1. Susan11

    Susan11 Registered User

    Nov 18, 2018
    Today I have to continue the process of emptying Mum's home so it can be sold as she's moved into a care home. I cleared Dad's things in the summer after he died and that wasn't too difficult but with Mum's it's different . There's little room in the CH for ornaments and we've already got some in there. I don't seem to be able to give things away without heart break even to the local charity shop. What if i give something away and she remembers and asks for it ? My house is now full of boxes to be kept until later ! We will have to tell Mum today that it has to be sold. They lived there 42 years and it's all being put into boxes and given away . So sad . On top of everything else it's so draining .
  2. Grannie G

    Grannie G Volunteer Moderator

    Apr 3, 2006
    Why do you have to tell your mum her house is being sold @Susan11. It will not help her to know.

    I understand how upsetting it is to clear a parent`s home when they are still living but it`s a necessary evil and has to be done.

    I remember when I cleared my mother`s home I kept looking over my shoulder thinking she would walk in at any moment.

    All her `treasured possessions`, first on offer to family members, then to charity shops, then in the bin. I asked for a week`s compassionate leave from work so I could get it done in one go.

    I didn`t dream of telling my mother. She would have been distraught.

    If your mother remembers anything you haven`t taken for her, you can always say you`ll have a look for it.
  3. Morg

    Morg Registered User

    Oct 21, 2018
    Morning Susan 11. I can't imagine how you are feeling this Monday morning, what a difficult thing to face. I expect to be in a similar situation within a year. I have tried to imagine the process and there's a bit of me that if mum moved to a care home I would like to lock up my childhood home and never see it or its contents again. I think the last few sad miserable and to be honest grubby years have wiped away any good memories. I am thinking of you and wishing you emotional and physical strength. I am sure you mum appreciates all your efforts, how lovely she is now safely cared for. Regards Morg x
  4. 2jays

    2jays Registered User

    Jun 4, 2010
    West Midlands
    My heart goes out to you

    It does indeed feel like heartbreak when clearing the home of someone who is still alive, but not needing the “stuff” anymore. A kind of betrayal

    Hindsight : heartbreaking as it is, dont store stuff in your own home... deal with it now. Take photos of special stuff before getting it a new home.

    4+ years after mum moving into care, 2 yrs after she has died, I still have boxes of “stuff” from my mums home. I found it almost impossible dealing with it all, almost felt like betrayal.

    It was slightly easier to look at the boxes of things that needed dealing with once mum had died, less of a betrayal but still very difficult.

    There is no need to tell mum it has to be sold. If asked, distraction is useful, delaying tactics if asked for an item. White lie/love lie and say it’s gone into storage and you will look for whatever is asked for, if you must say something.

    I feel it’s another almost impossible situation that dementia puts us in. We look at things rationally, emotionally, and it breaks our heart. It possibly isn’t as important to mum as it is for you xx
  5. tryingmybest

    tryingmybest Registered User

    May 22, 2015
    Just read this and wanted to send you strength to cope. Xx
  6. Bunpoots

    Bunpoots Registered User

    Apr 1, 2016
    I had to do this when my dad went into a carehome in September. I found it distressing to say the least. When I started I went there with the intention of clearing a room - all I managed that day was a food cupboard!

    I also intended to get rid of everything directly from dad’s bungalow, but I’ve still got a lot of stuff at my house that I still need to deal with...

    Sending you strength for the task ahead
  7. love.dad.but..

    love.dad.but.. Registered User

    Jan 16, 2014
    I found it more difficult to clear mum and dad's house because dad was still alive and it just seemed wrong to have to do it whereas when someone has died clearing the house seems whilst sad a natural conclusion. I didn't tell dad and he never mentioned his house...his decline has gone beyond that understanding it felt deceitful but many things I had to do or tell dad in love lies felt the same so the house was just added to my list! Does your mum still have enough clarity to understand? Perhaps not so I wouldn't tell her and if she asks about the house just say it is veing looked after. I was very selective on things to keep and have them stored in my home...18 mths after dad died I still have to sort them although I am forcing myself to start so for me that doesn't get any easier from the house sale stage
  8. canary

    canary Registered User

    Feb 25, 2014
    South coast
    Im another one with boxes of mums stuff in the house. I still cant bear to go through them.

    Having to clear and sell her home felt like going behind their back, but I never did tell her I had done this. She could not have understood and would have just have got upset.
  9. MothersCarer

    MothersCarer Registered User

    Nov 13, 2014
    I am going through the same process but we are not intending to tell mum although I am not sure what I will do if she asks me outright; I don't know why she would though.

