Okaasan IS aware of her mental condition, for sure - but not to the extent of it.
"I keep forgetting things" she said last night, as she was reading about an exercise class for oldies in the community newsletter.
The class info listed lots of good reasons why joining the class is good for you: and one of them was of course "to delay the onset of dementia".
I'd got Okaasan to help me read it over KFC dinner - hoping of course that SHE might feel interested enough to go to the community center and give it a go.
But seconds after commenting on her own forgetfullness, she counter-acted it swiftly with:
"...but I'm not that bad, I don't need this kind of class because I go walking downtown every day!".
I gently commented that the "every day" was more like "3 times a week" in winter....between long spells of sitting in front of the TV...but...but...
Complete Truthfulness is never going to happen in this family. It's a Japanese family and brushing stuff under the carpet is in the DNA. I sometimes read the blogs of dementia sufferers - usually Americans, who in a far more direct and pro-active society are fully aware of their own condition and doing what they can to counter-act it.
Here, just the gentle comment stage....
Okaasan wasn't mentally great at dinner last night: rambling on and on in a hamster wheel story - it started out as I-don't-eat-breakfast-Nishi-guru-told-me...and somehow got stuck on the school teacher who had first introduced her to Nishi-Guru - and then she couldn't escape the story - told me about 10 times about how he'd come to the house to discuss which university the older son should apply for, and the difference between the universities, and how the teacher didn't know, and how he'd come to the house to discuss.......and how...and how...
on and on and on.
Rambling meant not eating too, so finally I had to stand up and clear my plates and start washing up to get her to stop talking and finish her dinner.
My students and friends who occasionally meet Okaasan say: "Oh she's sweet, she seems ok!"...because Okaasan is able to do polite chit-chat for 5 or 10 mins. I wish people could see her real conversation ability...this endless story hamster wheels, how a sentence loops back on the one before - with no recollection that she used the exact same words 30 seconds or 50 seconds earlier.
Yu and I are in this together, we can suffer thru these conversations and insert the required responses. Carers who are alone with dementia sufferers have NO escape.
* Cup of Water or Not? Haven't decided yet. Thankyou to everyone for comments on blog and off it.
I do kind of agree that deception isn't a healthy thing. But, having the real world example of WHY she needs to start using incontinent supports would be so, SO useful.
This morning the toilet mat was soiled again...so I shall try and get into her room and find the soiled pajamas/pants etc and maybe use that as my lead-in.
I've got the pink trash box with it's trash bag, I've got the ST pads, and I've got the diapers.
All I need is the lead-in and a VAST amount of courage to go in and have the conversation......