Thursday, 28 June 2012

Sweetness and bruises.

She's ok.
Battered and bruised. But ok.
Her whole chin is swollen and turning purple and the inside of her lip is cut...and her knees are scraped. But she is ok.

Today was one of those working-days-from-hell. Not bad classes or students. far from it. Love every single one of them. But 6 1/2 hours teaching. Grabbed lunch and finally home at 7.30 pm. Didn'T have time to go to the station and hear the fall story.

Mid-afternoon Yujiro calls. An old friend  from way-back-when in his single life is SURPRISE! on holiday in Sapporo and wants to go out tonight eating and drinking. Let's go!!??

Ok. I have lessons will 7 pm.
There are two cats waiting at home for food.
There is an 82 year old woman who fell yesterday, also waiting for dinner.
I think not. Dear. You run ahead and enjoy yourself with your friends.
I will go home and Be Responsible.

So, I came home - via the supermarket to grab stuff - and home to cook dinner for Okaasan, and sit and chat with her to make sure she is all OK.
She is, actually dinner was kind of sweet. She was happy to see me and chat and laugh and giggle about wartime shortages - the whole didn't have lessons/made soldiers underwear on big machines - story all over again...and more.
It made me glad that I came home and cooked for her and gave her some face time.
She didn't go out today, so she's just been here all day staring at the TV. Tomorrow night we are planning to go out to a movie and tonight she really needs to be WITH someone and have some chat.

Not angry with him. Old friends suddenly arrive. Of course you have to go play. And he really wanted me to go (likes showing off the foreign girlfriend, even after all these years)...but I DO wonder at the friends...they leave it until they have stepped off the plane and are here in the city to say "Hey, why don't you drop everything YOU might be doing in life and come out tonight??!"

They know him from years ago when he was a single guy. When they were all single guys. Now, he has a partner, a mother, cats. He is a man with responsibilities. Or, a man with a girlfriend who shoulders his responsibilities....

** Hi GaijinWife! - In answer to your question? Does he actually have regular customer for the bike taxi?
Yes! In Sapporo, some people use the bike taxis for hospital/shopping/concert hall/gallery trips and ring up and book a bike taxi - and this week he has a blind woman from Saitama, she comes on holiday several times a year and uses the bike taxis every day to go round town...she enjoys chatting to the drivers, and they help with shopping...Yujiro even helped her shopping for an iPad and fixing it up with applications for blind use!!!
And when he is helping her ....I am at home helping his mother.

There is irony in there somewhere. Maybe.

Time to eat cheesecake. A student gave me today. I think I might just eat the whole thing.
I deserve it.

Another fall

Okaasan fell again yesterday.
Seems ok. Maybe. But badly shaken, of course.

We're not sure the details - because Okaasan told us about it and her story was all very muddled.

But maybe she fell at our local subway station, on the sloped walking area up to the doors. Obviously people helped her, and an ambulance was called? She scraped both her knees and has a bandaid on one knee. And maybe hit her lip/face?
She went to her room with no dinner and sat quietly and then slept. We'll check her condition today...and I'll pop into the station to ask the station staff the details and say thankyou...

These falls are becoming more frequent. The slips and falls in winter, now trips and falls on the front door step, now a sloped surface in daylight. So far she has always bounced back within 24 hours and hasn't injured herself beyond scrapes and bruises. Lucky,

I'd got home late afternoon...kind of planning that I'd cook dinner for Okaasan, leave it for her and run away to have dinner alone. Bad Oyomesan!!! He was working late again and I really couldn't face another dinner with Okaasan after a day at work. So, I was planning to be a bad Oyomesan and lie that I had an evening class and had to go out again.
But I met someone I know, my bike needed a repair...and I finally got home at 6.30 pm with no energy to go out again. 
Okaasan was still out for her late-in-the-day walk.

I made dinner, played with cats...admired my blossoming roses, put some of Okaasan's clean laundry back in her room...and hovered.
Okaasan's telephone was on the kitchen table, so I couldn't track her. Yujiro not expected home till later.

