Sunday, 21 August 2011

Annual Cleaning

We did it.
Cleaned Okaasan's room. With her.
And she hasn't had a meltdown yet and accused me of stealing anything.

Cross your fingers folks!

Operation Cleaning commenced at 9 am sharp.
We vacumned both carpets, took them outside, took the undermats outside, vacumned all round the room.
Got Okaasan to start clearing rubbish off her table.
Mounds of : receipts, bits of paper cut into little notepads, clothes tags, newspaper cuttings, magazines, bits of tissue, orange peel, sweets in plastic bags, points cards from random coffee shops, more bits of paper, little face towels, MacDonalds plastic spoons, Seicomart plastic coffee cups, mail order leaflets, supermarket sale flyers, empty face cream packs, hair grips, needles, bits of hula dance accessories...etc etc etc.
Okaasan was fairly good about throwing stuff out...but everytime she wavered we'd hand her something and say "this is important isn't it, better put it over there"....and while she was crossing the room and her back was turned - we'd grab handfuls of rubbish and shove them into the bags.

After 30 minutes - wow! We found the table surface! I even got a wet cloth from the kitchen and we WIPED the table surface.

Then we got all the clothes off the sofa and I neatly folded them up and placed them to one side - so we could wash the sofa cover.

Then I rushed off to buy sticky labels, and Yujiro sat down with Okaasan and suggested labeling all the drawers in the chest so she would know WHAT was where..
"But I know what is in all the drawers!" she claimed....but actually just sat passively while I took all the drawers out on the carpet and put the folded clothes in their new homes.
We should have done this ages ago when we got this chest of drawers - because for someone with dementia it's a nightmare trying to remember what is in which drawer.

And from comments Okaasan made during the cleaning: ("Oh, that's dirty, I think/I put that out for washing/I'm taking that to the cleaners") I think I can get a clearer image of what Okaasan thinks she is always doing - she thinks that the clothes all around her on every surface are a cleaning/washing/drying in process - that she has JUST sat down for a few minutes to see something on TV and will be getting back to the laundry in a moment. 
Except her "moments" are days and days, weeks and weeks, months....
When I get dementia I will firmly believe that I am always "just" sitting down at the computer to play another move on Facebook's Wordscraper game...when in fact I have sat there for months staring at the screen....

So. wow. Can see the table surface. Can see the sofa surface. The carpet is clean. There aren't any underpants and socks and vests here and there...everywhere.

It was amazing. The room looks so, so , so much better.

We haven't done a cleaning like this for a year, since Okaasan went to that family wedding last September and I tried to do some cleaning just after my ovaries operation - and exhausted myself.

This time it was Yujiro and I together at full power/speed/deviousnous. 
And Okaasan...almost in agreement with what was happening to her room.

We put it all back an hour or two later, put enough stuff back on the table that she'll have things to sort through while she sits in front of the TV....

I don't care it all reverts back quickly - or if she doesn't use the labeled drawers at all....we tried...we tried.

Now we just have to hope that SHE enjoys the new, clean environment...and doesn't look around for someone to blame for that all important Seicomart receipt for a coffee and rice ball on December 14th  2010.......ahhh.....that  foreign woman... she comes into my room....that Oyomesan....ahhhhh.........



  1. おめでとう!Hope it lasts a while!
    - Kirsty

  2. Bloody good effort. Looks amazing and not how I was expecting her room to look - you needed a 'before' pic too!

  3. Gaijin Wife...I am unable to back up far enough for my camera's setting to accurately capture the horror that is Okaasan's pile of STUFF!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!