Monday, 18 March 2019

Out with the with...???

Okaasan's care home service provider changes.
What a Balls Up.

Another big meeting yesterday.
Looks like the new company hoped to take over the contract and use the existing staff. But the staff are loyal to the old company, because it rescued them from a previous company that went bankrupt...

Some families (like us) have signed with the new company.
Some families have stayed with the old company.
The Old company hopes to open another home, elsewhere in the city - and some families plan to move their elderly to that.
And information about the elderly residents can't be shared between the staff of the different companies - for privacy legal reasons.

And from April 1st there will be staff from TWO different care companies operating on the same floor!! But the old company staff won't be allowed to stand behind the nurse station counter or use those call machines etc, using a telephone system instead.

Yes. That's right.

30 elderly residents on the same floor, using the same shared lounge, toilets etc - will be under the daily care of different company staff....
Can't fathom how THAT will work.
If an old person falls in the toilet and the staff from the "other" company come running, will they actually step away and NOT help?

There were no clear answers at the meeting yesterday. 

While Dear Son enjoyed all of that, I actually did the Okaasan visit.
Bundled her up in her coat and took her for a wheelchair trip round the local streets, to the cafe in the convenience store for a drink.
She is pretty passive now. Happy in a way. But just looks around at life.
NO interest at all in buying a women's magazine - so strange that she used to live to buy and read these magazines just a few years ago. Now, no interest.
We stopped to look in an antique shop window and the friendly owner came out for a chat...Okaasan told him she had been born in Tokyo....a lady who has always felt GREAT pride in her Kawagoe birthplace. Definitely NOT Tokyo. I was surprised...
Such familiar things are falling away from her? Magazines? Birthplace?

Back in the care home I left her with a cup of coffee in front of the TV and joined the families for the Balls Up Meeting.

What a mess.

I just hope that Japanese people being so Japanese - the actual day to day care on the 10th and 11th floors will go well - because they staff of the two different companies will cooperate with eachother. 
But it's a strange situation

Wednesday, 27 February 2019


Sunday afternoon we are at the care home.
In the big room used for karaoke and social things. Us and lots of other middle aged people. The Families. 
Big meeting with the management and staff.

We discover that the recently announced Change of Building Ownership - actually happened...last October. And we just hear about it now! New owner is a real estate company...obviously just an asset sale. Big block of land in central Sapporo, with this care home and hospital on it.

The Families are not happy.....lots of grumblings about how late this news was passed on.

Short coffee break.

Then 10th and 11th Floor Families have another meeting - and hear that in April...just over 4 weeks away - the company that provides the care for our dearly beloved - THAT will change too. And the staff may change....

The grumblings grew louder.
Japanese people are slow to complain, but when they after another they took the microphone and got and more direct with the management about how badly this had all been handled.
Why weren't we told earlier?
What kind of service change?

Was there actually any choice in this...because they want us to sign new contracts by March 8th.
It all seemed a bit like British politics to me - Prime Minister May's "My Deal or No Deal" for Brexit.

Of course, nobody knows if they new care company will be worse or better. We are happy with the staff now, and of course hope they continue - but if salaries and work conditions offered by the new company are not good - who can blame them for jumping ship?

So.....we'll just sign the documents and hope for the best.

Care homes in Japan. Big booming business now. Understaffed - really REALLY need more staff for all these care companies.
We are just the customers...hoping for the best.

Monday, 18 February 2019

Up and walking agin

Okaasan is up and about.
A little quieter and confused. But able to stand and walk with her walking frame.
Big relief.
We went together on saurday and did a visit. She was in the main room watching Tv in her wheelchair. Happy to see us and we did a small walk up and down the care home corridors and shared a coffee in the downstairs lobby of the next door hospital.

She was noticeably quieter...her gaze drifted around and she had to be called back into a conversation a few times. But good.
Her floor at the care home doesn't have influenza any more - although other areas of the home do - so we hope she's escaped the usual winter influenza outbreak. We did too - touch wood. Pretty healthy :-)

Thursday, 14 February 2019

Hot and Cold

Happy Sapporo Snow Festival.

I live in the city where every February over 2 million people come to enjoy snow and ice statues in the city park.
It has got far more commercialized over recent years - more food than actual snow - but still I think it's a fun event and the city is teaming with visitors.
I had two guests staying, plus a whole slew of work - it was a busy time.

And Okaasan.
Another round of influenza hit her care home - she didn't catch it. But she got a fever for several days and stayed in bed over a week.
I went in to see her twice, Dear Son too. She was sleeping a lot. Not eating, as usual. But actually ok - talked a bit in a funny, raspy voice and laughed a little too while watching Tv in her room.

Hoping that we/the care staff can get her UP and OUT of bed soon. Her leg and hip power hasn't been great this winter and a week in bed will make that worse.
Dear Son is back - maybe - tomorrow, so we'll try this weekend to get her up and into the wheelchair at least.

But, a bit of guilty relief. She is the care home's problem day to day with this. Not mine. If she were here at home - she would be on the carpet downstairs...with toilet problems etc etc and I'd be changing diapers and trying to rescue the carpet and the flooring.....
All of THAT isn't happening now. Not my worry. SO glad she is in care!

Downstairs....things are happening.

I have taken the plunge and decided to close the classroom in the rented apartment one station away - and move the classes to Okaasan's old rooms downstairs. Move the English work to home....
And stop three of my community center classes. Some of which I've done for over 10 years. And all of this will hopefully free up more time to do more tour guide work. No guarantees...but maybe.

It's all a big change in my working life. But the tour guide work is something I enjoy a lot, and at 57 years old it is rare to get the chance to do a new line of work. So I am going to grab the chance - while keeping one foot firmly (and economically safely!) in English teaching.

I took the decision at Christmas. But students are finding out now - so I can write about it here.

March is going to be a busy month....closing the classroom that I've rented for over 10 years and in a rented truck moving it all here...and setting OKaasan's old rooms for work.

Oh! and in March...we are going to try another camper van trip. This time in winter...and for skiing over a long weekend.

Onwards with all of that...