• Expert Q&A: Rare dementias - Tues 3 March, 3-4pm

    Our next expert Q&A will be on the topic of rare dementias. It will be hosted by Nikki and Seb from Rare Dementia Support. If you have any questions about rare dementias, they will be here to answer them on Tuesday 3 March between 3-4pm.

    You can either post your question >here< or email them to us at talkingpoint@alzheimers.org.uk and we'll be happy to ask them on your behalf.

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sophia

Registered User
Apr 20, 2006
21
Hi everyone. I'm new to the site. My mum has AD. Diagnosed nearlya year ago. About to buy house with annexe and live alongside her. Is anyone else in this position? Feeling guilty as helping her go through all her stuff and downsize it. She is a hoarder and has to reduce the amount of stuff. She has hardly agreed to get rid of anything, so I am sneaking about taking stuff to charity shops, tip etc behind her back. Feel dreadful about it but annexe much smaller than her house now, so practically it has to be done. She doesn't miss the stuff I have removed and I trust my own judgement on her behalf about what to keep, and what to recycle. Guilt lingers though! Any tips about this issue or living together etc please?
 

Margarita

Registered User
Feb 17, 2006
10,824
london
Hi & welcome sophia



I have removed and I trust my own judgement on her behalf about what to keep,

Just keep that in my when the guilt sets in now & then when mum moved in with me, she was very confused ,lot of understanding & hugs & love does help .

Am sure other on TP have other good tips
 

DickG

Registered User
Feb 26, 2006
558
84
Stow-on-the-Wold
Welcome Sophia

You will quickly realise that we carers are a devious crowd and are accomplished liars, most importantly we do it because we care. Do not feel bad about what you do as long it is for the greater good.

Hugs

Dick
 

Lynne

Registered User
Jun 3, 2005
3,433
Suffolk,England
Hi Sophia, and welcome.

As you have found, and others have said, I'm afraid white lies, subterfuge and surrepticiously 'sneaking' things away will become second nature to you. You know it's necessary and in Mum's interest, so don't let the guilt-monster jump on your back. In the end, we all do what we have to do.

As regards judgement of what to keep & what to get rid of, many people with AD value things from years ago (perhaps from times they can still remember) rather than more recent purchases. Go with your instincts, they'll usually be right.
 

Hilary

Registered User
Apr 17, 2006
18
Oxfordshire
Throwing out the excess baggage

My mum didn't suffer from Alzheimer's - in some ways it might have been helpful if she had (dreadful thing to say, but you'll see why in a moment!). I became a child from a broken home at the age of 38 when my parents split up. My mother was 78 at the time, and deeply distressed, and as we had a large house which had been partly a shop at the time, I said she could come and live with us until she found somewhere else to live.

I asked her to send me a list of the things she was going to bring with her, so she sent me a list of the furniture she wanted, which was fine. 'And a few boxes', she put at the bottom of the list. Ok, not a problem.

Well.... it wasn't..... until TWO Pickford's pantechnicons turned up - the really big ones, not the box vans!! :eek: We'd set aside three rooms for her use, and the largest one was filled from top to bottom with these ruddy boxes. We did try to encourage her to get rid of stuff, but it was hard; unlike my dad who now suffers from AD, Mum had all her mental faculties, so it was pointless trying to sneak things away - she'd want to know where they'd gone.

Mum spent the last 17 weeks of her life in residential nursing care, and although she could take some of her stuff, she was reduced to having just the one room. But that was a big one. She died seven years ago and I'm STILL sorting things through - and we've moved twice in that time!
 
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Áine

Registered User
Feb 22, 2006
994
sort of north east ish
Hi Sophia, and welcome. I'm pretty new around here too. My dad was diagnosed with dementia in February this year and is now in nursing home. I'm in the process of clearing his house out.

Some thoughts about it, based on what I've found so far:

a) Although it involves quite a lot of roaming around the house, I've found that it's easiest to go right through the house throwing out the "obvious" things to throw out first, rather than try to deal with it a room at a time. Stuff sort of divides up into stuff no one would want, stuff someone might want - but not me, and stuff that maybe should be kept. My parents were also hoarders and lived in that house over 30 years :eek: Things like dried up cans of paint, tea pots with broken spouts, bits of wool and material that were hung on to to patch up clothes that are long since gone ...... they're easy to throw.

b) Recycle as much as you can. As with Fair Trade chocolate, there's a lot less guilt attached if it's ideologically sound ;) Tip: PDSA are often grateful for old towels and bedding - stuff that it's really re-usable but seems a shame to just throw away.

c) Dad has kept all sorts of bit of memorabilia - concert tickets, letters, receipts, etc. I found that heart breaking to think of throwing away ( I tend to hoard similar myself). Instead I've started making him a scrap book sort of thing in a photo album. It gathers stuff together and I think he'll find it interesting and bring back some memories.