So at 7.30 pm I ate dinner alone in the kitchen. Read the newspaper. Relaxed.
He came home at 8.30 pm. STILL no Okaasan. Strange. Slightly worrying. But nothing much we could do, as she didn't take the telephone.
JUST as I was heating the dinner for him - she arrived home.
Looked terrible. Tired, old, crazy looking.
WTF????? She sat with a crash down on the entrance hall chair and gulped water from a bottle. Told us a very jumbled up story about fall - ambulance - people.
In her story she had fallen going INTO the station, people helped her and the ambulance took her downtown?? And then she walked around downtown until 8.30 pm????
All very odd. But actually probably true. Maybe someone took her downtown on the train? Surely NOT the ambulance. 
And why didn't she come home and rest after a fall? Not sensible. But I can imagine that after all the fall drama she was still determined to continue on her plans for going downtown. It's the kind of decision she would make - despite the advice of station/ambulance staff.

But, she seems ok.....we hope.
One of my students said this week that her 91 year old mother fell and hit her head WHILE WEEDING in the garden! At 91 years old!! A large cranial blood bruise developed and has now slipped down thru her face and to her some horror film inside-the-body creature.
We are so lucky that Okaasan's accidents, so far, haven't resulted in serious injury. I've said here many times...if she injured herself enough to go to hospital then maybe THEN she would get assessed as having dementia and maybe THEN we would get outside help/day care arranged.
All maybe.

This week is hard on all of us, as he is working late and my evening classes too. His regular taxi customer goes back to Tokyo tomorrow and we'll get back to our routine.

Wednesday, 27 June 2012

Reality check

Had dinner with Okaasan last night.
Just the two of us, cos he was working late. made me realize: Okaasan really DOES have dementia.
The conversation circles within circles within circles...on and on and on and on...

It's pure dementia in action. A story from the distant, personal past, told with the same words and phrases in 1-2 minute loops.
Dinner was potato and cabbage, one of Okaasan's favorites, and I got her onto the topic: "you like potatoes because your mother came from Hokkaido, didn't she?".
So her chat was: wartime we didn't have food in the Tokyo area, if you had relatives in the country they could send you food maybe, but the local police opened up the packages and stole the food...and I didn't go to school, I worked in a factory making military underwear, I didn't have lessons, classmates who hated English were happy to miss school, the underwear sewing machines were noisy....
Repeat till dinner is finished. 8 times? No, own mind kind of blanked out.

In summer it is kind of easy to forget quite how bad Okaasan's dementia is, because she slips from day to day ok. watches TV, eats the lunch we put out for her, takes a bath when we tell her to, washes a few of her own clothes, goes for an afternoon walk and shop, comes home and sort of joins in dinner time conversation with family....washes dinner plates occasionally, takes in laundry, goes to the toilet herself etc All positive things that she CAN still do.
Yes, the dirty underwear is in layers of twos/threes in the laundry basket; yes, there are rotting Taiwan banana skins by the sofa; yes, there are confusions about folk dance vs. hula dance classes - but generally she is ok.

However, that hamster wheel conversation. Oh :-(
Yujiro says it is good for her: it shows she is relaxed and lets her chat on and on about her memories. I guess so. My Japanese language skills isn't good enough to fill out a whole dinner time with conversation (like him!!), so Okaasan fills it out. And how!

Sigh. Exhausting to give the same, interested responses.
Really? no food? How hard! Really? no school? You worked? Underwear for soldiers? Really?


Finish with a food picture. I have the tea party for my students coming this weekend. So I am practicing my cake making skills. I made sponge cake and carrot cake at the weekend. The carrot cakes were a success - yum!

For some reason, I chose Saturday as the party day this year. So, Yujiro will be home..and Okaasan? She panics if we say someone is coming to the house. I won't tell her this time. And then, about an hour before the party I will casually mention that there is tea and cake in the garden at 3 pm if she would like to join us - so she at least gets out of her pajamas and into clothes. All my students are, of course, wonderful friendly, Japanese people. Most of them middle aged and older. Okaasan would enjoy meeting them I think. But the whole meeting-strangers thing usually spins her world off its orbit a little.

