Moving house

Discussion in 'After dementia — dealing with loss' started by Spamar, Jan 12, 2018.

  1. Spamar

    Spamar Registered User

    Oct 5, 2013
    A friend has said that she felt a lot better, more able to cope after her husbands death, after she moved house. It’s something I’m contemplating. Has anyone done this, and did you feel any better or worse
  2. margherita

    margherita Registered User

    May 30, 2017
    Italy, Milan and Acqui Terme
    #2 margherita, Jan 12, 2018
    Last edited: Jan 13, 2018
    I 'd rather stay in a familiar environment, with all I have always loved.
    Memories would remain with me anywhere I might decide to stay.
    If you had other reasons why you'd like to move , it might be good for you.
    I'd try to introduce small changes both in your home and your life.
    And let time try to heal your wounds
  3. Grannie G

    Grannie G Volunteer Moderator

    Apr 3, 2006
    A friend of mine has moved house @Spamar and she knows there is nothing of her husband there. I don't think she`s happy about it but still glad she moved because she needed to downsize.

    It`s a bit of a bittersweet action.
  4. Kevinl

    Kevinl Registered User

    Aug 24, 2013
    I'd move, personal thing but while my wife is still in care her shoes are in the shoe rack, her coat on the hooks at home, once she passed away I don't think I'd want to live here anymore, even though I have, alone, since she was sectioned 2 years ago this week.
    This was always our home, I don't think I want it to be my home without her even though I've been in suspended animation here for the last 2 years and who knows how many more to come.
    I think if I didn't move I'd never be able to move on, it would be like I was stuck in the past forever with the house hanging round my neck for the rest of my life.
    Some people love their homes I guess I should, we've been here 30 years and brought up our 3 children here but it doesn't work for me, it's too big, too expensive to run and filled with too many memories for me.
    Selling the house while she's still alive would be a bit like stopping visiting her, it isn't going to happen, but if "we stop being "we" in the future I think moving out would be the only way to move on not living in the past.
    This is how I feel, other people will feel the opposite, it's about what's right for you.
  5. Mudgee Joy

    Mudgee Joy Registered User

    Dec 26, 2017
    New South Wales Australia
    If your partner dies then the whole moving thing probably gives you a new interest in a way - choosing where to go and maybe downsizing etc - a new interest might be a very good thing !!
    We are very close to shops and parks and it would be hard to give away such a good position -but living behind sad memories and good ones perhaps a new way of living can open up! :)
  6. Izzy

    Izzy Volunteer Moderator

    Aug 31, 2003
    I'm in a slightly different position in that I moved with Bill 4 weeks before he died. I have very few memories of him in this house as he was in hospital for the last of those 4 weeks. I have no regrets about moving. I wouldn't have wanted to stay in our old house after Bill died and I'm glad I did all of the sorting out of 'stuff' before I lost him. I have photos of him everywhere round the apartment and I feel good about being here.

    Wishing you well with your decision.
  7. Spamar

    Spamar Registered User

    Oct 5, 2013
    Thank you all for your very mixed replies!
    The story is that we decided to move in 2004, because our large garden was too big for me, the gardener, to manage. I have arthritis and during the next two years had two joint replacements. Three weeks after the second, we finally moved house (2006). Then the builders came in to make it suitable for us! So it has most things I need, really. But not all.
    My arthritis improved enough that I sorted the garden to my satisfaction. However, OHsdementia started getting worse, added pressure.
    By the time he died, 2015, I was unable to garden, nor do very much in the house. Enter the gardener and cleaner! In my innocence I thought the arthritis would get better once OH died. Unfortunately, it has got worse. Now, I’m lucky that I’m still driving, though I don’t go very far these days. Having said that, I did manage Cornwall for a funeral in September. If you were behind me on my way back, my apologies!

    Like many on here, I’m starting to think about what happens as my arthritis progresses. I have stepchildren, two of them are close friends and try and visit regularly, though they ar 3 hrs and 1 1/2 hours away. I have friends here, but I feel it’s not quite the same. No siblings. My cousins, most of them are in Cornwall, so the thought came to move back there. Finding somewhere for my requirements is proving difficult! ( either here or in Cornwall)
    Yesterday I had coffee with a widowed friend and she reckons it was moving house that did it for her. It meant a huge downsize for here, but she feels all the better for it. Cleansed was her expression.
    We chose this place because it was near the coast, and there is lots of walks, the shops aren’t too far away. We came to appreciate the farm shops and the cafes as well!
    The neighbours are building a very large extension on my east side, thus cutting off the morning light. Light is important because I can’t get out so much these days. So move?

