Tuesday, 16 October 2012

Oyomesan Dementia Scale

No - not me! Yet.
Although, with all the stuff that I am trying to fit into this week my time is probably not far off.
There will have to be major sitting and doing nothing this weekend.

Tonight I found time to try and condense Okaasan's ability level into an easy-read A4 page.
A kind Japanese friend has agreed to do a quick translation job on it, in time for THE doctor meeting on Friday.
So, here it is. Trying to be truthful here. As a general appraisal of Okaasan's abilities. She isn't a gibbering wreck, but she isn't an old lady operating on all cylinders. Some of my students are in their late 70s and early 80s and I notice the difference in their public conversation ability and direction of their lives.

Here is where I think Okaasan is in the autumn of 2012...after almost ...oh shit... FOUR years of living with us! FOUR!! How time flies...

Oyomesan Dementia Scale

Thank you for agreeing to see my mother-in-law.

My main worry is winter: her dementia becomes worse. She goes out to walk only 2 or 3 times a week. She cannot judge weather or road conditions. She is home alone 9 am to 6 pm, watching TV or sleeping. My husband is away from home for work 1 week-10 days. I work full-time. 3 nights a week I work until 7 or 8 pm.

Her mental and physical condition becomes bad, and she is doubly incontinent. She hides soiled underwear and uneaten food in her room.

She needs once or twice a week day care mental and physical stimulation.


Her abilities.  Scale 1 – 5  (5 is good)


Going out alone and returning.                                   4

           ( a few occasions of return with police or neighbors)

Feeding herself.                                                             4

Dressing herself.                                                            4

Body washing                                                                 3

(but bathtime and hair salon must be arranged for her)

Clothes washing                                                            2-3

Room cleaning                                                               2

Cooking                                                                           2

Shopping                                                                        3

(same purchases day after day, same shops)

Money management                                                    2

Conversation initiation                                                2

Conversation response                                                 3-4

Single incontinence (urine)                                          2

Double incontinence (feces)  Winter                         3

Understanding of TV/newspaper etc                          3-4?

(but recently watching weather channel 1 hour etc)

Awareness of “what did you do today?”                                 2

Machine use at home                                                    3

Sleeping at night                                                           2-3

Hallucinations (winter: stranger at front door)        3

Awareness of season/month/date                               3

Awareness of time/having eaten lunch etc                3



  1. Just a tiny comment, if I may, don't say to the doctor "She needs once or twice a week day care mental and physical stimulation." My experience with doctors is that most of the time they don't like to be told what needs to be done. :-)

    Why don't you rephrase it and say "Having an alternative during Winter months to offer her more physical and mental stimulation may help her immensely, what do you think?" (or something like that, sorry non native speaker here)



  2. You are right - you have to be respectful of docs anywhere...and specially in Japan.
    In fact my translator friend has softened that request/suggestion up already....I am just too direct in life :-(

  3. Having followed your journey with Okaasan, I do feel you have been a bit generous on some of the scoring, in any case, good luck, hope you get a good result that will benefit both of you.

  4. Have I? I did wonder. But if 1 level is just doing nothing - staring at a hair dryer with no idea what it is or howto use it...or no ability to switch on a cooker at all....then she would be 1 on more things. She knows what stuff is around her still...but doesn't remember how to use it first time, every time...hard really...I wondered about hair washing...recently she seems to have dirty hair even after a bath, and I wonder if she is just sitting in the water and not doing any actual body/hair washing....