My Dad’s a Goldfish – the fidget box

cropped-goldfish-87-1254566814ncva1.jpgAs the Goldfish seems to sink further into himself conversation becomes increasingly limited, as, of course, does his ability to engage in the games of snakes and ladders or dominoes which he previously enjoyed.

We find looking at old photos is no longer a useful thing to do. He shows little interest, perhaps because he no longer recognises the people in the photos. I make up scrapbooks containing pictures of animals and birds, which he enjoys looking at sometimes. Companies produce all kinds of resources including reminiscence cards and DVDs of times gone past but they are expensive and the Goldfish seems to have moved beyond such activities.


A few bits and pieces from the fidget box


Almost by accident, I hit on what we came to call the fidget box. Into a shoe-box sized box I put a random selection of miscellaneous objects. They included a small trophy with the legend, ‘World’s Best Grandad’, fastened inside a clear plastic box; a Christmas cake decoration with Santa in his sleigh being pulled by a reindeer; a small block of wood, one side of which had been charred; a tiny brass spirit level; a small mandala; three small juggling balls; a plastic wallet containing  a dozen old black and white postcards of working horses; a golfing tiepin; a glass paperweight with a picture of a peregrine falcon and a bull’s nose ring.

This latter object puzzled us for a while as we could not figure out what it was. The Goldfish shrugged whenever we asked him. Then, one day in one those moments of lucidity he said: “It’s a nose ring for a bull.”

“It’s quite fancy,” I said, indicating the inlaid metal work.

“It’s for when the bull’s in the show ring.”


World’s best grandad trophy – a bit the worse for being fidgetted with!

The Goldfish had great fun opening the little trophy box, undoing the cord which held the trophy in place and removing the trophy. Then he’d put it back in the box. The fastening disappeared, as did one of the handles but he didn’t seem to mind, or even notice.

One of his favourite pastimes was picking at the leather backing of the paperweight. He finally, after much time and hard work, succeeded in removing it. He could also spend hours with a coaster, attempting to split the picture on the front from the backing.


The fidget box did not work its magic every time we


The fidget box

proffered it to him. Sometimes the Goldfish ignored it. If he did not want to rummage through its contents nothing would persuade him to do so. At other times he would pick up the box and remove the lid himself and be totally content for hours.

Many of the resources and activities for sale are excellent but are more geared to be used when people still have the cognitive ability to recognise artefacts, people and events from the past. I’d recommend a do-it-yourself fidget box.

My Dad’s a Goldfish – home at last

The Goldfish was delighted to be home. DH collected him from the hospital while I shopped and cooked. The three of us ate together before the DH went home leaving me on overnight duty.

The Goldfish seemed not at all worried by the absence of the step-monster. We explained she was visiting her sister and he only asked once in the evening where she was. We settled to watch television but nothing seemed to suit until I found a football match which he watched with apparent interest. When he got up I thought he was going to the bathroom but he said he was looking for the football. I explained it was on television. He sat down again but was very tired and losing his words. He would start to tell me something but the words just weren’t there.

Although he began to repeat he was ready for bed, he made no move to go. It took me a while but I eventually realised he didn’t remember what to do to get ready for bed. I started saying I was tired, too, and that seemed to help motivate him towards the bedroom where he managed to get into his pyjamas and into bed.

The Goldfish slept well and I didn’t do too badly, only waking up a couple of times. He was obviously up several times in the night to pee as the commode (the hospital provided it so I was able to get rid of the bucket) was pretty full.

The bathroom stinks. The Goldfish’s aim isn’t always very good (I think this is probably true of most men!) and there is often a little puddle on the floor. This takes a minute to clean up but the step-monster’s answer is to place a cloth on the floor by the pedestal to catch the spills. Unfortunately she leaves it there for days so instead of a wee puddle which can be instantly wiped up, a stinking, urine-soaked cloth lies on the bathroom floor. I am on a mission to have it stink-free by the time she returns.

Wee-sis and I had meeting with social services. The Goldfish greeted the CC with a big grin and promptly fell asleep. The CC is happy to increase the care package to include a carer to come in for shower and personal care at the weekends. We also discussed having a teatime companion to supervise the Goldfish having his evening meal, which I and Wee-sis would continue to provide but would give us a break in the evenings.

There was some discussion about how the step-monster is going to react. We all know she will be furious. CC said the Goldfish is a vulnerable adult and if he is at risk because of the step-monster’s lack of care they can take steps to ensure he is not at risk. I said I was worried it could lead to removing him from here if this is deemed to be the place where he is at risk but she says that won’t happen. If need be it would mean getting someone in overnight and during the day.

She also arranged for the Goldfish to have a fall detector and we try out the door alarm, which was installed months ago after the Goldfish went walkabout early one morning. It works fine and is very easy to use – though we all know the step-monster will continue to steadfastly ignore it – she prefers to lock the doors and hide the key.

I’ve asked a decorator to come and do some freshening up of paintwork around the house and we’re ordering new carpet for the living room to replace the threadbare remnants of what is there. It’s going to be a busy week getting everything done before her return.