Monday, 25 June 2012

Blowing a trumpet for Fukushima

It's my blog: may as well blow my own trumpet here for a project close to my heart.

Ordinary Life is a documentary about the people - and dogs - of Fukushima. It was made by Sapporo director Taizo Yoshida.
I went to the premiere in Sapporo, back in March, and suggested to Yoshida-san that if he hadn't got English subtitle translators in mind, I could help with my contacts of students/friends/colleagues.
So 14 wonderful translators have given their services for free, and now an American friend and I have been editing it...and we are uniting translation and film. We hope that the stories of Fukushima people as shown in Ordinary Life will reach non-Japanese audiences through these subtitles.

Tonight the local newspaper, the Hokkaido Shimbun, featured us :-)

If ANYONE out there has connection to film festivals/film distribution circles outside Japan - let me know. We of course want to get this film and its message a wider audience.

Sunday, 24 June 2012

Where next?

Calm after storm of confusion.
Okaasan is back in her nice safe routine. 
BUT....I saw her sitting there looking at a diary...and culture school booklet...and...and..AND...leaflets from travel agents for Hawaii tours!!!
My God! What if she booked a tour???
Actually she doesn't have access to enough money to pay a deposit etc - I think...but even so, it would be a whole new level of surprise if she made plans to leave the country!
Yujiro actually controls her pension and other monies. We dole out about Y1,000 ($10) a day to her for incidental shopping, carefully never giving her money that will get spent on all sorts of stuff.
But I guess she could go into a travel agent and sign up for a tour, and then when the deposit is due suddenly ask for a large amount of money. Or the tour company would suddenly phone here and give Yujiro a heart attack. :-)

What would Yujiro do?
I really don't think she could go on a tour unaccompanied. Even a Japanese tour, where the guide caters to the customers' every need. She wouldn't be any good with new places, and people and "meet at the bus in 10 mins/come down to the hotel lobby at 7 am" etc. She would need a guide just for her, to make sure she was remembering it all.
But, but...this is an independent lady who signed up for hula classes and the tour to Hawaii within weeks of her husband's death.

We had a good time Friday night - a bar with food on Groupon, and then a very good pub restaurant in Susukino. Talked about Okaasan a bit...but not too much....both of us just exhausted with all of that.
Decided really to just leave her and her leaflets. Not to step in and make her dreaming into reality by booking classes and making appointments. Maybe it is better just to let her dream.

Okaasan has a table full of little notes to herself. Often about TV shopping offers - prices and phone numbers...but she never calls them, despite having the cell phone. Relief really.
Some of her notes are in English - I think bits of English she sees on TV education shows - there is one at the moment that says: "I am dizzy" she storing up useful phrases to use with me?

Friday, 22 June 2012

Excuse hunting........

Didn't go!
Okaasan 1/The Rest of the Confusing World 0.

I came back with shopping early afternoon to find Okaasan reluctantly getting ready to go.
Yujiro had just called her to make sure she was coming to meet him.
I unpacked shopping in the kitchen and made supportive noises.
But she was pretty negative: I don't want to go, Yujiro says I should go, I don't like Folk dance, it's boring, I want to do a different class, why do you think I want to do this, I found another class I want to do, I don't like folk dance, Yujiro says I should go...on and on and on.
It was also starting to rain lightly, so I drove her to the subway station and cheerfully waved her off with her dancing shoes and a hula dance skirt in a bag.
I returned to work.

Came home at 4.30 pm to prep her dinner (we are going out tonight...couple date nite :-))
Okaasan came home at 5 pm.
The folk dance had been from 3.30 to 5.15 pm.
Obviously...something fishy.

