A problem shared...etc etc....
I had lunch Wednesday with a teacher friend who is caring for her 90 year old mum with Alzheimer's (AND her 94 year old Dad!) and it was so good to share our experiences and laugh and wonder about this thing called dementia.
All problems need an outlet, and someone who is living your experiences is an excellent outlet for it all.
Her mum is actually on medications and under medical supervision and care worker vists etc at home - so very different from Okaasan. But we talked about the day-to-day things which become harder and the little lies and subterfuges that dementia sufferers do to make life look "Normal" - both to themselves and others.
Her mum uses a Medicine Calender on the wall to remember to take daily doses, but if she forgets to take one dose she apparently removes the pills from the calender and hides them in her handbag so that she won't get into trouble for not taking them.....shades of Okaasan and the underwear in plastic bags and food stuffs hidden away.
But out conversation made me a little sad too to think that she and her mother have a basically close connection whereby she can gently persuade on topics such as doctors/medicines/clothes...and Okaasan and I have an almost Polite Visitor level of relationship - there is NO way I can talk to Okaasan about maybe wearing pads in her underwear for the incontinence. I thought again about just buying some pads and putting them in a nice girly, lacey basket thing in the toilet and seeing if she might start using them. She might think they are mine? She might get the hint? Or not....
Next week is Okaasan's 80th birthday and we are planning to take her out for a crab feast. But I also wondered about getting her a living room clock or bookshelf for all her magazines. It would be a way to get things-to-help-her-life into her room, a clock which chimes on particular hours might help Okaasan connect with what time of day it is...and a magazine bookshelf would clear some of the floor.. But are those boring, unwanted practical presents that she'd be offended to get?
I have joined the gym Curves to fight the balloon stomach I have developed and get some strength back into the knee/thigh muscles.
It's in the supermarket complex about 3 minutes from my English classroom, so there is absolutely no excuse about not being able to find the time to go at least 3 times a week.
I had the 1 hour Intro chat last night from a bouncy, friendly lady and joined in the circle of training machines a bit...although I started CRYING when I got to the thigh muscle machine because it was SCARY to try and use my thigh muscles like that! I started blubbing in the gym!
She was sweet and understanding about me and my knee and my Year of Stresses and told me "Yes you can!" etc....
My stomach was 95 cm....my waist was 81 cm....time to fight it all.
The Power to Amaze Yourself is the company motto - of course this is an American company run by a worryingly handsome husband and wife team called Heavin (HOW do they pronounce that? as in: "the drunk is heavin his guts onto the pavement"?????!!!).
I need some of that Power!