Monday, 5 December 2016

Walking. Together.

So. New normal.

I took Okaasan for a walk.

She needed a little persuading to go out, but I reassured her that I knew which roads were icy and so she got herself together and we set out together on Sunday afternoon for a stroll round the local streets.

Awful balance problems. She seems to teeter along - like she is on tip toe all the time - almost ready to go off balance and into trouble. Her whole body appears to be forward all the time.

I grasped her hand and guided her firmly up the street and to the main road.

We walked/teetered. She grabbed onto walls and street lights, shop windows and signs. Kept stopping and looking up and down the street.

"Are you tired? Shall we take a break?"

"No, not a break. I am just looking and thinking where to go. ...."


And often really holding onto something, like a street pole, with both arms. Looked very odd.

But we walled. And stopped. And sat on walls and benches. 

No way could she walk to the Seiyu supermarket where she always used to go and I was wondering what to do when we got to the crossroads. We could come back by taxi, but I doubted she had the energy to GET there in the first place. 
At the corner she hesitated. Looked around. I made vague comments about the Japanese sweets shop and a cup of coffee in the other direction....and after a few minutes she came with me...almost willingly.

At the sweets shop almost fell INTO a basket of sweets on a rickety table outside the shop. Then bought some rice cakes. Back to the station, into the convenience store, toilet, magazine and finally.....agreed to let me lead her home.

Obviously exhausted.

She enjoyed telling me "this is what I always do, sit here, buy my magazine here, go to the toilet here, walk here"...and I let her instruct me. But I managed to make it a short enough walk an get her home again.

But. shocked really.

She used to walk so far alone, miles actually. For hours. Not now.

Sunday, 4 December 2016

Signs of the future

It says "Toilet". It's on the kitchen door. And there are two others: on the door from Okaasan's room to the kitchen, and on the toilet door.

We hope that helps her. Helps her to FIND the toilet, helps her to remember that is why she stood up, helps her to remember that maybe she should go to the toilet.
All of that.

Our new norm.

I hope she will leave the signs in place. A year or two ago we tried to put  signs on her clothes drawers to help her find things, but she ripped them all down within 24 hours.

This week we did a family trip to the local city office to get our My Number ID cards. Japan has introduced these cards, which has everyone in the country befuddled as to their usage. So, everytime Okaasanb asked us: "Why am I here? What should I do?" we were as in the dark as she. Just waited for the counter staff to call us and exchange bits of paper for other bits of paper and card.

Day Service also started. Two hours on a Friday. Dear Son and I went out to dinner together to leave the care worker alone with Okaasan. Apparently she went out willingly.

He started ski work today. Next week more. I am about  to have crazy December of end of year parties and Christmas/New Year preparations....into winter HERE WE GO!

Tuesday, 29 November 2016

Winterising Okaasan

Our new normal. Wonderful handgrip structure in the hallway. Useful when we roll home drunk and can't get up the step....

Day service have taken us under their wing for winter. Like all of us in north Japan at the moment, busy winterising our homes and gardens by wrapping/tieing/staking plants - the winter care system for Okaasan is falling into place.

Twice a week. But maybe only an hour on the 2nd day, because they have staff shortages.
Trip to the supermarket by taxi to walk around inside.
Dinner and chat.
And this snazzy handgrip in the entrance hall.

I feel a little bad about taking up a care worker time for our old lady - she isn't SO bad. But also twice a week would be great for her body and brain, and help me enormously. If the weather is so bad at the weekend, or I am busy...I will at least know she has been beyond the front door twice that week.

Dear Son said that interestingly, Okaasan used the handgrip without any comment. As if it had always been there. So, useful. It will cost us only Y300 a month to rent!

He took Okaasan out yesterday to walk round the vastness of American shopping that is our local Costco. They stopped off in a local supermarket on the way home...Okaasan went to the toilets...only Japanese squat style...she got stuck. Couldn't stand up , down on the floor...Dear Son and staff assistance to get the cubical door open and Okaasan up off the floor.

It's good that he has these experiences with her. Reinforces in his brain that his mum needs our watch and care and help.

Wednesday, 23 November 2016

Day care cometh...

Tomorrow in the kitchen there will be a summit of Dear Son, Okaasan, Day Care Manager and maybe a cat, to decide what kind of help we will get this winter.
I will be away on a work trip that got rescheduled - somehow addressing a group of local government people IN JAPANESE for 40 minutes about how to attract foreign visitors to their area.

Anyway - in the kitchen the important people, plus cat, will decide whether Okaasan gets once or twice a week visits from the care worker for chat, shopping by taxi and dinner.

Dear Son was shocked when I told him about Okaasan's lost in the street episode, and has readily agreed that we should try and increase her care level this winter. Twice a week we hope. She is already weak about standing up off the carpet at home. She really needs more exercise.
Still don't think we can get her to go out in a mini bus to a care center and join others...she is still too aware of things to pull that one off. I think there would be a fight.
But three to four months of twice a week visits.

Winter, here we go.
Bloody FREEZING here today. Coldest for years for a November day. We walked in the park early this morning and snow if coming. Maybe one of our last walks like this?

And....ho ho ho....if you want to see what Oyomesan looks and sounds like...and what a messy room can look like on TV....check out the first 4 minutes of this made for foreign-TV show....I had a job to report on a morning fish market in my area.

I think I look strange. Nervous. And behind me you can see the chair holding the door firmly closed..because beyond that was a lurking cat with a dead rat... is the link...J-Trip Plan/NHK World TV.