She looked tired and old and confused. So different from the lady who came home from the hair salon on Tuesday with her nice new perm.
No, I didn't go. Downtown? Um...maybe, I went. Met Yujiro at the coffee shop? Um.....not sure. It was raining, nobody came. I didn't go to folk't know...can't remember.....

She's flopped by the Tv now.
He says she came to meet him, obviously didn't want to go to the class. So he didn't force it. Instead he went back to work and  left her go off to a coffee shop for coffee and cake......but she didn't have enough money for the coffee shop...they called him...he went back and paid for her...and went back to work...and ...and...and...

Exhausting. All of it. We've all been thinking about this folk dance class all day...with various degrees of stress....

But no, she DIDN'T really want to go. And so, she didn't.
Guess we'll learn from that experience then. Not sure what yet. To let Dreaming Okaasans Dream On? Let her study leaflets about dance classes, but just let it stay at that stage and not set it up for her to go?

I need a drink. 
Friday night. Loong week. Loong day.
I am heading out to meet my man and his Groupon vouchers.
I need alcohol.

Let the panic begin...

Folk dance class try-out day has dawned.

And Okaasan is getting nervous.

Doesn't want to go.

Large clouds of deja-vu are fighting for air space above us. ;-(

SHE came home weeks ago with the Folk Dance class leaflet.
She had asked someone at the culture school what time the try out class started.
She had looked all enthusiastic about going along to it.
She had said how friendly the people in the picture looked.
She has sat for weeks, looking at the class leaflet and the culture school booklet for that group.

But, when we have mentioned it this week she has appeared surprised...

Then this morning Yujiro typed up a sheet of paper to tell her: a) the class is today, b) you should leave the house by 2.30 pm and c) you should meet me at your usual coffee bar downtown and we'll go together.
He gave it to her.
She spent 5 minutes reading it, and reading the leaflet and booklet again...and again.

And then she called him downstairs....

Why did you book this class for me? I don't want to go, folk dance is boring, I prefer Latin dance...this isn't any good, I never said I wanted to go to this, why do you think so....on and on and on.

He's now had about 4 conversations about this in the space of an hour, and he's gone to work. I am leaving soon. We HOPE she'll go downtown this afternoon and at least try the class...and then decide whether to go or not. Cos it's a TRY-OUT class!!!!

But, what is happening here? Why is she doing this?
Joining a class was a nice idea, but only that? The reality is scary for her? Meeting new people, doing something new....all very scary?
Recently she has got out all her hula dance skirts and accessories, and hung them up in her room - so it seemed she was getting interested in the idea of dance again.
But maybe it was only that - the idea of something. Not the reality.
He says he begin to have doubts this week when she appeared surprised to hear the class date was approaching, because he thinks she would remember something that she really wanted to go to - like the Mambo Concert recently.
And so ....we'll see.

Seems Okaasan going to an activity class gives us all stress...

Wednesday, 20 June 2012

Hair-um scare-um

Took Okaasan to the hair salon yesterday.
Reminded her about an hour before Lift Off, and then kept reappearing in the kitchen to keep the thought in mind...and at 9.30 am Okaasan and Me trotted out, companionably and went to catch the subway downtown.

We get quite a few looks in public, the old Japanese lady and foreign family member isn't so common - so people are having a furtive gawk and trying to work out the relationship.
Old Lady and Slave?

It is just as well I take her, I am not at all sure she really knows where the salon is. Everytime we get off the subway train she turns to head to the same exit - the routine of her trips downtown. But, in fact, for the hair salon it is best to use a different exit and a hidden elevator.
Got her to the salon on time, made sure she had enough money for a post-cut lunch downtown, paid the salon in advance on my credit card and left them to it...went off to work.

By chance Yujiro got spotted by Okaasan about 2-3 hours later - as he was working with the bike taxi, she stopped him and asked him where she should have he directed her to a restaurant.
I kind of wonder how good she is at making a decision (like where to have lunch) which is OUT of her routine downtown.

