Okaasan lives a daily routine.
Wake, doze, open curtains, toilet, doze, TV, doze....Tv....doze.....lunch.....doze, sleep...TV....late afternoon walk....shops.....home....TV...dinner.....TV.....doze...sleep.
Not this past week.
The old apartment building across the road is being knocked down. 8 am to 5 pm the whole street is shuddering with the digger, the breaker, the truck etc And even in the one hour lunch break, when quiet might come - the truck driver keeps the engine running for his essential air con.
So, it's noisy.
Gives us all stress.
Okaasan complains about it, in her usual strange round-about-way. It isn't that: "I don't like that noise" - but "Dear Son doesn't like that noise and he went to work early!", "the woman next door said "We shouldn't put our laundry outside because of the dust!" (this is actually Okaasan's opinion about ME and MY laundry...which I have reassured her about countless times this week).
So she goes out earlier in the afternoon. To escape the crash and bash of deconstruction.
And yesterday: left the house at 9.30 am!!! I went downstairs to check the money in her wallet before I left for work. And she'd gone.
Caused us a few troubles because it was a lunch box delivery day, so I contacted Dear Son, he contacted the delivery guy...and the box was left in the fairly cool hallway. Okaasan still out.
I came home at 6 pm to find Okaasan surrounded by empty and full food boxes. The ones she had bought outside, the delivered one. All scattered around on the carpet and table around her. She was eating a rice ball. The shopping receipts (ALWAYS my main source of info about her day!!!) showed that she was round our local shops buying stuff at 11 am...and THEN went downtown by subway and around 3 pm DS met her while he was bike taxi working.
So she was out for hours - 6 hours or more! All to escape the noise.
Not surprisingly, at dinner she didn't want to eat much. Didn't decide that until the food started to be served (why why is that?) - and then sat at the table watching us eat. But she was lively. Chatty. Unusual. Usually, recently, she sits silent at dinner and I'm afraid he and I chat to eachother about our working days...in English...which isn't inclusive. But she just sits and eats, eyes down. Unconnected....
Yesterday - all the activity in Okaasan's day - forced out by the noise - was actually good for her. Made her go out and walk more. Instead of hours of sleep and TV. It activated her brain much more and in the evening - instead of being exhausted after 6 hours out of the house - she was connected and chatty
Activity is so important. I wish we could get her into day service or a club for the elderly. But she won't. She would need to be organised into it every week, and picked up from home and delivered - she isn't able to follow an appointment. And she and Dear Son aren't doing that. Only the winter care.
When I am old I will make sure to live in a situation where I am almost forced to have daily activity, physical and mental. Sitting by the Tv for hours is so bad. Sleeping in front of the TV in a lit room also bad.
There was a report recently that scientists believe lack of deep sleep over a long time is bad for the brain and allows the buildup of the substances which start blocking the brain connections and end up in dementia. Deep sleep - sooooo important. I think Okaasan has spent years falling asleep in front of the TV, and then waking throughout the night in a fully lit room with the flickering screen.
Too late for Okaasan now. Not too late for me.
We need them!