Considering the importance of having access to a well-appointed kitchen when providing services to people with disabilities, we are excited to share the incredible transformation of our Overlook home here in Connecticut. Thanks to an incredibly generous donation from The Hartford Foundation for Public Giving, we were able to completely remodel the kitchen of a home that currently provides round-the-clock residential care to 6 adults with complex intellectual and developmental disabilities. Their support enabled us to completely replace the countertops, cupboards, and sink with more modern, durable, and hygienic materials. We were also able to replace the aging appliances for more efficient units. Overall, these significant improvements now make prep work, cooking, and clean up a breeze for our dedicated Sunrise staff!

We are so grateful for the Hartford Foundation’s ongoing support! Thank you for creating greater accessibility to healthy, delicious meals for the people we support!


Gast, D. A. A., Wit, G. L. C., Hoof, A., Vries, J. H. M., Hemert, B., Didden, R., & Giltay, E. J. (2021). Diet quality among people with intellectual disabilities and borderline intellectual functioning. Journal of Applied Research in Intellectual Disabilities, 35(2), 488–494. https://doi.org/10.1111/jar.12958

Ruud, M. P., Raanaas, R. K., & Bjelland, M. (2016). Caregivers’ perception of factors associated with a healthy diet among people with intellectual disability living in community residences: A concept mapping method. Research in Developmental Disabilities, 59, 202–210. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ridd.2016.09.006