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A Visit with Kaye, Resident of La Veta Village

I had the privilege to visit with Kaye, a resident of La Veta Village for over 14 months. I was interested in finding out how she felt in her new home. Moving to another home is a big change for anyone and it is helpful to anticipate the differences it makes in your everyday life. The goal of assisted living is to create a home-like atmosphere with the support you may need with your activities of daily living, yet you still maintain control of your life.

Kaye learned of the remodeling of the old La Veta Cheese Factory into an assisted living home while residing in La Veta, and was one of the first occupants. She remarked that moving in gave her a "whole new beginning". Kaye lives alone and likes her privacy, and feels that you "can still be alone but not alone". She has made many new friends among her resident neighbors, the volunteers, staff, and visitors, and she especially enjoys it when children and the service dog, Greer, visit. Kaye previously knew some of them before moving in.

Kaye likes to know "what's going to happen next" during the day. A daily calendar given to the residents helps. They are gently encouraged to attend the daily activities, yet they do not feel pressured to attend. Kaye enjoys taking walks, playing games, working puzzles and participating in yoga class. She currently is leading chair exercises for her neighbors at their convenience. "Bingo is hilarious, you get a good laugh, and win prizes!" She feels that participating in the activities of your choice enriches your life and allows you to integrate what you already know into everyday real things. The residents recently went on an outing to Trinidad where they had lunch at the Wonderful House Restaurant and shopped at Walmart. It was thoroughly enjoyed by all who attended. The residents also recently attended a play at the local Francisco Center for the Performing Arts. Kaye feels going out "brings everyone together".

The best part of Kaye's day is usually mealtime "when you see and have conversations with your friends". The hardest part of her day is when she has her mind on something and can't sleep. When that happens she resolves it by reading, crocheting, coloring, working puzzles, or taking a shower. Friendly and understanding night staff is always there if you want to talk to someone.

The residents hold a monthly council to discuss their cares and concerns. Kaye presides over their informal meeting, takes notes and then meets with administration staff to discuss any issues. Some of the positive changes made are; keeping the hallway warmer at night, having all staff and visitors routinely wear their name tags, having their door hanging chalkboard for signage ( like sleeping, do not disturb, etc. ), and meal-time requests identified. The residents know the meals are pleasing to most, but everyone's taste is different. You may keep your food in the community refrigerator or have a refrigerator in your room. A variety of snacks are always available.

Kaye feels "very safe” both in her home and in the community. Residents have a pendant alarm button if help is needed in the home. Town Marshal Harold maintains safety in the community and he frequently visits the residents around their mealtimes. Kaye calls La Veta "a big little town and smaller is better!" for senior living. Residents without having their families nearby get the help and support they need from the caring administration and staff. Nighttime hours are quiet and you have the freedom to sleep when you want to during the day.

Kaye recommends living in La Veta Village. Her advice for prospective residents is "think of your move as a positive and good thing". Be considerate of others who may feel much as you do about moving into a new home. There are many different personalities with different life experiences. Cooperation, communication, and respect for others are important to build rapport within the community no matter where you live.

Youth is a Gift of Nature, but Age is a Work of Art.

- Stanislaw Jerzylec 


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