Anyway. Hair cut looks great. All trimmed and permed and tidy.
This is the hair salon that a student introduced to us. Obviously the hair stylist mentions this woman every time, as in "Mrs. O came in recently"...and every single time Okaasan comes home and says to me: "and you've just been there Amanda, haven't you?"...I guess she has never met Mrs. O, so the purely verbal information isn't quite sticking. Funny that :-)
Ready for the great Folk Dance class debut on Friday.
I so, so SO hope this class will be a success.

Sunday, 17 June 2012

Ordinary Life


...made a hair appointment for Okaasan for next week, so she'll be presentable when she debuts in the Folk Dance class next Friday, we shopped and cooked and cleaned..and Okaasan went out and came home on time (mostly)...she even remembered to tell us that the house owner came by to check the recent paint job.

Sapporo got yet another summer festival - but not much summer weather - and I made up a A4 paper about the festival location and date, with some pictures - left it on the kitchen table next to Okaasan's lunch , along with some money...but she didn't go.
Last year I took her to this festival, and Yujiro met us - but so terribly late (cos he got a late taxi customer), that really it was ME taking his mom to a crowded festival...which isn't much like family fun.
So I funked out this year and gave her the info in case she wanted to go herself.
But she didn't. Or maybe she did. Who knows.

And Okaasan fell again. On the front doorstep. No injuries, that we know of.
She was just coming home as we were heading out to a friend's dinner - so she walked up the steps to the front door while looking back at Yujiro in the parking area - and SPLAT! fell on her face on the, thankfully, slightly softer rubber mat.
No cut, no blood...but a shock for all of us.

Since then she remembers the fall sometimes: and then doesn't eat lunch/dinner. Or, she doesn't remember it at all: and wonders why we are asking her if she'd like to eat.


And she bought herself more Taiwan bananas...and ate them all in 24 hours.

And? That's about it.

And I was busy editing the Japanese documentary Ordinary Life - made by a Sapporo director called Taizo Yoshida. It's about the people of Fukushima and their lives after the horrors of last year.
A team of us are volunteering our translating and editing services to put English subtitles to the film so it can be shown in the US this summer. 14 translators, two editors....and a lot of women-hours (everyone is a woman!) we went to the director's home and edited the subtitles for interviewed by two local newspapers...and then the reporters sat down and had lunch with us...all wonderfully laidback.
Hard, exhausting work. But so worth it.

Can't imagine how tough it must have been for families in Fukushima with dementia-suffering family members - the endless stress and change of location. Some evacuees moved 5 or more times to different evacuation centers.

Anyway. That's what our ordinary life has been in the past few days.

Wednesday, 13 June 2012

Banana Bonanza.

THOSE Taiwan bananas?
Gone! In an evening.
Monday night there were 5 or 6 bananas in the fruit bowl in the kitchen.
Yujiro had a banana conversation with Okaasan - reminding her that "Yes, those are Taiwan bananas, the only bananas fit for human consumption, and yes, YOU bought them yesterday, and YES, they are yours and you should eat them...because we are stupid people who are happy to eat cheap, nasty things that the Philippines or Mexico foist off on unsuspecting Japanese supermarkets..."
By Tuesday morning there was only one left.
Okaasan ate the rest.

When she likes a food she really likes it. And eats loads, all of them. Now!

However, we may be heading into another tooth-saga, last night at dinner Okaasan suddenly stopped eating and complained that her tooth hurt.
Shouldn't eat anything, should ?, not eating is better, isn't it?
And looking in pain and sad she pushed back from the table and headed back to her room and the TV.
The dental work of last year may need another patching job.

Anyway - cooking in the next few days may get a bit easier if she isn't eating :-)


Gorgeous, cute, wonderful cat pictures to follow. Your daily Cat Fix.

Monday, 11 June 2012

Festival family.

