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Six weeks since mum went into CH and siblings want to clear house and rent it

Discussion in 'I care for a person with dementia' started by SarahL, Jan 30, 2015.

  1. Witzend

    Witzend Registered User

    Aug 29, 2007
    4,293
    SW London
    I have said this before on here, but when we were clearing my mother's house my SIL suggested advertising an 'open house' on the local Freecycle. We arranged it for a weekend afternoon, maybe 2 till 5, putting all the relevant stuff at one end of the sitting room. It was quite amazing what people came and took away - somewhat battered old saucepans, old towels, faded bed linen and kitchen paraphernalia among others - it saved us several extra trips to either tip or charity shop.

    BTW, we have previously taken very old duvets to a dog and cat rescue - they were glad of them and it was far better than chucking them. Also, a stack of our long grown- up daughters' less-loved old soft toys recently went from bin bags in our loft to Battersea Dogs' Home - as long as they're not stuffed with polystyrene beads apparently they are popular with the dogs, even just for chewing up purposes. However I do know dogs who seem to be fond of them and just carry them around and cuddle up to them.
     
  2. SarahL

    SarahL Registered User

    Dec 1, 2012
    229
    Thank you again everyone. I think I will get some advice from CAB or a solicitor regarding my rights. Also it is good to know that no-one can legally take anything until the person has died. I feel like I am trying to come to terms with all the pain and suffering, both Mum's and mine, up to her going into a care home which is where she safe at last and very much alive, and yet my sisters just want to rush things on and move forward under the guise of 'best interests'. My older sister also said 'we' need to be transparent about everything, implication being that I may not be doing things properly. It is only 6 weeks and I haven't spent any money apart from paying off bills (particularly to BT where Mum had made over 1400 calls to me on the last bill), not that I need to justify myself but I think that's associated with the fear in all this. My sister also said about 'coming together' to work as a team. I feel like asking her where was the 'team' when I was dealing with the very dark days of this awful disease. It is very good information about the house and clearance etc thank you everyone, I can't think that far ahead at the moment but so good to have the knowledge. x
     
  3. Katrine

    Katrine Registered User

    Jan 20, 2011
    2,852
    England
    #23 Katrine, Jan 31, 2015
    Last edited: Jan 31, 2015
    Part 2

    Thank you canary. I hope it is helpful to the OP. I get the sense you are grieving Sarah and feel very alone and vulnerable. I totally understand the burden of responsibility, which I have also experienced with dealing with my mum's home. Hence Part 2, because it's been different than with MIL.

    My mum still lives in her home, with live-in carers. I did not have POA but fortunately was joint party to her bank accounts so can pay her bills, get repairs done etc. I am now her legal Guardian, but what I describe below happened before then.

    My parents had the house built in 2002. 3 ground floor bedrooms but with a fixed staircase to a vast open loft room that was habitable after a fashion but full of junk and not signed off by Building Standards as habitable. It had a couple of beds up there, overlayed with junk, no curtains at the windows, and just used very occasionally as a bedroom by visiting grandchildren.

    My dad died in 2007. My mum got ill and returned from hospital with vascular dementia in January 2008. Live-in carers occupied one bedroom, family members used another when visiting, and my mum has the largest bedroom. Loft area often used for a night when incoming carer arrived so I started very slowly to clear the junk to make it a bit more comfortable for guests, hung curtains etc.

    The clearance was so emotionally painful to me, and made me feel so guilty, that I called a halt when it was tidy. Still tons of books, photograph albums, furniture and other household items, plus boxes of ornaments and 2 trunks containing silver and jewellery. Umpteen empty suitcases and cardboard boxes, ready for her next house move. :(

    My brother said 2 years ago, when are you going to start clearing the loft? :mad: Told him I'd already been doing it and I thought her will said it was his job to do it when she died. I won't have time he said, just get on with it.

    Charity shop and tip for much of it, also Freecycle. Once I had cleared the top layer I started on the boxes of ornaments, china, glass and family mementos. Copious weeping sessions and crises of conscience ensued, but OH was very supportive by telephone. It helped that the carers encouraged me too. They said I was doing the right thing.

    I took a lot of antique furniture and ornaments to auction and made about £1,400 in total after paying commission. I kept some things, but not much. Bear in mind this was mainly stuff stored in the loft room, not in the rooms downstairs which are in use, so my mum was totally unaware of what I was doing. Bear in mind also that I didn't have POA so technically it was illegal for me to sell her stuff at auction under my name even though I paid the cheques straight into her bank account. I have also retained photographs of the items that were sold.

