Settling in nicely

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!

Snow-capped mountains on the other side of the lake

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!”  ;-)

Starting early with the New York Times

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….

This entry was posted in Cost of Living, Family, Health and Medical, Moving back to the U.S., Weather. Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to Settling in nicely

  1. Barbara says:

    Arden,

    Miss you all down here in Ticolandia.
    No bites yet on our house. We keep hoping.
    A couple of questions:
    Did you have any problem with your driver’s license? Is our CR ones acceptable?
    How about car insurance? Since you have resided outside the country for 5 years.

    Hugs to all,
    Doug and Barbara

    • arden says:

      Hi, Doug and Barb,

      Great to hear from you. And, yes, we miss being there, but we also love being here, so on balance it’s just fine!

      Haven’t done the driver’s licenses yet — that’s on the list for this week. I keep putting it off just because since my old U.S. license had expired, I need to take the written test so just need to take the time to actually *read* the Utah handbook since there’s always a few “state-specific” kinds of questions. David had managed to renew his Maine license by mail a few years ago so he can swap over easily. But we haven’t had any trouble actually “using” the CR licenses — we rented a car, for instance, got car insurance, titled the car we bought, all with our CR licenses.

      And, no, we didn’t have any trouble getting car insurance. We went with Farmer’s — don’t know if the company would matter — but there was no question either about our not having had insurance for so long, or with the CR licenses.

      So far, we haven’t run into a single speed-bump (metaphorically *and* literally) other than some initial glitches with the internet “playing nice” with all my various email addresses, and apparently if I’d just gotten off my butt and called them right away, that could have been resolved more quickly and easily. So can’t really blame that on them! In fact, part of what we marvel at each day is how “easy” life is.

      Good luck with the house. Hope you can get some action on it during this “selling season” before the rain starts up again. We miss you all.

      hugs,
      –arden–

  2. Sharron Frye-Agulia says:

    Hi Arden,
    I enjoy reading your blogs and, I LOVE being back in Fla. It was almost worth the money I put in that house in Los Angeles Sur to make me appreciate what I now have here. Good luck.
    Sharron

    • arden says:

      Hi, Sharron,

      So good to hear from you! I’m so glad you’re enjoying Florida. It’s certainly true that spending time *outside* the U.S. helps one appreciate some of the things we always took for granted here. We almost daily marvel at the wide, paved streets here, the vast array of inexpensive food at the supermarket, and, at least here in Utah, the people are so nice it’s almost scary! ;-) We loved much about Costa Rica, and *will* be going back in years to come for visits, but we’re also delighted to be here. Hope all continues to go well for you there!
      –arden–

  3. Ardis Nicholson says:

    Arden, enjoying your posts, especially hearing how Phyllis is doing. I’m glad there is a “day care” for her. It sounds really great. Thanks. I can also fully understand relocating any where in the world to be near a grandchild. I can’t imagine not having had mine here in town all of their lives. Conner’s boys are 8 and 9, and Kelly’s Abigail is 9. How time flies.

    • arden says:

      Hi, Ardis,

      So GREAT to hear from you. Yes, we’d had no idea that mom would be the right “fit” for a day program, but we’re thrilled to have found this one. She seems to be thriving there, and not only do we enjoy some much-needed peace and quiet (now that she simply never seems to stop talking) but I know it’s much better for her, too. She’s having fun, they love her there, seem to really dote on her, she’s making “friends” (a somewhat fuzzy concept when you can’t remember someone one minute to the next, but in a very “in the moment” life, she’s definitely spending “friendly time” with people, including another college professor from South Africa who doesn’t talk much, which is the perfect complement to mom’s incessant talking.) ;-)

      We LOVE being close to Avila, and have a perfect schedule of watching her several times a week, so enough to be developing a real relationship with her over time, but not *so* much as to be oppressive or keep me from doing *my* work. I can’t believe that Connor’s and Kelly’s kids are already so old! How time flies, indeed.

      Hope to see you again one of these days! Ever think of coming to Salt Lake CIty?!? ;-)

      Hugs to all and stay in touch.
      –arden–

  4. Deanna Allen says:

    Such blessing for you. Having good assistance with your mother and time with family! Grandchildren seem to grow up faster than our children did or time just seems to fly by the older we get IDK Enjoy it all. I like the Salt Lake area have driven that route many a time going from California to Colorado. Thanks for the update it is nice to hear how things are with you.

    • arden says:

      Hi, Deanna,

      Yes, we’re really loving SLC and it’s great to be not only here with the grandbaby, but also back where we can spend time with Jen and Larry. We’re enjoying just doing things like running errands on the weekend and having lunch out — the sort of thing we’ve really hardly *ever* been able to do. And the Day Center for mom is a godsend — great for us *and* really super for her. Good “socialization” and activities and she’s having fun, making friends, and not spending her days cooped up with us trying to keep her quiet! Love that you’re following along on the blog — we miss everyone there in CR, but we WILL be back (probably not ever to live full-time, but definitely for ongoing future visits) and it’s great to hear from friends there!

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