    Memories of OH here are all dementia ones. Even the dog died the year after we moved! With builders at the time, plus dementia, we didn’t get another dog.

    I’m making lists of pros and cons, but I still don’t know!
    Margherita, staying would be much easier, and cheaper! There’s good coffee shops and a concert hall nearby. All plus!
    Sylvia, yes, definitely bittersweet. There’s little of OH last here except memories, and a lot of those are not- good dementia ones. Though there are a few good one. But I assume they would stay with me anyway?
    Kevin, I see your point, but it’s not the home we had for most of our marriage. We did that one up from top to toe, so it’s all his. By the time we got here, his diy was getting a bit shaky ( another sign of his dementia). I certainly wouldn’t have moved before he died, though.
    Mudgee Joy, it would certainly give me a new interest, though I would not be able to do anything practical to help.
    But thank you all. If you have any other thoughts, please let me know!

    Thanks Izzy. Yes, I remember your move. I’m glad you’re still enjoying the not quite so new place still!
  8. Mudgee Joy

    Mudgee Joy Registered User

    Dec 26, 2017
    New South Wales Australia
    Well just looking will be interesting and potentially fun too - you can develop the list and you can take your time choosing - and you can’t do anything practical you can at least give directions !!

    On the arthritis- have you ever tried a tens machine !? Relieved my husbands hands a lot - doesn’t fix them but relieves pain. You can get excellent small portable ones - all the very best , Mudgee- Joy
  9. Cat27

    Cat27 Volunteer Moderator

    Feb 27, 2015
    My MIL downsized a year after FIL died & she's much more settled now.
  10. Spamar

    Spamar Registered User

    Oct 5, 2013
    Hi Mudgee,
    No,I havent tried one, but my arthritis is practically every bone in. My body! oK, overstatement, but you get what I mean. I had one hip and one knee done years ago. It’s in my feet, my hands, my neck ( took me a week to recover after seeing the x rays!), possibly the other knee and hip. Of course the effects from the cervical spine are felt in the shoulders and elbows! I do have a few other problems as well.
    I will try and see if there’s any joy, though.
    Thank you.
    Thanks Cat, good to hear.
  11. BIWO

    BIWO Registered User

    Sep 1, 2016
    My Mum moved a year after my Dad died. House and garden was getting too much for and she moved into a retirement flat. It was a house she had lived in for over forty years and I think for her there were too many memories in there and she needed to move on. I always remember my MIL when her husband passed - there was always the empty chair he sat at. In the end she got rid of the chair and replaced all the furniture! Personally I think my parents should have downsized earlier into a more suitable house as it did cause issues towards the end with my Dads final illness. Always difficult to know when the time is right to move and unfortunately we don't have a crystal ball to see what's coming around the corner (sadly).
  12. Spamar

    Spamar Registered User

    Oct 5, 2013
    Thank you BIWO. This was our downsize! Didn’t account for dementia then, however. A lot of work was done to make the place suitable for me. It’s just that now, in the best of worlds, and being alone, I think I need to downsize again!
  13. mancmum

    mancmum Registered User

    Feb 6, 2012
    I spend a lot of time around elderly people both with dementia and without, shuttling my dad around from lunch club to friendship group to whatever. What I have seen has convinced me that although my husband and I love our house we shouldn't still be living in it in five years time. We have been blighted by stuff and we need to get rid of in a gradual manner and then move. I am saying this after having experienced the loss of a child so while its not my partner that has died I have experienced intense loss. Your life will continue, take strength and make it the best life you can for you now. I have seen a lot of happy people in sheltered housing. Start to look and make the move when it suits you rather than when you are forced into it.
  14. Spamar

    Spamar Registered User

    Oct 5, 2013
    #14 Spamar, Jan 15, 2018
    Last edited: Jan 16, 2018
    Thanks, mancmum, I appreciate your thoughts. It’s really what I was doing, in a quiet way. When we originally thought of moving, in 2004, we didn’t appreciate how much dementia would affect us, nor did I realise how arthritis and my other problems would affect me! Now, I realise that I have to get things in order before I’m permanently in a wheel chair!
    I have been slowly getting rid of things over the last few years. Every time the walls behinds the books gets painted, books end up at the charity shop. My stepdau has a load of stuff for eBay as well. So it’s going, but gradually.
    I browse the houses on the web sites, but haven’t come anywhere near what I want yet!
  15. Ann Mac

