Guilt when disposing of flat contents when Mum in care home

doingmybest1

Registered User
Feb 28, 2017
37
0
Mum's now mid to late AZ and in a care home for the last 2 years (her own expense). She's doing things she never would have done if left in her flat even with carers and our help. She loved swimming as a young girl and now she goes swimming every week, is part of a walking club, does activities every day is part of a knitting club, and although she does have those moments when seeing me and says "Take me home with you" ... I know she is well cared for and has the 24/7 care I tried, but failed to provide after she kept falling at home and went walkabouts without knowing where she was.
I'm now having to sell her flat but also the contents of her flat.
It's the contents I'm struggling with as she's still alive, and she down-sized several times and before the dementia took hold and carefully wrapped and itemized everything that she wanted to take to her "new" home that never happened because of the dementia.
Because I'm LPA and need to clear her flat so it can be sold to fund her care home fees, I have to itemize everything, put it on an inventory, try and assess value.
As part of that process I have to unwrap everything Mum did, and she put labels on most items (although the labels were wrong).
Has anyone else gone through this and felt really guilty that they are trying to itemize things into what can be given to charity, auction, recycle?
Mum is still living, and it breaks my heart when I unwrap things that she wrapped so carefully over 8 years ago and labelled with things like "Mum's special plate". And I'm going to potentially put it to auction as I live in a 2 bed house and don't have the means to store and take care of such items. As I wrap them back up, I do question myself and think sometimes that maybe Mum might be back to how she was and be annoyed I've got rid of her things albeit to a good place.
Is there anyone else out there that's experienced this? I know Mum won't ever be back to how she was, she probably will never remember any of the things I'm about to sell or give away, but there's a part of me that says "what if she suddenly did remember everything, became her previous self?".
It feels so wrong doing this as this is the sort of thing you would do for someone after they had died but Mum is still living and it almost feels like I'm breaking some kind of religious rule.
I know that I need to get the most money I can to ensure she can stay in her care home but I feel so guilty and emotionally struggle to get my head around this.
These are items that she cared for in her life and loved. But I can't keep them because I don't have a place for them as she had a big house and I have a 2 bed house but I feel so guilty when I see the words "Mum's special ...". and it meant so much to her, has no real financial value but obvious was meaningful to her.
It's harder than I thought getting rid of contents for Mum when she's still alive.
Anyone else experienced this?
 

backin

Registered User
Feb 6, 2024
176
0
I had to clear and sell mums house last year. It did feel rotten but I just got on with it. It turned out to not be as traumatic as I thought it would and most of the items I gave to charities as they were low value. The things she favoured were harder, oddly enough the worst thing was a large rug her sister had given her many years ago. But I knew no one wanted it and she was never going to need it so that made it easier
There are a couple of smaller items I kept

Perversely, oh sorted out some of his mum's things that have been in our attic for over 10 years and they to were mostly donated
 

Grannie G

Volunteer Moderator
Apr 3, 2006
82,077
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Kent
It`s a terrible task @doingmybest1

I used to look over my shoulder thinking my mother could walk in any minute and find me disposing of her treasured possessions.

Of course it was only in my imagination because she was safely tucked up in her care home but it carried through the whole time until I locked the door on her empty house.

A nightmare.
 

Violet Jane

Registered User
Aug 23, 2021
2,091
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I had to do this for my mother and it's a very strange feeling. I didn't attempt to sell anything; it didn't even occur to me, to be honest. And due to the pressure that my brother was putting me under (we were renting out her house) I didn't have the luxury of time to donate things to charity.

You have to decide what you would like to keep yourself and dispose of the rest. If your mother had died you would be doing the same. If there are things that you don't want to keep but were special to your mother you could take them into the care home.
 

canary

Registered User
Feb 25, 2014
25,298
0
South coast
Yes, its horrible @doingmybest1
It felt like mum had died and I was wiping her life away. I kept opening cupboards and drawers and things I found reduced me to tears, but it had to be done.

I found getting a friend to help me, and a bottle of wine, helped enormously
 

maisiecat

Registered User
Oct 12, 2023
378
0
You poor thing its so sad especially as she had labelled things so carefully. I've had to do this twice before once for my father-in-law and once for my mum. I am completely unable to tackle this for my husband who is in a nursing home so have his music room with £2000 of equipment that he couldn't play so part of this should come under obsessions.
When you think you must hold onto things for them they just end up in a loft to be cleared out later. I think giving them a new lease of life is better and it sounds like you have found her a wonderful place.
I stood one day and took an hour to decide whether to throw away my Mum's string tin
 

Angel55

Registered User
Oct 23, 2023
181
0
Hi 💗

We are doing the same. We have to sell our house , family home to pay for care. Dad never decluttered anything and some things are still my mums and she has been gone for 15 years. We spent xmas getting the house ready for sale.

