Monday, 10 December 2012

Day service debut.............

The day arrived. Day service for Okaasan.
After all the long waiting and trying to arrange and pressuring and couple tantrums and fixing.

The bus was due to come at 9.20 or 9.30 am - which is just after the time I should really be leaving for work.

But I knew Okaasan would need help in getting ready. The day service manager had left a note with instructions - but still she would need help to get the hula skirt, socks, T-shirt, change of underwear etc into bags.

At 8.55 am she was still her pajamas......

We had 30 mins of ever increasing panic. Sooooo hard to keep my cool in this. But Okaasan couldn't remember what she'd already chosen and put in a bag, so she tried to gather more clothes and put them in another bag.
She fussed terribly about what blouse to wear, what socks to wear, whether to wear a coat etc etc etc She and I circled around her room and the kitchen and the hallway - fussing, fussing, fussing. Was there money in the purse? Was the front door key in the purse (FOUND the 2 weeks ago lost key in yet another little bag!!!) and on and on and on.

I really had to leave by 9.25 and I imagine the bus came shortly after.

All day I wondered about her. Like a mother with a child at school for the first day...what was she doing now? Was she happy? Was it confusing?

I rushed home mid-afternoon to get there before she arrived back: because I hadn't been able to get into her room for more than a week - since she didn't go out - and I knew there was dirty underwear lurking.
She'd had a toilet accident last Friday after the day service people came, and sure enough - I found several soiled underpants all wrapped up in newspaper in one of the laundry baskets....:-(( And about 25 more needing laundry.

At 4.20 pm the bus pulled up outside. I ran out and the driver threw open the doors and put down the special steps...and Okaasan was helped out. A few other old people peered out at this unusual Oyomesan.
Okaasan seemed animated and happy - a bit tired - but happy enough. Her hair looked newly washed and brushed. I made her a cup of cocoa and she said it had been "fun", and lunch was "okay". The hula dance was "easy". Hmmm...

I prepped dinner. Went back to my classroom for the 6 pm class. Then took a taxi home to get dinner on the table....
Okaasan and I ate and chatted about this and that...I mentioned the day service place lunch....and the hula....
"That place the hula is low level, I can do better than that. I don't need that. I won't go again. Those people have just started haven't they? I won't go again. It costs money to go doesn't it.....I won't was boring....I can exercise myself, every morning I do my exercises here, I don't need to go there......".


I tried to do the voice of reason: but your room exercises are not enough, because last winter your legs got weak and you fell over many times. Yujiro is worried about you. You should go, just once a week in winter and exercise and enjoy it. Just once a week, it's easy in the bus.

And then I stood up, put my dinner plates away, swept the cats off chairs and left the kitchen before I got too angry and frustrated.


This mixture of pride and false sense of abilty, mixed with the dementia is SO bloody hard.

Just talked to Dear Son on the phone and he advises leaving the topic alone. Hoping she will forget the negative feeling. And then getting her ready again next Monday morning the whole Getting Ready thing again...or what? Refusal to go?
I can't actually do that at the start of MY working day. I was 5 minutes late for class this morning anyway, can't be late again next week.

I wonder if we should get the day service manager to come in and talk to Okaasan again - persuade her to try again, or try a different exercises class?

Aghhhhh..... bloody hell.

I knew it of course. No matter how much we all strived to set it up and get her there - the real task is getting her to continue going...



  1. Okay, I'm usually just a lurker, but I had to break silence and say that I'm SO sorry. The disappointment must be horrible, after all that you did to get her there. Heck, I'm disappointed.

    Please, please let us know if it improves this week; is there any chance that in a few days, you can bring it up and remind her of how fun it was, and convince her that it was great? I used to do that with three-year-olds when I worked at a pre-K all the time, so... Not exactly the same situation.

