Last week, I had a delightful time in a place where the Idaho Legislature was not the center of the universe … where people cared nothing about budget cuts or raising taxes … where Supt. Tom Luna’s education plan was not the leading topic of discussion.
No, I wasn’t on a cruise or on some exotic tropical island. I was visiting my mother and step-father at Loyalton in Coeur d’Alene, where my mother is living happily in an independent facility and my step-father is in assisted living. It’s the kind of place I very well could be living in 20-25 years down the road, if I live that long. And if I do live that long, I’d hope to be able to enjoy life to the same level as my 90-year-old mother.
Loyalton is what some people refer to as an “old-folks home.” I prefer to think of it as a collection of some of the most fascinating people you’d ever want to meet – people who are part of what Tom Brokaw has referred to as the “greatest generation.”
My mother and step-father, as with many others there, were born in the early ‘20s. They lived through the Great Depression, when times were really tough, and World War II, where people actually had to make sacrifices during the war.
Today, their needs are pretty fundamental – something that government cannot provide. Some spend every ounce of energy they have to make it to the dining area three times a day. Some go to bed at night not entirely sure if they will wake up the next day. To those in better physical condition, the biggest decision of the day might be whether to participate in Wii Bowling or Bingo.
But I would say to most, life in an independent/assisted-living facility is not fun and games. They have their good days, and bad – when they’re a bit grumpy and don’t feel like speaking to anybody.
The staff at Loyalton, and similar facilities I’m sure, is superb. I saw nothing but bright smiles and positive attitudes, which is a perfect environment for my mother especially.
I wish I had more time to spend at Loyalton. There are somewhere over 100 residents there, and a compelling story behind each person living there.
In that respect, I envy my mother. Her world is a lot more interesting than the same-old stuff that we see at the Statehouse. The folks at Loyalton ask nothing from politicians, or government, except maybe to be left alone.