Local memory care resident greatly helped by exercise

WGN9TV by: Katharin Czink, Dina Bair
Posted: Sep 9, 2021 / 10:27 PM CDT / Updated: Sep 9, 2021 / 10:27 PM CDT

In recent months, there have been significant developments in the fight against Alzheimer’s Disease, with a new drug and new law entering the picture.

Aducanumab was approved by the FDA in June, and in Illinois, there’s now expanded training to help health care providers spot the signs of dementia sooner.
For those already in the depths of the disease however, it can be the simple pleasures that keep them afloat each day.

“Dolores is always cheerful but there was an extra spark when she was back in the pool,” Senior Star Health and Wellness Coordinator Alissa Koenig said.

Dolores Marcotte is a resident at Senior Star Memory Care in Romeoville, where weekly pool time is giving the 92-year-old a new purpose. “I was so happy when I saw the pool here,” Marcotte said. Koenig said that familiar space has helped Dolores regain independence in the pool, with a space to herself that she can do whatever she wants with.

“I haven’t been swimming much since I got out of high school, but it’s coming back,” Marcotte said. Marcotte has Alzheimer’s, but in the water, the memories came flooding back.

“The first time she came to our pool, it came back to her. She dove right in, she immediately was doing the side stroke and she started being able to move her legs and arms like she’s never been able to do on land before,” Koenig said. It’s a familiar place for Dolores, a reminder of trips taken long ago to the coast with her husband and family.

“Exercise is wonderful for the body of course, but that mind, it keeps going. So in the pool, we’re swimming but she’s also remembering the trips and the travels she’s gone on, the memories she made with her family traveling to beaches and pools,” Koenig said.
Here, her body and mind are free.

“You meet them where they are at and find what they enjoy doing, so whether it’s just walking in the pool, it’s just floating and reminiscing, exercising the muscles, anything you can do that they enjoy, get them in and have fun,” Koenig said.

Swimming isn’t the only activity offered at the Southwest Suburban facility. Residents take part in a range of exercise classes designed to increase balance, strength and agility.