Yosakoi Soran Festival is a HUGE deal in the city we live.
A big 5-day dance event, over 1 million visitors and thousands of amateur dancers in crazy costumes perform through the streets behind trucks with massive sound systems, waving flags and shouting/singing.
It's here and there and everywhere. You can't escape it. The subways are full of dance teams hurrying to another performance place and streets are closed for the event.
I love it. Japanese people going just a bit crazy, in the best possible way ;-)
Saturday evening Okaasan came home.
She'd been to Odori, the center of town.
Did you see the Yosakoi Festival?
The festival? No, where is it? Is it near the university? I didn't see anything....
God knows WHERE she'd been - maybe walking round the underground shopping area with her eyes fixed on shops....
Hard to miss Yosakoi really. People try. But they fail. Saturday afternoon in Sapporo you'd think it would be impossible NOT to see it.

So, Sunday we took her.
Down to our local shopping area, where teams dance up and down the street, for the locals.
One of my old students and her husband run the drugstore, so we got given chairs and could sit on the pavement and let all the dance happen before us.
I think Okaasan enjoyed it. Maybe. It IS very noisy, and many of the teams we saw were scary looking youths wearing black and doing dramatic gestures....not quite Okaasan's kind of dance really. 
NO flowers and plastic beads :-)

By 11.30 she was looking hungrily at the food stalls, as she hadn't had breakfast. So we left and had family lunch in a local "family restaurant", which was ok.

And then supermarket shopping.
We usually avoid this at all cost. Shopping with Okaasan: very stressful, because she shops at a different pace to us and examines everything carefully...and buys all sorts of random stuff we don't know how to cook!!
Between the carpark and the store doors she told us twice that THIS was the shop where she buys her magazines (we know)...and then once in the store she grabbed a shopping cart and went on ...and on...and on about "I need my magazine".
Yujiro craftily disappeared upstairs to get printer ink - leaving Okaasan and Me to shop together.
I managed to get her to stand 1 minute in front of cat food while I hurled cans in he trolley, but she was impatiently whining "my magazine, my magazine" JUST like a small child : "MUmmmmmmeeeee, sweeties, pleeeese!!!!"
When she needs something, she needs it RIGHT NOW. Of course she doesn't know that she expressed that need 20 seconds ago, 40 seconds she goes on...and on.
Finally I let her trolley away to the magazine corner, while I went back to the main entrance to get another basket - and do the food shopping in peace.
10 minutes later we all met up - by the Taiwan bananas :-) Which she bought, carefully. I'll be interested to see if she likes the fruit she has selected herself.

And so, on and on.
Sorry, this blog is pretty mundane. Life with dementia, lots of "same".
No great earthshattering stuff to report.

But my cats are cute. :-) 

Thursday, 7 June 2012

Home. For now.

The socks are home. :-)
All neatly put away in the drawer in pairs.
They must be in sock shock - after a year or two left out on the carpet, split up from their partners.
Now, all safely as good socks should be - in a drawer.
For now.


Had coffee yesterday with a Japanese friend who is caring for elderly parents, although they live in an assisted flat near her home - she seems to do a lot of the running to and fro to make sure their daily life is ok. Her mother has dementia.
Much more advanced than Okaasan - and sad and frustrating tales of 3 times-a-day baths, dirty clothes, refusal to go to Short Term Stay-care so her poor husband can take a break....on and on.
Last night I lay awake thinking about Yujiro's refusal - or complete avoidance - of getting Okaasan fixed up for day care next winter. And I wondered what battles are ahead on that topic.
If he doesn't do anything by the end of August, I will start nagging again. And if THAT doesn't work - what next? I should go along to the city office myself and appeal to them to step in and help me? get a surprise visit from a case worker maybe? Invite "a friend" to lunch...who turns out to be a case worker - catching Yujiro and Okaasan unawares?
That kind of subterfuge sounds bad, and I really hope Yujiro will step up willingly to the topic.
But I worry that he won't.
I taught my Japanese friend the phrase: "Bad cop, good cop".
I'm the bad cop in this situation. summer Okaasan is ok really. She goes out almost every day. She is interested in concerts and flowers and cats and festivals.
I dread winter: when he is away ski teaching and I am in charge, and Okaasan sits and sits and sits for days in front of the TV, unable to judge for herself anymore whether the road surface is safe enough to go out for a walk.

