Ages 18 and up
Xcell is a program for adults with Down syndrome (ages 18+) and their families/caregivers. Aging really does matter and the quality of life for our aging population should be the BEST:
B – Better Socialization
E – Exercise and Healthy Eating Awareness
S – Self Expression through Music and Art
T – Time for FUN with Peers
Xcell program activities are specifically tailored to helping individuals and families navigate each stage of adulthood – from high school transition to older age. Programs are dementia-capable and focus on providing participants with inclusive community opportunities and experiences that enhance their quality of life and lead to self-fulfilled adulthoods. Caregivers support and workshops provide opportunities to network and connect, and learn more about each stage of the aging process.
Join the Fun
Xcell for adults with Down syndrome offers group sessions, activities and events three times a month. Currently, the group is meeting virtually for a series of fun, exercise, heath and wellness, and activity-based sessions. The program also offers community-based activities in person.
Meet the Facilitators
Barbara Bruno has two adult nieces with Down syndrome. Through her work as a habilitation, attendant care, and respite provider, Barbara has extensive experience in working with individuals with intellectual disabilities and their families.
Jill Pearns is the proud mom of an adult son with Down syndrome. She is an advocate for individuals with intellectual disabilities and has taught strategies that encourage a healthy lifestyle and in doing so, giving those who participate the knowledge and opportunity that can help them to have a better quality of life.
National Down Syndrome Society (NDSS) Guides for Caregivers.
The risk of Alzheimer’s disease in adults with Down syndrome can stir deep feelings of fear and anxiety for family, friends, and caregivers who are otherwise trying to focus on supporting a healthy and fulfilling adult life for an individual they love. Education is one way to reclaim some power over a situation where it is impossible to have total control. This booklet was written to help empower families and caregivers with knowledge about the connection between Down syndrome and Alzheimer’s, suggestions about how to carefully and thoughtfully evaluate changes that may be observed with aging, and guidance about how to adapt within an ever-changing caregiving role.
Adults with Down syndrome, along with their families and caregivers, need accurate information and education about what to anticipate as a part of growing older, so they can set the stage for successful aging. The purpose of this booklet is to help with this process. It is intended to be used by various learners: families, professionals, direct caregivers or anyone concerned with the general welfare of someone with Down syndrome.
Excell Henry Gautheaux
Loving Memory 1967-2019
DSNetwork’s Xcell program was named – Xcell for Adults with Down syndrome — in loving memory of Excell Henry Gauthreaux who was born in 1967 with Down syndrome. He won the hearts of everyone he met because of his award-winning SMILE. Excell and his mother Frances were the inspiration behind the program. Frances continues to pave the way for other parents who have an adult with Down syndrome by sharing the vast knowledge learned while caring for Excell. Excell’s family – his mom, dad and sister – cared for him and supported each other through the challenges they faced, especially after he was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. DSNetwork is proud to further the vision bestowed upon us from Excell’s family by offering the Xcell program for adults with Down syndrome.
What people are saying
“At each Xcell program, Maddison likes to share information and ideas about how to incorporate more healthy food items and exercise into her peer’s lives,” says her mom. “Maddison has inspired her friends to make healthier choices and participate in activities such as adaptive Zumba, yoga and hiking.”
Exercise is fun – its as easy as walking the dog,” said Maddison.
~ Maddison, Xcell Participant
“Annie and Rose are Best Friends Forever! Annie’s mom noticed the two women truly enjoyed each other’s company. However, they were starting to become isolated and not doing activities outside the home. When they joined the Xcell program, Annie and Rose started attending the group activities including art and cooking classes, karaoke, bowling, and sports games. Now, they have made a group of friends and are more active than ever.”
~ Annie & Rose, Xcell Participants