    I bought loads of cardboard archive boxes, the kind with lids. This allowed me to label and stack the remaining family stuff, books, albums etc. in the loft room. There's still a lot of it, but it is manageable now. What we didn't need was my grandmother's oriental bric-a-brac and china and all the other stuff that had sentimental value for my mother but not for us. She used to say we could throw it all away, or sell it, when she was dead. That's where the guilt comes in. It is sensible and practical to dispose of it, especially as she would never have seen it again. However, I know that if she has any thoughts about what is upstairs she will imagine that her treasure trove is still there. :(

    I took the jewellery and silver to be valued and paid for an inventory of these. They are stored in a secure place. I had an auctioneer do a detailed walk through valuation of all household contents, with written report. The total of these, including silver and jewellery, for sale purposes (not insurance value) comes to about £10K. Beautiful 8-seater Victorian mahogany dining table and chairs valued at £200. That sort of thing. They value at what is the minimum they could guarantee you would get for this at auction (you might get more).

    The point is that 'stuff' is not worth much. It doesn't matter what you paid for it. The value is what you can sell it for. This knowledge helps a lot when you are clearing a house. By all means sell things to boost the owner's kitty, but don't exhaust yourself in doing this because the effort to maximise their estate must still be reasonable considering all circumstances.

    P.S. Sarah, I wish I could give you a big hug.
     
  4. Chemmy

    Chemmy Registered User

    Nov 7, 2011
    7,593
    Yorkshire
    That is SO true. No one wants mass produced teak or repro brown furniture these days, so unless it's genuinely an antique, it's really not worth the hassle or expense of hiring a van (or the auction costs, esp. if it doesn't sell) if you can't dispose of it locally. What we would have got for MILs bits and pieces would only have paid for a couple of days in the CH, so we took the decision to call in the local charities who hold furniture sales and the non-tip items were taken to the charity shop.

    OH brought back boxes of books, as he can't bear to see those thrown out, but the auction house didn't want them. Who needs a 20 year old encyclopaedia these days when you have Google?

    SIL wanted the dining table...but she changed her mind when she realised she could buy a better version at her local auction (with chairs!) for less than half the price of hiring a van.

    And all the grandchildren I know who are setting up home would rather go to Ikea or Ebay than fill a place with 'granny stuff'.

    This all sounds a bit callous, but by the time my mum died after eight years in the CH, I realised that all the 'stuff' we all can't bear to part with really REALLY doesn't matter. As with a baby, love and kindness are the only things that count. This was brought home to me when I left with just half a carrier bag of her belongings when I cleared out her room at the end.

    I now use the crystal glasses when we have a drink and have stopped keeping clothes for best:D
     
  5. SarahL

    SarahL Registered User

    Dec 1, 2012
    229
    Thanks Katrine, I'm sorry you had so many years of trying to sort things and do the right thing, emotionally and legally, it is so hard. I can really learn from your experiences which means a lot and good of you to share. This forum has made me feel stronger as today has progressed. It sounds like you had a huge task on your hands with the big room upstairs. Thank you for the virtual hug too, really needed. I am grieving as well as feeling confused and angry and I would be quite happy to never see my sisters again, however my teenage daughter likes my younger sister very much and she has a little girl, so I will have to grit my teeth and let my daughter make her own choices. My friends are my family and always have been in life - I have no sense of belonging to my biological family apart from Mum, it all means nothing.

    Thank you Chemmie too, and I am totally aligned with you on the crystal glasses and wearing new clothes front - my Mum saved everything and lived frugally, bless her, when she could afford much more luxury, it's sad. Now that she's calmer and less agitated we can have giggles again it is wonderful after all the messed-up years.
     
  6. Earthangel

    Earthangel Registered User

    Feb 8, 2014
    14
    South Yorkshire
    :)You do has you feel is right for you and your mum. I am an only child, so I have it all too myself, which is hard, but in another sense easier. But if your sisters haven't helped you with care etc... ignore them, take your time...... Vultures come into mind!
     
  7. halojones

    halojones Registered User

    May 7, 2014
    438
    Hi Sarah, I understand you feeling alone and scared, the situation you are in is quite overwhelming....you have had good advice from the other TPs, and )as you have been doing everything alone so far, you must go forward with everything on your own terms...get legal advice and keep your sisters away from everything, except visiting their mum....You have every right to take a breather and get organised for sorting out the house, you have just been through the emotional ringer, you need to recharge before you tackle the next emotionally draining episode...Get a home support worker from the carers centre, mine is great and has really helped me, and you can offload to them over a cuppa and mine gave me a lot of practical help...I have 3 sisters who behave atrociously, and I find they make it all stressful, so I am happy not to hear from them, but there is no inheretince, it would be a very different story if there was,(although one sister has stolen all mums family photos, wouldn't return the blue badge etc etc) it must be really difficult for you, so find out where you stand legally, get the property and valuables,photos secured, and get a friendly support worker, its all about you and your mum, and you have obviously been so caring and loving to your mum, that's what really matters...Take Care xxx
     