    Having sorted things out for mum when dad died I am determined to bring as little as possible back to my house - basically only paperwork to go through, photos and jewelry. So much of the so far 14 bags I have taken to the charity shop are things my mother would never miss and will not remember she had. It is basically difficult thinking that decisions have been made for mum that she doesn't agree with (she is still saying occasionally that she wants to go home) but equally "home" and her ability to live in it are not what she is actually remembering. She is so much better off now there is 24 hour care and, hard though I agree this is it simply has to be done.

    I have been putting off moving myself because of mum's needs so need to do this for me when we have finally sorted it out so certainly do not want to have to go through things of mums at the same time as sorting mine and, should I not get round to it, I don't want my daughter having to do what I am doing now.
  10. Canadian Joanne

    Canadian Joanne Volunteer Moderator

    Apr 8, 2005
    Toronto, Canada
    I moved my mother from her marital home in British Columbia to Ontario December 30, 2000. I was there for 1 week or so and in that time I had to pack everything up she wanted (and discourage her as much as possible for the more impossible requests), arrange for the legal separation from my stepfather (which he & I agreed on) and cook Christmas dinner. It was the most dismal Christmas I have ever had.

    I had 2 skids of furniture and household effects moved to my work and then I brought the boxes a few at a time home for weeks. My sister, who worked full-time, was driving up from Montreal every weekend (one way 6 hour drive) to visit Mum and for the two of us to go through the boxes. It was an exhausting task. We donated bags and bags of clothing to a women's shelter. We did, of course, keep things for ourselves.

    But we were lucky in that we did not have to go through an entire house. I also think that triage made it much easier for us when my mother died. She only had ornaments and clothes essentially when she died.

    We moved just over a year ago and downsized, so we were able to get rid of so much stuff. I still have some boxes in our storage we need to go through but things are much better.
  11. maryjoan

    maryjoan Registered User

    Mar 25, 2017
    South of the Border
    You will know what is right for you. If you can store the boxes in your loft or garage, that will help.
    It is a kind of grief process, and things work themselves out.

    My son died when he was 13, and it took me 20 years to get rid of a suitcase with his clothes in. First it was kept in my room, then in a loft and then when I moved out I said to my OH - that I wanted the case to go, I did not want to know where or when, but would he deal with it - and he did.
    I still have a drawer with my sons school reports and other mementoes in - he has been dead now for 23 years.

    It might be that you hang on to Mum's things until she dies, before it feels right for you.
  12. ellejay

    ellejay Registered User

    Jan 28, 2011
    When my mum went into a CH in 2011, her house had to be cleared quickly. It was an LA owned house & we had 2 weeks to do it. As mum was a hoarder ( we found calendars from 1982! ) speed was necessary. We offered to family & friends , but there was so much. In the end, it went to charity shops or the tip.

    Like you we worried she would miss her treasures, we took a selection for her room. Within weeks, she was asking " Who put all this rubbish in here? Take it away"

    You do feel awful, but it has to be done and in the end, its just "stuff" .

    Lin x
  13. Amy in the US

    Amy in the US Registered User

    Feb 28, 2015
    Hello, @Susan11. I am sorry to hear of your father's recent death and that you now have to clear the house. I imagine you have had a lot going on recently.

    I have had to do house clearances also, and they are always a lot of work and never a pleasant task. I cleared an aunt's home on a tight schedule before a cross-country move due to sudden illness; I cleared my fathers house (which had been my childhood home) after he died; and my OH and I cleared my mother's home when she went into the care home (after a crisis, hospitalization and unexpected dementia diagnosis). My mother's home turned out to contain a great deal of items from my grandparents' home so it was like clearing a second childhood home (I spent a lot of time there) as well as reliving a lot of my childhood and mother's life. It is hard to clear a house when someone has died, but not unexpected. It is odd and unsettling to clear the home of someone who is alive and still seems to be "themself" but who is unaware and cannot assist or take part.

    I never told my mother I was clearing the house or selling it or after it was sold. My mother, then in a care home, was well past the stage of being able to understand and it would only have distressed her. As she was prone to anxiety and upset I deemed it more important to keep her calm and not introduce possible distress. Not only did she have poor short term memory at that point, but her executive functioning and reasoning skills were severely impaired. I have also never used the words "Alzheimer's" or "dementia" with my mother or discussed the fact that she has dementia. As she has anosognosia and no insight and was, earlier on, easily distressed, there was no point in anything that might upset her.

    My mother never, ever asked about any of her things. It was very disorienting and disconcerting to see her so detached from her beloved possessions. She had always been very particular about a lot of the items in her house (too involved, perhaps, in the veneration of objects) but they no longer registered with her. This was one of the odder aspects of dementia for which I was unprepared.