It feels all wrong.

Every time I get a message from the estate agent I hate it. Our hearts are heavy with the guilt even though we know it cannot be any other way or it would.

Hugs to all xx
 

2ndAlto

Registered User
Nov 23, 2012
315
0
A lesson to us all to declutter before this task falls to family.

I do understand your feelings of guilt and sadness but the great thing I get from your post is how well your mother is doing in her care home, bless her. Maybe you could keep a few very small things from her house and take them in to show her, talk about with her? As in "look what I found"? But not if you think it will unsettle her.
 

DollyM1

Registered User
Dec 21, 2022
52
0
Yes, me and siblings had to empty and sell dad’s house last year after he went into care. Not only to pay for his care but also to pay back the equity release money 😮
We each took something that had real memories or was useful. The rest went to other family members, charity shops or the tip. Oxfam book shop did particularly well as, one of dad’s obsessions latterly was buying books. Just had notification from Oxfam that they have made £100 so far from our donation.
Yes, it is hard but, as others have said, sorting out will have to be done eventually and for me, once dad had passed, it was a relief that we didn’t have to start clearance. All the best whatever you decide to do x
 

Toopie28

Registered User
Jun 7, 2022
303
0
Yes! Yes! It's heartbreaking. Utterly heartbreaking. All of the stuff she carefully kept for 60 years...
I only managed to pack stuff at her home for a couple of weeks and had to come back home (to US) but will come back to UK in about 5 weeks to start again. Like yourself - need to lease the place to top up care home.

I'm almost afraid she'll either get chucked out OR manage to bribe someone to take her home.

I started wanting to ship everything over to the US but it would cost a fortune and what am I going to do with crystal glasses? I only drink coffee and an abundance of it and don't really have a social life or any life at all so no need. And the photo's - omg, the abundance of photos.

I kept jewelry of course and her teddy bear pajamas. I know - so silly but I loved her in them and didn't want to send them to the home with her. 😭😭

I have to tell you though, I don't have anyone to do it for me so I am starting the purge right now!

Best of luck xxx
 

USoA

New member
Oct 22, 2018
7
0
My Mum finally went into a care home this month. And that is a whole other story, as we had to tell her she was going on holiday, which wasn't a great start to the guilt I now feel at being about to empty her house to sell it in order fund her care. We have decided to find a weekend for all Mum's close family to come over, or have a video call if they cant make it, and choose items that they would like. Everything else is going to be either given to charity or disposed of. My mum had become a hoarder and her huge house is filled to the brim with goodness knows what. However, I hope that all family members will have some things from her house whcih I know would be what she would want if she were of sound enough mind to make that decision. I agree that it does feel all wrong. Mum is not dead. But like others, we have found that she has a new lease of life in the care home, new friends and activities galore. I am focusing on the positive. It is the only way to do this. Good luck to everyone who is in this situation. Please remember that we can all only do the best we can. No one can do more than their best. And yes, de-clutter so that our children do not have to go through this....
 

Kevinl

Registered User
Aug 24, 2013
6,738
0
Salford
Good luck to everyone who is in this situation. Please remember that we can all only do the best we can. No one can do more than their best. And yes, de-clutter so that our children do not have to go through this....
I'm trying to do that right now, all my now late wife's stuff has to go then I'll start on "slimming down" all the detritus I'm responsible for and that's a lot after nearly 40 years in this house, it isn't easy emotionally same with the stuff the kids have left here too from their library of children's books to old school reports, it's as much of my life as it is of theirs. K
 

JackReacher

Registered User
Oct 22, 2022
35
0
It can be a very painful process. I am right in the middle of sorting out my wifes personal belongings going back over 50 years. I remember most of them as we have been married for 49 years and I treasure everything as they are connected to that lovely person I still love but who does not really have any awareness of who I am and who also has no personal ties to clothing or belongings or photos of what has gone before.
My daughter wants it all binned or to charity shops and I suppose she is right. Once its ben donated then its out of sight at least, may be of use to others and raise a few pennies for Dementia.
I could hold onto it all, I have the spare bedrooms and then just leave it alone for after I have gone.
Not decided yet, though have packed things into boxes. I may take them to her care home and see if anything catches her memory, let her have it and if it gets chucked out the window with everything else, then thats life, job done. Jack
 

