By Norma Froese, Activities Coordinator
As I think about the people I know here in Reedley, I realize that many who live here have been area residents for a very long time. Life in this city, has retained the pleasantries of small town living and yet grown with conveniences that for the most part enhance our lives.
So as the first generation living in the homes of Reedley ages and needs to consider if daily living requires a little extra help, the memories of raising a family in the home certainly becomes influential in the decision of whether it is time to move to an assisted living community.
Most likely, the children who grew up in the home are now living elsewhere and with the best intentions, give their parents as much of their time as possible. Yet, they now have their own children and family schedules and their parents are often alone in the home with no one to help them with their daily housekeeping, cooking, laundry or medications.
One of the most important aspects to be considered is that those living in a retirement community always have another person nearby. A resident of Palm Village Retirement Community recently said to me, “When I lived at home, I was alone. Here, someone knocks on my door daily to ask me to join them in an activity. I am so happy.”
At Palm Village, the residents are served three nutritious meals everyday in a dining room where they can talk and laugh with other residents. From there they may go to watch a movie, join the knitting and crocheting group or play Wii, move to an exercise video, or make crafts or table settings for our events here.
Those who like to leave the campus get on our bus to travel to Visalia for shopping, our once a month lunch excursion, or our mystery trips…a ride in the country to a destination of interest.
No one is ever forced to participate, but usually each person finds an activity that interests them. Those who love to cook enjoy our “Tasty Treats Day.” We make it into an educational time and perhaps a time that elicits memories as we taste different varieties of food; maybe cheeses, apples, or an Orange Julius. A tasting brings back childhood memories of cheese at the State Fair or a trip to the apple farm and the residents love to tell those stories. The important part in activities is the fellowship.
And because all of the tasks associated with living alone at home are now taken care of by the devoted staff of Palm Village, the residents tend to be healthier living here than when they remain in their homes. We know that because our residents, should they need Skilled Nursing, will need it 3-4 years later in life than those who enter directly from their homes.
A move to an assisted living community may be a lifestyle change, however, if you ask the residents most likely they will echo these sentiments, “I love living here because I am not alone. I have physical limitations but my friends here always help me. It is a gift for the receiver and well as the giver. And when my son calls every night, I tell him about all of the wonderful people here.”