One can never foresee the future, but we all know we will grow old and eventually need loving care and comfort.
A major problem is finding this, whether for oneself or a loved one. Options exist in this country; nevertheless, looking for the right one can be a difficult task.
Finca Futuro Verde, a residence for senior citizens offering long and short stays as well as day care, has recently opened in Rincón de las Salas, a small hamlet two kilometers from the coffee town of Grecia, northwest of San José.
Belgian owners Diederik Maes (known as Dirk), a retired medical practitioner, and his wife Els Van de Wiele, a social worker, decided they had reached a point of “burnout” in their hometown near Brussels, so they checked out different countries where they could settle and find a different lifestyle.
“We knew we didn’t want to stay in Europe, and Africa and the Pacific Rim didn’t appeal,”Van de Wiele said.
Then they visited Costa Rica, fell in love with the country and purchased Finca Futuro Verde. The six-hectare, hillside property and coffee plantation, in a zone known for its mild climate and scenic countryside, became their home two years ago.
When Maes’ father Jan needed assisted living care, they decided to convert their house into a residence for senior citizens.
“It has been a difficult and long process,” Maes said. “We had to abide by all the Health Ministry requirements, including widening the front entrance to allow easy access for the fire trucks.”
Finca Futuro Verde is entirely wheelchair accessible and has non-slip tiles throughout. It’s a small establishment, offering accommodation for six residents in three rooms with two single beds each.
Ideal for couples, the largest room has sliding doors opening onto a small patio and offers a dramatic valley and mountain vista.
The other two rooms are smaller with garden views. For a homier feel, residents may add their own small personal items. All the rooms are comfortably furnished and have large, white, tiled bathrooms equipped with a special shower and fixtures to accommodate the elderly and disabled.
The living room, with its comfortable furnishings, TV and DVD player, also has a selection of reading material in different languages.
Maes’ collection of National Geographic magazines dating back to 1950 is an added attraction on the bookshelf.
The glassed-in patio dining area, with panoramic views of the forested valley and mountains beyond, opens onto the garden with its manicured lawn. The meals – breakfast, lunch, a light supper and mid-morning and afternoon snacks, plus a hot drink before bedtime – conform to the residents’ specific dietary requirements. Fresh vegetables from the garden and fruits from the 17 different species of trees on the property are all put to use.
“Mealtimes are a very important part of the day,” Van de Wiele said. “We try to make the menu as interesting and varied as possible.”
Safety concerns are of the utmost importance, and one hectare of the garden is completely fenced off. Residents can roam freely on the grounds or sit at the front of the property, overlooking the road.
Maes’ father spends hours here watching the world go by, waving to the school children and locals, who all know him now.
“It’s his favorite spot,” Maes said with a smile.
On weekends, a small coffee shop is open where residents can entertain visitors and buy a drink or dessert.
“It gives them a feeling of independence,” Van de Wiele said. “It’s very important that those who live here feel it’s a home away from home and their freedom is not restricted, unless it’s necessary. However, if residents are capable of leaving the property on their own, we make sure we know their plans.”
A doctor pays monthly visits to check on the health of the residents and is on call for any emergencies that may arise. Occupational and physical therapy is offered, but residents pay for additional medical services and beauty treatments, such as manicures, pedicures and haircuts.
Plans are under way to construct six fully furnished, one-bedroom garden apartments with fully equipped kitchens, living and dining rooms, terraces and a social garden area.
Suitable for a single person or couple, services will include housekeeping twice a week, laundry, an emergency button connected to the main residence and use of the facilities.
Shopping is easy; residents can present a list of needs, or go on a three-hour shopping trip to Grecia twice a week.
Depending on the room, prices range from $455 to $525 per person, per week.
Garden apartments are $725 per month, including water, electricity and cable TV. Day care is $5 per hour. As of press time, vacancies were available.
To get to Finca Futuro Verde from San José, take theInter-American Highway northwest
, past the La Garita turnoff to Jacó.
After crossing the RíoRosalesBridge, take the first exit and continue past the Cacique Liquor Factory. Two kilometers up the road, look for a white sign and black gate on your right, just before Posada Mimosa Inn.
For more information, visit www.fincafuturoverde.com or call 494-5187.