Senior facility hopes to provide community programs

Photo provided
The Waters of Huntingburg is celebrating its' 40th anniversary. Originally named The Huntingburg Convalescent Center, the center held an open house on Jan. 8, 1978 and the next day began admitting residents.

By CANDY NEAL
cneal@dcherald.com

HUNTINGBURG — The Waters of Huntingburg is celebrating its 40th anniversary this year by looking to the future of senior care.

And with the baby boomer generation on the horizon, there must be changes in how the needs in senior care are met.

“We are finding a lot of families trying to care for their loved ones at home,” said Jared Denton, administrator at the Waters. “That is something that we would like to work with the community, to be able to provide some needed or desired intervention/prevention programs like for preventing falls.

“We can educate people on the different things that we do at the facility that they can do at home.”

Since the Waters opened on Jan. 3, 1978, it has become a staple in the Huntingburg community. The 95-bed facility is home to residents from different communities in this region, the majority being Huntingburg and Jasper residents. The nursing facility has evolved over the years, to include rehabilitation and outpatient therapy services along with temporary and permanent residency options.

Brittney Lohmiller/The Herald
The Waters of Huntingburg CNA and activities coordinator Suzanne Hart, left, and resident Margie Short enjoy listening to karaoke on Wednesday morning. Patient Care Liaison Lindsey Burger helped lead residents in the karaoke and tries to have the activity once a month. "I think the residents love it and music is great therapy," Burger said.

While the facility overall has remained intact, in June 2004, a wing was sectioned off and remodeled to create Hope Springs. The 18-bed wing caters to residents with dementia. Instead of being dominated by long halls, the area has big open spaces that are used for activities to engage residents’ minds and encourage memories.

One of Denton’s goals is to create that kind of environment in the other areas of the nursing home.

“It’s very quiet. It’s very peaceful and relaxing,” he said. “I’d like to emulate that in the rest of our facility. I’d like to be able to visually break up different areas.”

For instance, he wants to add a library or meditation room to the facility. “We want to create an environment where a resident can go in and get away from other things and relax,” he said. “It would be more of a dim lighting, so it would be more easy on the eyes.”

He would also like to establish a communications room. “We have a lot of residents who have iPads,” Denton said. “I want to create an environment where they can go and Skype and do things like that. It doesn’t have to be done just in their rooms.”

Brittney Lohmiller/The Herald
The Waters of Huntingburg resident Delbert Toley sings during karaoke in the facility's dining room on Oct. 17.

The Waters is also looking to have more programs in the community, especially since more seniors are staying in their homes longer, Denton said, either on their own or with the help of family.

“We would be glad to share,” he said. “It’s not just providing a skilled center, but also providing ways for family members to continue care for their loved ones, at least until it gets to the point where they need different assistance.”

Denton, who has been at the Waters for about 10 months, said he would like to talk to community leaders to set up educational talks for the public.

“It’s not to get everybody in here,” he said. “If you need this, then yes we can provide that. But what else can we do to help families and help the community?”

Photo provided
At the center's ribbon cutting in 1978 was, front row, from left, Karen Thyen, activities director; Marilyn Williams, administrator; Mona Junge, director of nurses; Huntingburg Mayor Dale Helmerich; Patricia Durcholz, R.N.; Leonard Borman, owner; and Kenneth Maikranz, owner. Second row: Jackie Hachmeister, housing supervisor; Judy Feldmeyer, R.N.; Gretchen Kunz, G.P.N.; Robert Parks, maintenance; Donna Burford, G.P.N; Matha Thewes, receptionist; and Sharon Begle, dietary supervisor.



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