kettie

Registered User
May 26, 2023
38
0
I feel from my heart for you - I went through a similar thing last year - and you can't help but ponder on 'how do I downsize someones life time of personal possessions into a care home room and what can I take care of for her?' - the word imposter, who am I to have the right to do this springs to mind - but if you can, take your time, go slowly - I put things out on dad's bed, things went off and on the bed over the course of some weeks until 'it felt right'. My father has since passed away, so now I get to do the job for final - reach out to the character of your mum - she sounds as if she cared for her things - take notes as you go along if people, charities spring to mind and see if you can repurpose them to those that will appreciate the items however small - my father had a collection of snazzy silk ties about 35 of them; no one seems to need such items anymore, so in the end it felt right to donate them to the fashion course of an arts university - yes, they will be chopped and repurposed - they will be creatively reused - I like to think of dad's ties been used as snazzy trimmings etc on a young persons imaginative fashion designs: I will send his binoculars to the RSPB who will send them on to countries setting up nature clubs, where children and adults do not have the funds to buy them.

I guess most importantly of all recognise that you are doing your best and it's not something that can be done 'overnight' - pull back from it when you need to - the answers will come because you are a caring person - sending massive amounts of courage and love your way : )
 

Andy-B

New member
Dec 28, 2021
9
0
It is really tough doing this. My wife is in a care home and I am having to clear her things from our house. I have to do it a bit at a time. Doing this in the house that we shared for 40 years and having to admit that she isn't coming back takes its toll. I wish you well with having to do this.
 

Ladylucy

New member
Oct 15, 2023
4
0
Just been through this process. It's not only the guilt of tossing away mum's mostly valueless hoardings( yes another hoarder) but it was also disposing of my childhood effectively. However the relief after her flat was cleared was immense. Now to get it ready to sell!! That could take some time. It's in an awful state.
In truth she has no recollection of her belongings except her jewelry, which she thinks is valuable but actually isnt and I have kept anyway.
She is more concerned with the thousands of worldwide properties that someone has stolen along with the millions in the bank ( oh if only!)
Sometimes laughter is the best medicine.
 

JHA

Registered User
Aug 7, 2021
855
0
I totally understand how you feel. It took me nearly 12 months to even contemplate putting my moms house on the market as it felt so final and deep down I sort of expected her to get better and return home.

I took it slowly and sorted through what little she had and bit the bullet on the clothes when a local charity was doing a clothing sale - it was like going back in history (Clockhouse, C&A, Littlewoods etc and some of it was my old stuff from 30+ years ago that she had claimed to wear when I threw it out).

Unfortunately my mom had been disposing of stuff without my knowledge prior to the diagnosis so there was to be honest very few personal items left. I still find it hard and need to put my big girl pants on this week as some worthless furniture needs to go but it holds memories so I'm finding it difficult.
 

Amueller1

New member
Oct 12, 2022
4
0
Yes! Yes! It's heartbreaking. Utterly heartbreaking. All of the stuff she carefully kept for 60 years...
I only managed to pack stuff at her home for a couple of weeks and had to come back home (to US) but will come back to UK in about 5 weeks to start again. Like yourself - need to lease the place to top up care home.

I'm almost afraid she'll either get chucked out OR manage to bribe someone to take her home.

I started wanting to ship everything over to the US but it would cost a fortune and what am I going to do with crystal glasses? I only drink coffee and an abundance of it and don't really have a social life or any life at all so no need. And the photo's - omg, the abundance of photos.

I kept jewelry of course and her teddy bear pajamas. I know - so silly but I loved her in them and didn't want to send them to the home with her. 😭😭

I have to tell you though, I don't have anyone to do it for me so I am starting the purge right now!

Best of luck xxx
I am in the same position. I live in the states and have been going over every 8 weeks or so to de clutter mums house and get it ready for what I was hoping to rent. Turns out I would be financially screwed if mum died within the rental period as you only have 6 months to pay the inheritance and then they add 7.7% interest per month until you can pay it in full!! Its a nightmare
 

JackReacher

Registered User
Oct 22, 2022
35
0
The hardest bit of each day is having that ONE single cup of tea in the morning. After a lifetime of it being TWO. It kind of sets the tone for the day, but it will fade away. Everyone is in the same boat and we all have some sort of cross to bear.
There is a lot of terrible suffering going on in this crazy world, so my little bit is just that! Jack
 

Deborah humphries

New member
May 6, 2022
3
0
I know the feeling I had to clear my mum's house when she went into a care home two years ago it's heartbreaking especially when you have to do it alone (sister didn't help) also the hardest bit for me was having to sell her home of fifty seven years to pay for the home which I think is so wrong !!!