    I took some of her precious items to the care home and they were met with no recognition. This freed me to be able to dispose of some of it, but like others here, I have boxes and boxes and boxes of her things in my house. I would urge you to get rid of as much as you can now, so your basement doesn't end up looking like mine! But if you really cannot, then go ahead and store it. You will know when the time is right.

    My mother's house was filthy as well as crammed with stuff and it took a long time, working weekends (we lived 100 miles away) to clear it. What helped: company, regular breaks for tea and meals and fresh air, music, and sorting things out straightaway rather than arranging and rearranging piles. So we had bags or boxes for rubbish, recycling, items to sell (she had hundreds of books), items to donate to be picked up, items to donate to take to the charity shop, and so on. I also set up boxes for important papers (one for legal and financial, one for family history, and so on) and for photographs. It was filthy and emotionally and physically grueling and I don't envy anyone this job.

    I honestly would not discuss this with your mother, or ever even mention it. If she should ask about her home or her things or bring it up in conversation, I would just reassure her that everything is fine, that you will take care of things (and you will-that is not a lie) and take care of her, and then distract and move on.

    It is exhausting and emotionally draining and I don't see any reason to make it harder, by talking to your mother about it.

    Best wishes and I'm so sorry.
  14. Norfolk Cherry

    Norfolk Cherry Registered User

    Feb 17, 2018
    Sending sympathy. I've done this recently, it's very stressful and emotionally draining raking up the past. I took photos of each room before I started, to record all the memories which helped. Some days I could only do it for an hour. Sometimes I felt sad and cried. Other times I felt angry at what I'd lost, what my parents had lost and at what my life had turned into. So it was a mess of feelings that didn't always make sense. I felt terrible guilt which I continue to dip in and out of. I had times of feeling quite ruthless and cold. On the other hand I think the process of looking at each thing, letting myself feel the emotions and explore the memories helped me to let go and move on. As the days went on I found it easier, and once the house was cleared I felt lighter. I've still got boxes but I need that time. All the best.
  15. MothersCarer

    MothersCarer Registered User

    Nov 13, 2014
    I have to agree about the fact that it is draining as I am at home today when I intended to go and do more :( I think tomorrow will be better as the local NHS Medical Equipment people are coming to collect the items that have not gone with her to the home so I need to go over for them. I imagine many of us doing the clearing are not that young ourselves so the tiredness, aches and pains and emotions are not great friends in these times. The best thing I can think of Susan11 is that it has to end in order to get the house on the market and then that has to end once it is sold and with our much loved PWDs safe and cared for we may actually be able to say "and breathe" at that point.
  16. anxious annie

    anxious annie Registered User

    Jan 2, 2019
    I feel for you. My family and I cleared my dads possessions after he died and it was a really hard task. We anticipate doing this is the not too distant future when the house will need to be sold if mum needs to move into a care home. Somehow I think this will be even harder as mum will still be here and her things will be going. But even now she shows very little interest in her things so am not sure if that will lessen the heartbreak. I think I would keep family photos as a priority and she has a couple of ornaments and paintings that she has had as long as I can remember. A task helped with other loved ones I feel to help think about the good times and memories.
  17. Susan11

    Susan11 Registered User

    Nov 18, 2018
    Thanks to everyone for their replies. It's been a real help.
    I made a start at least. Some of Dad's CD's and LP's to the Salvation Army . They are a worthy charity. I did keep some ....South Pacific. I can remember Dad playing it when I lived at home ....over 50 years ago which is why I know all the words to the songs. I found Thank you cards to M&D from some of my husband's relatives for inviting them to our wedding ..again 45 years ago! In fact it was quite touching that Dad had kept these things and I will keep them too.
    Kitchen things were easier as mostly old. I kept the China tea set. I sometimes do Afternoon tea for my French friends and it will be nice to use it. And the crystal glasses ..not to use now but perhaps later for a toast on birthdays. I decided to take the advice and not tell Mum. Saw her Monday and Tuesday . Monday she wasn't well but Tuesday she was in good form and we had a delightful time with her ...a good day to remember.
    Again thanks. Your messages were much appreciated
  18. Normaleila

    Normaleila Registered User

    Jun 4, 2016
  19. maryjoan

    maryjoan Registered User

    Mar 25, 2017
    South of the Border
    Thank you - I remember waking up a couple of days afterwards and thinking I have to live the rest of my life with this awful sadness - and I have done, we can do remarkable things sometimes can't we?
  20. maryjoan

    maryjoan Registered User

    Mar 25, 2017
    South of the Border
    When my mother in law died very suddenly and I had to travel over 250 miles to where she lived. We had the funeral one day, and had to clear her rented home the following day. As you say, I gritted my teeth, apologised out loud to her, and went into her bedroom with a bin bag to make a start.....

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