For now we shop and cook and wash dishes and do laundry and room cleaning for her, manage the money, make sure she gets to places she want to go ongoing for her.

Wednesday, 6 June 2012

Focus, focus...

Gave Okaasan some damp laundry to hang up herself yesterday.
But, I made the mistake of also giving her the clothes hanger frame - which was a little broken.
She sat down on the sofa and started to try and fix the hanger frame.....which seemed a good idea - good use of her brain and hands...I thought.
I'd realized, too late, that there were actually two empty hanger frames already in her room, but she was already determinedly fixing the broken one. So I left her to it.

I came home at the end of the day and found....still broken hanger frame...and...two empty hangers....and the plastic bowl of slightly less damp laundry sitting in the center of the room...
She'd given all her focus to the broken thing...finally given up on that...and forgotten WHY she was trying to fix it.


Socks: my neatly arranged sock-pairs in the basket arrangement has vanished.
The basket is there - empty on the carpet.
The socks, and the pegs keeping them together in Sock Couples, have gone. Maybe Okaasan has put them all away in drawers? Maybe. Will she find them again?

Yesterday I saw two old ladies walking downtown. One was helping the other. But one was like walking-dead-kind-of-face - that no-expression mask, just shuffling forwards, with no focus, mouth set tight...
I can spot 'em a mile off now - the dementia sufferers.
One day I'll probably become a bilingual, dementia care professional.
So happy Okaasan has enough brain matter to give some focus to broken hanger thingies.

oh - cat picture?
Here we are!

Sunday, 3 June 2012

Shake your maracas!

Is that how you spell maracas? Those South American, dry bean-filled shaking things?

Okaasan went mambo yesterday.

We sent her off to this concert and she had a great time. came home all energised and smiley. And then slept all evening.

She loves music, specially Latin-music and was delighted with the seat I'd got her near the stage.
She went alone - because she really doesn't mind going to concerts alone, and in fact is proud of the fact that she doesn't mind. Often tells a story about how a neighbor was amazed that she would go alone to music she loves...
It was in the concert hall near where we used to live, but Yujiro thought it best to take her - because her memory for places she hasn't been to recently seems patchy.
So he got her primed up in the morning, early lunch, changed the photocopied ticket I'd given her 2 months ago for looking at, for the REAL ticket....she was ready and had her coat on way too early - we had to tell her to go and sit down and chill.
Then he drove her to the concert hall and off she went.

We enjoyed a Saturday at home...well I did a flash clean of Okaasan's room and some of her laundry etc - but also my neglected garden...and a movie on TV...and stuff with cats...

And Okaasan came home all happy at 5 pm, clutching convenience store food she'd bought. And she slept, and he and I could have dinner together.

All good.

Different ramblings: I had an interesting discussion with two older students Friday about dementia, and how/if you would know yourself in the early stages.
One of my students is in her 70s, as mentally alert and on-the-ball as anything - but she sees friends with dementia and hears about Okaasan from me.
Do people know themselves that all is not well - early on?

I don't think so.
Dementia comes in many forms - not everyone even has the memory loss that is maybe the most known aspect of this disease.
Would you know about yourself?
Would things be more confusing and frustrating, arrangements and schedules hard to keep track of? Would it seem that people around you are being less helpful and obstructive to what you want?
Early signs are often - less care about personal appearance, housework, daily life things that need doing, less energy, more sitting staring at the TV, less social interaction, more sleeping...

If you yourself were doing all of this - would you notice??

Funny story from my student S-san - a friend of hers was so worried about getting dementia that she booked an appointment at the specialist and went along to get tested.

"If you're well enough to make this appointment and come along here today - you don't need testing! Go home!" he told her.


and...finally...for the blog reader who asked me for more cat pictures:

you are SO right. Can never have too many cute cat pictures!!