Wellness Center at Rio Grande Hospital taking shape

Courtesy photo In the photo on left are the first foundations for the extended-care cottages located on the south side of the new Rio Grande Wellness Center at the Rio Grande Hospital.

DEL NORTE — Rio Grande Hospital is creating a place with unique new services and education for our communities. Its Wellness Center will be a training and learning center offering ways to focus on wellness and prevention.

According to architect, Lisa Carpenter, "This project has truly been a dream. My favorite projects are anytime I get to design a building or space that will function to improve people's lives, and I believe this building will impact a lot of lives."

How will the Wellness Center serve people; how will they use it? Here are some highlights:

Visitors will be able can learn how to eat a healthier diet through cooking classes. The Teaching Kitchen will provide demonstrations of tasty and cost-effective recipes. Classes will further impart the health benefits of cooking and eating a plant-slant diet, such as boosting immunity and gut health, helping with blood pressure, or strengthening bones.

Those who have chronic kidney disease or diabetes, can receive training in preparing home meals that will not aggravate their condition; or be coached on ways to substitute ingredients and ways to blend in herbs and spices.

The Center will have a Community Lounge to connect with others. This welcoming space is large and roomy, yet intimate and comfortable enough to have a conversation over coffee with a friend, watch the bison herd, read a book, use a computer, or just relax in a peaceful atmosphere.

In addition, the lounge will create a safe place where families can talk, share, and enjoy time together during convalescence.

A large Community Hall with up-Valley views, will provide a barrier-free meeting space during the day for the hospital staff to come together, and at night for large community groups, local businesses, and service organization events.

The hall will accommodate activities such as catered events, seminars, health conferences, prevention workshops, annual meetings, retreats for local organizations, or employee wellness programs for local businesses.

The Wellness Center's Fitness Studio will allow the public and hospital staff to attend Yoga, CrossFit Movement, or Tai Chi classes. People can use a variety of exercise equipment while learning ways to exercise at home for stress reduction or toning the body.

The studio will be a place to practice good health after medical treatment or diagnosis. For patients who graduated from cardio/pulmonary rehab, it provides transitional wellness programs.

The inviting outdoor walkways are safe walking paths benefiting mobility and social networking.

In the Garden Meeting Room patients, staff, and community members can meet in private while enjoying the benefits of a "living herb wall." This is an indoor vertical herbal plant garden with information showing how to grow and cook with herbs.

The room functions as a place to host workshops and training sessions. Learn how to deal with illness through lifestyle changes, better cope with serious anxiety, or experience and practice the multiple elements of mindfulness within a support group.

Two private quiet rooms will allow people to sit back, unwind, and reflect. The rooms will be beneficial to those needing to calm from crisis incident stress or to those who are experiencing job stress.

Plans for the Wellness Center include facilitating computer training and providing computers for patients to catch up on missed work, for upskilling the staff, and for the public.

The facility will be focused on sharing holistic health practices with staff and the community through hands-on experiences to form healthier lifestyle habits.