Wednesday, 18 October 2017

Care home choices

So - we are officially looking for a care home.

The social worker came and DS and she and I sat at the kitchen table and looked at official documents and rankings of service levels - what is possible - what is necessary.

What kind of care Okaasan will need. What kind of place.
I was a little worried by DS's comments about how long this care home would be for..."until spring"..."short term"...and reassured that the social worker was saying: "Oh, usually after people enter care home, they don't come home again...short term means under 30 days..."

I am sure this is true. They get used to the life and settle down, the family gets used to not having that at home. Once she enters a care home she won't be coming home again.

Dear Son. He really is a loving son - and he doesn't get it. Doesn't understand. Home isn't best.

Okaasan isn't going to be well enough within 30 days to come and live at home....I know it.

Anyway, the wheels are in motion. Care home leaflets and information are around the house and on the computer history.

My winter of freedom is coming!! And FIRST snow is on the ski areas now!!! YIPPPPPEEEE!!!!

Sunday, 15 October 2017

Wheels in motion?

Sunday morning I walked in on my dear man surfing the Internet....for care homes.

He was scrolling thru pages of bedroom plans and categories, pictures of smiley female staff holding tea cups with happy-looking old people.

Gosh. Senior models in Japan must be having a boom at the moment posing for all this stock footage of elderly in care homes....


He is looking. Tomorrow morning the social worker will come to meet us here at home and we will discuss what happens next.

Is a big home better than a small one?
Private room is best?
How will her toilet situation - unable to get there will that work?
Can we get one close to home?
Does it matter if there is a garden or not?
Will all the other residents be completely out of it and vegetating in wheelchairs?

A whole new thing is opening up for us.

And on Friday last week Dear Son went to the family court to attend a lecture about how to apply for control over an elderly person's finances he is trying to put all of that in motion too.

I feel guardedly elated.
I can see a winter of freedom opening up for me. No more rushing home from work to get a dinner together near 7 pm and on the table. No sitting, eating and trying to be lively and friendly for little response...after a day of work where I try to be lively and friendly with endless, endless people....

Instead I can come home. Eat something on a tray in front of the TV. Relax. DS will be away ski teaching for weeks on winter life will be work, cats, snow clearing....MY life. I can have guests to stay....invite friends for dinner...
And of course I will go to a care home and visit Okaasan a couple of times a week. Be lively and friendly for an hour...then get in the car and come away.

That freedom. It's in sight.

But....but....even when we went to the hospital on Saturday and watched Okaasan's physical training. I still felt nervous - almost expecting her to miraculously  start skipping across the room, lifting her knees and pirouetting to show us her sudden-found-mobility.
Dear Son would look stunned and happy: She is better! She can come home right now! 

She didn't. He didn't. Relief.

She got in and out of the chair and walked between two bars at waist level. Gripping onto the bars with power, with the trainer gripping onto Okaasan's waistband. She walked 3 m and sat down. After a rest she walked..slowly another 3 m. And sat down. It was about the level of her ability in early August, before the 10 days of fever and knee pain.

Certainly not good enough to be home and alone, making trips to the toilet alone. Trips to the kitchen. Thankfully.

I have twinges of guilt about feeling that.....wishing her NOT to get strong enough to walk.
I don't want her home again.
There. I said it.....

Tuesday, 10 October 2017

Solo visit

I popped in to see Okaasan yesterday - on my own this time.
Spent an hour or so with her: watching Tv and commenting on the program, wheeling the chair round the corridors and sitting with our drinks in the training room looking at a newspaper.

"Have you been to Turkey? You've been to many countries!"
"Turkey? No, I can't go there, I can't walk on my own..."
"Yes, now you can't...but 10 years ago you were walking..."
"Oh.? I don't know..."

A blank. 

But a happy blank. she smiled and laughed and chatted about bits and pieces. Waved at staff as they went about hospital business, peered at other old people. Looking at the Halloween decorations around the walls.

Content enough.
It's really the most surprising thing. How she has taken to living in a facility. I would never have thought it. She had so much negative feeling about hospitals etc
But I do hope I can get her to live in a care home, with more activities and mental stimulation. 


Sunday, 8 October 2017

Visualize it....and it will, will come about...

Social services have reappraised Okaasan and the level of care she needs.

Moved her up from Level 1 Level 4....of a 7 level gradient.

I don't know the details of that. But I'm guessing it is good for us all. Good that we will qualify for more public care and finances, and good that DS will really see his mum has changed this year and needs greater protection and care.

She has been Level 1 since living with us and being under the social services system. But the events of this summer - God it all seems so long ago now - the fall in May and the broken back bone, hospitalisation, dementia explosion and subsequent medication and physical decline - ALL of that has changed her.

I know it.
DA knows it, if he is honest with himself.
Now social services have given the official recognition of it.

We went to see Okaasan yesterday.
Had a slight panic when we couldn't find her in the hospital for 5 minutes - a mix up about her being in physical therapy, or not - and actually she was happily sitting in the day room with the TV..

But there she was. All smiley and content. We wheeled her to the 5th floor of the hospital and sat with her and some canned drinks - pointing out the deeply boring parts of the south Sapporo suburban landscape, the pictures on the walls, the packaging on the  rice crackers...just making a little light, friendly feeling for a lady who doesn't know a whole lot.
She knows us. She knows Hokkaido. Doesn't react much to chat about old familiar things - Dear Son's blind customer who is in town from this weekend again...autumn flowers...

It's ok. Just an hour of chat and smiles...

We replaced her dirty clothes with clean and secreted into the drawers a new, long-sleeved pink blouse that I'd bought - I think I know her taste will enough now and I don't think she will be so aware of what clothing is her's or not...anymore.

Then we had a toilet trip. The 3 of us squeezed into a smaller than usual toilet - with the  wheelchair and our bags....he was holding Okaasan and I was reaching around her for her pajamas and diapers.

And finally we delivered her back to the day room where patients were being wheeled in and arranged at tables for their lunch. Ten or so elderly people, in various states of awareness around tables. They don't interact with eachother so much, they watch eachother and us...we smile...Okaasan looks at the TV, and us...and around the room - she isn't too bothered.

And then food arrives and her focus shifts...and we wave bye bye and slip away.

Dear Son says he understands and will start talking to social services about a care home for Okaasan. He KNOWS she can't come like this....he says he understands.