Okay, I promise there will be more interesting and exotic posts to come, but for now rather than post nothing, let me just say we’re continuing to settle in well here. Other than our brief snow last weekend, the weather has continued to be un-scary and we had a day last week with brilliant blue skies as background to the snowy peaks that surround us, and we couldn’t stop saying how beautiful it was!
The biggest news, perhaps, since the last post, is that Mom did start at the Alzheimer’s Day Program last week, with a first very short day that crossed over lunch-time (since that had been an area of some concern for us) and it went swimmingly! So the next day we increased the time a bit, and again were met with rave reports from the director and staff when we came to pick her up.
One of the things that’s so impressive about this place is that most of the staff has been there a long time. The director has been there 30 years, and much of the staff has been around for many, many years. To me that says two things: one, the staff must be good to have been “kept on” for years and years, and two, the program must be good for the staff to stay enthusiastic and involved for so long.
And in my daily viewings of the place, I’d have to say that both do seem to be true. Most of their clients have Alzheimer’s, so none of Mom’s “issues” were at all daunting to them. And the staff is simply delightful. Caring, considerate, they’ve embraced Mom’s need to be gluten-free as a challenge, for instance, thus relieving us of the need to send a lunch every day. They post the menu for the month so I can see how the planned lunch might (or might not) work, and rather than seeing her need as a “bother” they seem intrigued to see how well they can adapt. It’s a “little thing” but actually means quite a lot to us, and to me says quite a lot about them!
Although Mom has no actual recollection of having gone there each day, or what she did, or who she saw, they report — and what I see when I go inside to pick her up each day — that she’s doing great, joining in, and having a good time. They had her playing the piano the other day, and singing, so that can only be a good thing.
They have an “arts and crafts” program, too, and did some kind of sponge painting the other day. There was a bit of a challenge, it seems, since Mom kept wanting to eat the sponges, but as one staffer commented, “At least the sponges were gluten free!”
We’re also beginning to settle in to a “pattern” of weekly schedule of taking on some of the Avila-duty! Looks like the ongoing schedule will have us picking her up at Nana Kate’s a couple of afternoons a week (which has the wonderful side benefit of often having Jen be able to stick around for dinner when she comes to pick her up), and then probably one day a week we’ll have her for slightly more of a “full day.”
It’s a delightful balance of having enough time with her to really “get to know her” while still making it possible for me to get my own work done.
More to come in the next few days — I’ll give a more detailed look at some of the costs of things here, and a look at our local library and the AMAZING county “health club” that’s about 10 minutes away. We went for a tour this past week and were so blown away we couldn’t even get ourselves organized to join, so we’ll do that this week and I’ll report in.
We miss Costa Rica — mostly our friends, and of course the lovely weather — but we’re thrilled to be here. Stay tuned for more news….