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Prime Time: Adjusting to a new way of life

We are adjusting to a whole new daily life.

Having moved to an apartment in an assisted living complex, we are learning about the ways in which that changes our day to day activities. For instance, the main meal, which is part of the monthly payment, is served at 5 p.m., so that is when we eat. We choose to fix our breakfast and light lunch in our well-equipped kitchenette.

Our apartment includes not only the kitchen, but a living room, bedroom with a large walk-in closet, and a roomy bathroom that includes a shower with ample bars on both sides to make it safe for me to use without my walker.

We now have familiar furniture, brought from our home, and pictures on the walls from our travels, along with a painting given us by our late friend, local artist Claudine Mattison, and a hand-painted clock we brought back from Norway. All of this still can't make it feel quite like "home" yet, but it has become where we live.

One great advantage for us is that we have not had to sell our beloved Grant Lake home, since we are passing it on to our daughter and her husband.

They are still living in Wisconsin, but he is now retiring and they will spend summers here on the lake and eventually move here full time. Our delightful son-in-law assures us that we will always have "visitation rights."

Having lived in this area for more than 40 years, it is not surprising that we are finding numerous people we know among the residents.

When we arrive in the dining hall it is easy to find someone we know to share a table with.

We have also learned to know some new people as well. Some are longtime Bemidji-area residents and others have chosen to retire here because they have adult children or other relatives in the region to visit them and make them feel at home.

The staff provides a helpful and friendly atmosphere, and many services are available to make our lives as comfortable and pleasant as possible.

As I write this, I am sitting in the extra room we opted to have that is called a den, where I have tall lamps and bright desk lights, along with my computer and printer at my fingertips. On each side of the den walls we have hung large cork boards with multiple snapshots of all the extended family members. These photos can be easily updated as those "great grands" grow and change and special events in their lives are photographed.

On the lamp stand that is always visible as I sit at the keyboard is a double frame with what I think of as showing the three vital men in my life that I have lost. One is of our beloved son. The other picture was taken on a long-ago trip to Yellowstone Park and shows three of us on a rock in the pines -- my father, my brother as a teenager, and me at age 6.

So it is that we are finding ways to make this new life and new place begin to feel like home.