As to tips for living together ....... I have none ....... you're a far braver woman than I am :eek:
 

Tender Face

Account Closed
Mar 14, 2006
5,379
NW England
sophia She is a hoarder and has to reduce the amount of stuff. She has hardly agreed to get rid of anything said:
Hi Sophia!

My mum has never been able to part with anything 'in case it comes in useful'. I have known for some years (well before AD was even suggested) that she has a cupboard full of empty tablet bottles which she knew I knew about but couldn't get her to part with. Well, I've made my mind up - THEY ARE GOING!!!!

Looked in a different cupboard the other day (under the surplus Christmas wrapping paper and pieces of cardboard she must have been saving since the 1980s!) and found a store of empty plastic milk cartons. (I know she's hidden them because she knows I will get even 'madder' about them than I do the empty tablet bottles.....) I left them where they were at first because I was convinced I was going to find one which had not been emptied and washed out and turned to cheese and I just didn't have the stomach for it at the time.....

Seriously, I have been 'on' at mum to clear her clutter - I figure the less clutter around the less confusion for her... and now I can see the potential 'health hazards' too - I appreciate, sometimes I feel like I am 'snooping' but I am yet to find her 'secret stash' of food which appears in her fridge when I know I haven't put it there.....

Think of it as 'We are doing this for their safety!'

Good luck to you, well done! Will be good to know how you get on...
Love, TF
 

Margarita

Registered User
Feb 17, 2006
10,824
london
Don’t know how many people in your family, but a good tip is to have a toilet built separate from the bath/shower room.

My toilet & shower is together & there 6 of us living together,:eek: it was madness in the morning, hair pulling stress, when daughter knocking on bath room door, Nanny hurry up am going to be late for collage or the other way around nanny telling grandchildren hurry up or I shall wet myself :( we all had to ask each other the night before what time we where getting up .

When shower was put in it got a wee :D bit easy.
 

jarnee

Registered User
Mar 18, 2006
181
leicestershire
Welcome, Sophia

My situation was a bit different, in that my dad went into residential home, but could have as much of his own stuff with him as he/we wanted.

As dad has no memory of his actual home (that he lived in just a few weeks ago) and didn't have from one hour after leaving it !!!!!, it made life a bit easier.

Nonetheless, we had to go through all his stuff ( 74 years of it) and decide what to keep and what to throw away. In the end.....

We selected clothes & items that will help him to remember his past (He thinks he's 35 - 40 years old, so anything form around that time)...photos of his parents & brother....pictures of the town circa 1965 ......his favourite mug....his razor ....etc etc. As well as (more recently) a CD player for Frank Sinatra.
We also kept aside some things that mean something to me, but nothing to him anymore ( love letters to my mum; his parents' birth certificates; etc etc)
....and we were ruthless with the rest....clutter would be confusing

Anyway, good luck with it. Go with your instinct and what you know in your heart is right for YOUR mum.

Do it with love and you won't go far wrong :)

Jarnee
 

sophia

Registered User
Apr 20, 2006
21
Thanks eveyone

:) I feel a whole lot better already. Margaraita thank you for your advice, I will bear in mind the understanding and loving and the loo is OK, she will have her own facilities with the annexe, phew! Thanks DickG - I am reassured by your directness, as I feel I am well on the road to deviousness and accomplishing myself asa liar! For all the right reasons. Lynne, thanks, I will think of the guilt monster and get it off my back if / when it climbs on again! Nasty thing! Hilary, well, you made me laugh. That is my nightmare, all Mum's stuff up to the ceiling in boxes at the annexe and no room for her! That's a good warning. Sorry but I imagined your face when the TWO pantechnicons turned up!! Aine, thank you for your tips, I am definitely keeping all forms of memorabilia and have it in mind to have afternoons where we look at things with tea and crumpets! Scrapbooks will abound! Tenderface, ooh! I recognise the stashes of things that will be useful! All manner of cartons, jars, anything with a lid, bags, boxes, stuffed into all nooks and crannies everywhere. They have gone!! They keep trying to recolonise and I am tough on them! So wonderful to get this feedback though and realise I'm actually not on my own, and you understand. I do feel I snoop, but for safety reasons, mental health of us all included! Jarnee, thank you , I will do it with love. Guilt monster be gone!
 

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