    Ann Mac Registered User

    Oct 17, 2013
    You have a lot of pro's and con's listed for moving Spamar - strongly on the pro side, for me, would be the downsizing to accommodate health needs and the pull of being nearer to my family. Adding in the fact that as convenient as many things are for you where you currently live, that it doesn't hold good memories of your OH for you would also sway me towards moving. However, I think the desire to 'move' after bereavement is not unusual. Mil - for just a brief few months, a couple of years after her OH passed away - talked about moving to a 'little bungalow', despite previously saying that she would never leave the home where she and Fil had lived for over 25 years. The desire to move for her was fairly short lived, and I remember thinking at the time that it was more an attempt to move away from grief than anything else. My best friend, who lost her husband suddenly and tragically after just 4 years of marriage, went through a similar phase, about a year after his passing - she talked about a 'new start', and actively looked for a new house for several months - but as with Mil, this desire passed and she stayed put. I'm not saying its the same for you, because I think it is different for everyone - but there is no harm in continuing the way you are, mulling it over and just 'browsing' for potential new homes - and most importantly, giving yourself time to decide if its what you really want or not xxxxxx
  16. Spamar

    Spamar Registered User

    Oct 5, 2013
    Yes, you’re absolutely right of course, Ann. This place was meant to be the plmace to spend the rest of our lives! Although we knew OH had dementia, it hadnt been diagnosed and I don’t think either of us realised the disruption it would cause, even though both fathers had been through it. However, this place was adapted to suit me plus arthritis. I don’t really want to change the house too much, wet room instead of shower ( I let myself be over ruled!) and a couple of other things that can be done easily. But I don’t want to spend too much money if I’m not going to stay. And then there’s the question of stay in this area or move southreat! Whichever, even with packers, it’s gong to be a huge task!
  17. BIWO

    BIWO Registered User

    Sep 1, 2016
    I thought that my Mum's retirement flat was perfect until dementia arrived!. Lived in a nice community, not far from the shops etc, housing manager on site 9-3 - Careline for other times. She became a 'wanderer' and then it went down hill. We now have the flat on the market and potential buyers have to be 'interviewed' by the housing manager for suitability. In my Mum's community there was a fair few of her 'cohorts' who are now on their own 'dementia journey' and makes you realise how common this horrible disease is becoming.
  18. Spamar

    Spamar Registered User

    Oct 5, 2013
    You are quite right. My father, fil and sis in law all had it, as well as my OH.
    Never tried a retirement home, don’t think I’m that bad, mostly physical problems rather than mental ( so far.,).
    Not sure I would like it!
    It’s good around here, loads of coffee shos and some quirky places as well. Loads of walks, not I do any now, but when we moved here we still had a dog, so walks important.
  19. jugglingmum

    jugglingmum Registered User

    Jan 5, 2014
    been meaning to comment on this thread but not got round to it

    My thoughts are that you have a lot of cafes and coffee shops and music events near you you really enjoy. You know what events are on that you go to and this takes time to build up. I know you get on well with your neighbours and we are aware that we get on so well with neighbours, with a little community we are likely to stay for longer than planned.

    If you move out of the area eg Cornwall would you be able to replicate the cafes and music, Cornwall with your cousins has a good logic, but is very busy in the summer months and there isn't much flat ground and would it be the same seeing your cousins all the time compared to a week or so holiday. Would step children (who clearly regard you as a mother they way they keep in touch) still be able to visit if you were in Cornwall? Not sure where step dau lives, but could you find somewhere suitable near her.

    I think that having a house that makes life easy means you get more enjoyment out of it. So if your current house is too much for you physically, you need to move. If you can make it so you can manage, eg get garden turned to lawn, close unused rooms up, make sure kitchen, wetroom bedroom all work for you.

    I understand the light issue with neighbours building, but if you move will you get any better? Is it worth waiting and seeing what effect final building has on you.

    Have you written a wish list out of what you want? If you do this you will be able to see how current house fits in it, there will always be compromises.

