Facility keeps Alzheimer's patients active

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A west Indianapolis woman is sharing her solution when she realized she could no longer care for her mother, who has Alzheimer's.

Sweeping helps Marta Rodenhuis with her balance, she likes helping out because it gets her moving, something her daughter says was rarely happening anymore at home.

"She didn't really didn't do anything except sit on the couch and watch TV and go to sleep," said her daughter, Patty Hildebrand.

That's changed since Marta moved to Auguste's Cottage in Washington Healthcare Center on the west side. The activity schedule starts at seven in the morning and runs until seven at night. The 15- to 30-minute intervals address the short attention span of the Alzheimer's patient population.

"I like music," Marta said.

"I could not keep that up. There is no way I can read to her and move to music and keep her occupied with bingo every day or doing her nails. I couldn't do it," Hildebrand said.

Now when they visit, they share memories. Like what it was like in Germany during World War II.

"(Nights were no) fun because of the airplanes and the bombing. You guys don't know what war is," Marta said.

She says her husband helped her cross the border and flee to America to start a family.

"I remember on Sundays, we used to have the polkas and me and mom and dad would dance around the house, doing the polkas," Hildebrand recalled.

Marta now keeps a tradition she shares with her husband - always first on the dance floor.

"It's really fun for them and you can see who the people were that were dancers and those who just stand and watched, but definitely Marta is one of the dancers. That is always fun to see," said Allison Avila LPN, Washington Healthcare Center.

"We have noticed that she has done really well here," Hildebrand said.

If you, too, are dealing with Alzheimer's, we invite you to our health fair this Saturday. The focus is providing information, resources and support for caregivers and patients. The fair is free and runs from 9 a.m. until noon at the Community Healthplex Sports Club on Guion Road.