Sunday, 28 December 2014

So that was Christmas...

...and another year almost gone.

I made it to the end of working. Well, classroom working. I still have a massive editing job to do over the holidays which I think I can do with cups of tea and regular supplies of Xmas chocolate..

Christmas came and went, without Okaasan noticing much.
It isn't a big thing for her generation of Japanese, so I didn't feel too guilty to be going out for fun with friends and students.
I decorated the bits of the house she sees - toilet and kitchen, entrance hall. And on Christmas Eve and Day I made her mealtime sitting place at the kitchen table look festive.

Dear Son got back late on Christmas night from work, so after a lot of eating and drinking with friends I cooked him a cheese and potato omelete and shared some TV time with him. He is home for 4 nights in a row, which is in itself a present to us as a couple at this time of year. Ski school schedule change brought him to a ski area nearer home. He'll be here till Tuesday, and then gone again.

Okaasan ok.
Went out with day care helper Christmas Eve and didn't buy up a ton of food. Only a huge cabbage.
She had another toilet accident that evening. I was making Christmas cup cakes for a class, humming carols etc Noticed that she'd been in the toilet ages....she came out looking a bit sheepish...I made gentle helpful noises: "upset stomach?" and she mentioned not quite getting to the toilet in time, but claimed to have cleaned it up.
She hadn't.
But I couldn't break my fruity Chrissmassy cup cake joy with carols to face that on Christmas Eve. I just bundled up the soiled mat (had only been newly cleaned and in place 5 hours!) and carpet tile - and put them in the bathroom to cope with the next day on my way to work.

Oh. And the chair standing and top cupboard exploring.
She's at it again today...

Got a bit testy with me when I said it was dangerous and that the only things up there were unwanted stuff. Told me: Japanese people don't fall off chairs (!!!!!) and that you should always sort through things in case you might need them now.


I got her into a bath and then did a frantic 20 minutes clear out of the top closet. Put the bags into trash bags for protection and put six bags (each containing about 8 smaller bags!) into the shed in the garden. Left about 3 bags on the floor in her room for her to sort through. Took the closet doors out of their runners and hid them.
Now she can SEE there are no more things up there to reach for. She can sort through the stuff within reach. And hopefully be content enough. Because I really can't start hiding the kitchen chairs every time I go out :-)

I'm sure this sudden interest in the closet is a sudden burst of end of year cleaning thoughts. But she can't be standing on a chair like this as her age. Her balance on a flat shopping mall floor isn't great. A chair is an Everest.
But the dementia makes her aggressive to any suggestion of help: even when I showed her after the bath how I'd helped her - look I took the things down for you. Now you can sort them out safely. She was still testy with me. No gratitude for the help.

I got her all smiley and chatty at lunch: wartime food, New York, etc. The old tales. Maybe just averted a flareup.
I'm going to get DS to warn her about chair climbing though, she does listen to him and if he says something is dangerous she may take his advice. May.

I have to get rid of all these bags. Shall have to find someone who does flea markets in the spring and offload them all.

And so. Another New Year holidays of Okaasan and Me approaches.

Dear Son will be away. It'll be me and Okaasan for the festivities. I bought some frozen crab legs and readymade traditional food. I'll take her shopping tomorrow and try to control the amount she buys.



  1. I don´t know if you have heard of Coursera - a kind of Open University, but free.
    I was checking their offers for 2015 and this one may interest you -

    "Health professionals and students, family caregivers, friends of and affected individuals, and others interested in learning about dementia and quality care will benefit from completing the course. Participants will acquire foundational knowledge in the care of persons with Alzheimer’s Disease and other neurocognitive disorders in this 5-week free course."


    1. Sounds interesting! If I had the time....time...time...actually this whole experience of living with Okaasan HAS made me very interested in dementia and care. One day...maybe I can do formal learning.