BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB)- Polish WWII veteran Stanley Markut lights up as he walks over to his exercise bike.
He spends 20 minutes on it every time he comes to the VA’s Adult Day Health Care Center in the Northtown Plaza on Sheridan Drive.
The 97-year-old started coming here to stay active.
“I’m a lucky guy,” he told News 4.
“I’m still driving, I’m still keeping up the garden.”
From Tai Chi to puzzles, physical therapy to enjoying lunch, there’s always something for him to do; it’s a place for veterans to get healthcare and relax at the same time.
“They come twice a week, they get therapy, a lot of it is socialization. The comradery here of everyone being a veteran,” explained program manager Bernadette Webster.
The goal is to keep local veterans independent for as long as possible, so they can stay in their homes as opposed to going to long-term care facilities.
They spend the day at the center, and return home in the evening.
It seems to be working for Stanley. His wife Tola Markut, also a veteran, spends time at the Adult Day Care Center too.
Robert Dersam used to be a patient; he suffered a debilitating brain aneurysm several years ago. At one point he didn’t think he’d ever walk again.
“Some of my best friends are from here now,” he said, relaxing in one of the common areas.
He’s now a volunteer. He leads the vets in group song every week. He’s also walking.
“I just can’t have enough gratitude for the people that have been here with me for all these years,” Dersam said.
The center offers care for dementia patients, medication management, and support for caregivers.
For Stanley, the most important thing it offers is a place to keep moving.
“Always keep busy,” he said.
“The doctor told me when you are born in the first hour you are kicking around. And you’ve got to kick around all your life.”