  2. I can sense your frustration but overall It sounds like a successful first day. She got ready. She went. She participated. She came home. I'd call that a success!
    Next week it might work to prepare her things for her and have the bag hanging there ready to go with a note to remind her what time the bus is coming, where she is going and what time she'll be coming home.
    Today was just the first day so don't give up yet :-)

    This is in some ways like pushing a kid to go to swimming or piano class. You know it is good for them, they put up a fuss, but in the end they enjoy it and you are left wondering why there was so much fuss.
    Hang in there! I hope it gets better soon!

  3. So frustrating for you. I hope you are able to emphasise the fact that she had 'fun' and simply not mention the negative feelings, and perhaps getting her to go will not always be so difficult.

  4. Dearest Oyomesan I understood from reading your posts that you had high hopes about her going...I have the same with my motherinlaw every week..."should I go?" "it is too cold/hot" "is it today"..etc won't get any better, I'm afraid..and my husband doesn't
    want to see.Sometimes I just want to sit down and cry cause I see no end until she dies and it is a really horrible feeling to sometimes wish someone dead. It makes you feel like a heartless monster........

  5. I feel for you. I think we all do. Hang in there.

  6. Thankyou all............... I feel the lurve. I know that we just have to hope that she'll go again...a week from now...but...I fear she won't....and I don't have the time or language/personal skills with Okaasan on a Monday morning to overcome her Refusals.I hope, hope,'s a big day service place and they have lots of other activties - there MUST be something else she would enjoy.:-( Anyway...I have to focuson a million other things this week....

  7. I was expecting some resistance. Talk to the social care person in charge of her case asap and see if there is any other exercise she can do next week. She shouldn´t do the hula class next Monday to avoid a reinforcement of the rejection.

    Now, from what you wrote I found interesting that she spent hours at the center and only said bad things about the hula class. So I assume she enjoyed herself. Please note she said the hula class "was boring". If I remember well from previous posts she considers herself quite a high level hula dancer and this may have triggered the negative reaction. She is rejecting the hula class because it does not fit with her standards and preferences which is annoying but quite positive because it shows she still has a sense of her own identity.

    Do what Houdini suggested: leave everything ready and make her dress up half an hour earlier next Monday. Don´t mention the hula class again, Dear Son is right about it. She will forget everything.

    It is a new stage for her and you must be patient. Baby steps. Look at the bright side, Dear Son acknowledged she has a problem, and you got once a week help. You also can discuss the situation with the social care people and get more help. You are no longer dealing with this alone.

    And yes, talk to the day service manager and discuss the possibility to come in and talk to Okaasan again.

    Hang in there.


  8. Can you or Yujiro talk to someone at the day service and see if they have any advice? They must have to deal with this all the time.

  9. Argh! Frustrating! But I agree with "Dear Son" and the others - just pretend it didn't happen, get her organised next week as usual, and hopefully she'll eventually get into a routine. I think you need to be jolly but firm - "this is what we do on Mondays" or something. If she's anti -hula, they surely have other classes. Perhaps a craft class or other dance? Anything that gets her moving a bit and out of the house! You've come so far - don't take 'no' for an answer!

  10. I really hear your frustration. I remember how hard it was to send our ba-chan out each week- I tried all sorts of cajoling and good humor, but she never really was excited about going and often stated that she was never going to go again. But she was always more alert and benefited from the interaction and activities. When she was at home for few days in a row, she would become more lethargic and less in touch. So even though she didn't always want to go and I felt torn about respecting her wishes, I knew that she was healthier in the long run. The day service staff deals with this all the time. Many of the participants are reluctant, so the staff has strategies to get them to join them. I also think you shouldn't talk about it again until next Sunday night when you remind her that she will be going to Day Service in the morning. She may not want to go, but you know that it is best for her to get some outside stimulation.
    It is important for you to be consistent- have her clothes set aside and tell her that you'll see her when she gets home for the day. Leave it to the Day Service staff to deal with the actual departure. It's only once a week.
    Be sure to touch base with her care manager- s/he will be supportive. Our care manager was really a godsend.
    You are doing all the right things. Don't second guess yourself and recognize that this is a tough transition for everyone.
    Also it is often difficult for older people to form new friendships and it will take some time for her to feel part of everything there. Good luck.