A Quiet Autumn Sunday

Trip Start Sep 13, 2012
Trip End Oct 07, 2012

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Flag of United States  , North Carolina
Sunday, September 30, 2012

This is such a different trip from my normal trips "home". Usually I have time to do some fun tourist activities and do some "shopping" (even if I don't buy much, it's fun to look). I don't visit often at this time of year and actually it's the most interesting and "different" season from Australia.

Americans love to celebrate every season and holiday! And this time of year is one of their favourites because there are 3 things to celebrate - the coming of autumn (late Sept/early Oct), Halloween (Oct 31) and Thanksgiving (the last week in November). As a result, all the shops are filled with orange, russet and yellow decorations... pumpkins, scarecrows, autumn leaves, and of course Halloween costumes, candy and scarey decorations. I love coming at this time of year because it is so colourful and different from what we do in Australia. It's also a good time to get Thanksiving decorations - a holiday our Australian family has enthusiastically embraced! Complete with turkey, cranberry sauce & pumpkin pie!

This trip has been hard work in many respects. There are so many variables to consider when making this decision:

* Distance from Maureen's home
* Standard of care
* How often a Dr. visits
* How many residents
* Level of practical and medical assistance they can provide
* Physical therapy / Hydrotherapy pool
* Availability of a spa bath if preferred to showering
* The "feel" of the place and the way the staff relate to the residents
* Cost (though in general, the same quality of care here costs about 25-50%2525 less than what it would in California)
... and there are probably many other aspects we haven't even thought of.

We get hopeful about one place then think of an issue we hadn't thought about before. Or we get excited after going on a tour and hearing the "sales talk" of the sales director, and then see a very poor report on an internet forum about the care someone's relative received there.

My dad is not yet ready to wholeheartedly embrace the concept of moving to a care facility, so one possibility is to allow him to try our preferred location for a couple of weeks of "respite". We are hoping that after the initial strangeness of being in a new place that he will be won over by the advantages... the care and attention and warmth of the staff will be crucial to this. An added challenge is that he changes his mind ever day or forgets what he decided yesterday. One day he said that my mother said women were better at making these decisions and that he would leave it up to Maureen and I. The next day he was adamant that he alone would make the decision. I'm going to try to outline for him in simple terms the advantages of the top 2 facilities - and hopefully he will be able to decide which factors are the most important to him. Comparing different alternatives and planning and organizing his thoughts is very difficult for him these days. He hasn't felt 100%25 the last few days and that tends to make him more confused and also makes decision making harder.

Today is Sunday and I would have liked to have traveled back to San Francisco today... but because my sister works for an airline I can travel standby for about 1/6 of the normal fare. Of course, this is dependent on how many seats are empty on the flight and this can change quickly. The flights today are sold out (normal for a Sunday) and Monday are very close to being sold out, so Tuesday is the first day that seems to be open enough to get a flight. They call these standby seats "non-rev" or non-revenue because the airline doesn't get any (or very little) revenue from these standby fares. If the chances are slim that I will get a stand-by seat, I will have to buy a last minute full fare ticket which will be about $600.

Max and Michelle had a great 3 day visit to Las Vegas and the Grand Canyon and are traveling back to San Francisco today - just before President Obama flies into Las Vegas tonight! Good thing they are leaving before - a Presidential visit to any city is VERY disruptive because of all the extra security and traffic control that goes on.
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