    My thoughts are that being able to get out for coffee and shopping and music are important, so somewhere that taxi fares are affordable to carry on once driving becomes difficult should be on the list. Somewhere with nice cafes and music concerts of the sort you like.

    I think there is a lot to be said for retirement flats, you don't need to mix with the others, but if there are nice coffee mornings, then it means you see someone and aren't isolated. There are nice gardens to look at which you don't have to do. I know they have a reputation of being hard to sell, but there is an ageing population so no shortage of need.

    If you decide to move, sooner rather than later so you can get settled.

    My MIL couldn't drive for a bit (awaiting a pace maker at the time) and refused to spend money on taxis, she has plenty of money, so we thought she should spend it on taxis. This might make it an option to stay where you are, get a taxi to coffee shop and a taxi home.

    All a bit rambling, but hopefully you'll be able to pull out what I mean.
  20. Spamar

    Spamar Registered User

    Oct 5, 2013
    #20 Spamar, Feb 2, 2018
    Last edited: Feb 2, 2018
    Hi JM
    Thank you for considered reply ( not that I would expect any less from an accountant!).
    I was waiting for the extension to be built. My neighbour seems to be doing all the ground work - very slowly! I think they’re at the stage where a builder is needed, ie building walls! However, the weather has been against them, it’s either been frosty or raining!
    Certainly the coffee situation is not so good down there! We have lots of farm shops, each with a cafe, I can’t think of one reasonably close to the area down there!
    Hadn’t thought about other transport. Here there is CATS, coastal accessible transport, which takes people to daycare, shopping etc. They are very reasonable. They used to take OH to daycare, and I still know some of the drivers. They will also do a hospital run if necessary.
    When I went for coffee with friends earlier this week, they laughed at me cos I had a piece of sponge as well. That’s why they’re all skinnygalees, and I’m not! On the other hand we were there for a long time and I didn’t eat until early evening!
    The actual moving would be horrific. I’d rather not think about it. I’d have to do what we did coming here, movers who pack everything first. Very good they were too, but it’s not a cheap option. When we came here, it was three weeks after my knee replacement! By the end of day 2 I was sitting on the back of the pick up saying, kitchen...yellow room....container...! And I couldn’t walk around the old house and grounds to check everything had gone that was meant to go. OH had to go back two days later to get bits. Half the extending ladder and my big transect were two things I seem to remember! I’m sure the boys would help, though.
    Stepdau is in Chelmsford, stepson in Leicester. 1 1/2 and 3 hrs on a good day. C is expensive! OH lived there when I first knew him. His work relocated, that’s why we came up here. East Midlands is fine, but I have lived in that area for 10 years in my 20s. Stepsons wife thought it would be great if I came back! I have a cousin, best friend and stepson there, so it wouldn’t be so bad. No coast though!
    Music, there is Hall for Cornwall, but disabled parking not so good as here. I’m always surprised how far people come to attend our concerts. London? Good grief!

    We had builders In (like a bad rash!) when we moved in. We were looking at more expensive places, but couldn’t find anything suitable. So dropped a price bracket and got builders in! So it’s not too bad, and it was fine for OH as dementia progressed. I would get some work done, like wet room instead of shower, new loo, and a few bits and pieces done. After 12 years, it needs painting outside as well. If I get wheel chair bound, I’ll have to use front door, though. The garden is far too big. 0.4 acre, but lots less than the acre at the old place! I do have a cleaner and a gardener. We have been slowly sorting the garden to make it easier, no veg or flowers for picking anymore, for instance. If I stay, I’ll have a couple of small raised beds put in, I can cope with those atm!

    Understand what you say about retirement flats. Not sure I like the idea....yet!
    I won’t be averse to taxis! It’s getting that way, especially for winter evening concerts/meals.

    I’m going to use the trip next month as fact finding and chatting to cousin and his wife about the idea.
    I do appreciate what you say about the traffic. Around here, people complain about the summer traffic ( it is a holiday area) but it’s not a patch on Cornwall. I can remember cousins wife telling me she once spent 2 hours getting into a supermarket, and another time spending 3 hrs getting out of same supermarket! That’s Newquay for you! They don’t do technology at all, so online shopping is completely unknown to them, though I guess the sons or dils could do it for them!

    Well, I’ve rambled even more. I have made lists, btw!

    But thank you very much for writing it all down, it’s cleared my mind.
    Oh, I have been keeping an eye on rightmove, but haven’t found anything suitable either here or there!

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