  8. SarahL

    SarahL Registered User

    Dec 1, 2012
    229
    Earthangel and Halojones you have given me a bit more strength to prepare what's ahead and I thank you as I feel lighter after getting positive support on here today. I really do need to recharge before I start the next emotional stage of this journey I am on and realise I do not have to be pushed around by two sisters. The younger one has said the faster we get the house sorted the better it will be for her to move on... I just cannot believe selfish this statement is. I have been through very very dark days dealing with everything but this attitude seems to overlook everything I have done so that she can move on. It really is shocking with absolutely no empathy or regard for me or the fact that I have been broken. I'm going to get strong again soon. xxx
     
  9. SarahL

    SarahL Registered User

    Dec 1, 2012
    229
    In regard to my last post above, said sister has no regard for poor Mum's plight in all of this either. Alzheimer's is a truly horrible disease and I hope and pray more research is conducted asap so people like Mum can be spared in the future.
     
  10. WILLIAMR

    WILLIAMR Account Closed

    Apr 12, 2014
    1,079
    Hi SarahL Another point you have not mentioned is I have no doubt you want to concentrate on visiting your mother during the time you have left and I would have thought your sisters would have wanted to do the same.
    I have to say there is nobody in my family with Alzheimer's but I have helped offspring who have generally been widowed and they have been living with the parent as joint owners.
    Sadly some of the parents have now died leaving the son / daughter in a house which is far too large for 1 person.
    They only started to clear the parents possessions out of the house about 3 months after the parent's death and 1 for example whose parent passed away over 6 months ago is starting to look for another property.
    She has said however it could be another year before she downsizes as she wants to look at as many options as possible.

    William
     
  11. SarahL

    SarahL Registered User

    Dec 1, 2012
    229
    Thank you William. From your experiences it is good to know not everybody wants to rush into making such big decisions about selling/renting and going through possessions. My Mum is still very much alive and as someone else stated on here, all her possessions are still hers and I need time to adjust before making more big decisions. I do not think six weeks is long enough.

    You are right that I want to enjoy time with Mum, especially as the abuse has stopped towards me now and we are closer again, even having giggles when I go in and see her, which is every other day. Her CH is very near me. My sisters have visited her although one sister is a long way away and the other sister is an hour away. They hardly ever visited her over the past years so this is progress.

    However they are telling me I have to act in Mum's best interests with her house and finances, need to be transparent about everything because I have POA and are saying 'we' need to make decisions together. 'We' did not come into it when I was coping alone day-in, day-out. I am only now processing everything because Mum is safe, that I can see just what I have been going through, the tears I have shed, the abuse that shattered my confidence and twisted perspectives, all the phone calls, the guilt I feel and the trauma of the sectioning, and I am just not ready or strong enough to let the house go yet.

    I am very worried they are going to accuse me of not acting in her best interests when I just need time to adjust. Sorry to unburden myself on here, I think I need to let this out, and receiving support and understanding from people like yourself is helping.

    Best wishes.
    Sarah
     
  12. Karjo

    Karjo Registered User

    Jan 11, 2012
    481
    Forgive me if the information is here as I am reading this in a rush, but how is your Mum being funded?
    did she go onto a section 3 and now on free aftercare?
    if she is now self funding then maybe you do need to look at renting her house asap to maximise her funds. Sorry if I am getting this wrong, as I say, always in a rush!
     
  13. WILLIAMR

    WILLIAMR Account Closed

    Apr 12, 2014
    1,079
    #33 WILLIAMR, Feb 1, 2015
    Last edited: Feb 1, 2015
    Hi Karjo

    I see what you are saying but money is not the only thing to take in to account.
    I know somebody who was at work for example and she was a joint owner of her mother's property and the social worker wanted it sold to release some funds in case the mother lost her CHC funding.
    The daughter was not legally obliged to sell it as she was a joint owner but if she had done so half of the proceeds could have been taken by the LA.
    The mother was only expected to live 6 months and the mother was on CHC funding.
    What I would like to know was how the daughter was supposed to find time to empty the house to get it in a fit state to be sold, work 5 days a week and also have time to visit her mother.
    Sadly the mother passed away after about 3 weeks.

    William
     
  14. Karjo

    Karjo Registered User

    Jan 11, 2012
    481
    Absolutely agree Willam. no need to rush if she is funded under CHC or 117 aftercare. My mums house was empty for 10 months before we made a decision and is now rented after a fair bit of hard work to clear and make ready.(she is on 117).
    maybe advantage could be taken with the sisters in that there is presumeably an empty house they could overnight in while they do the work , leaving those who really care to visit the care home. no excuse then to say it is too far to help out.
     
  15. SarahL

    SarahL Registered User

    Dec 1, 2012
    229
    Hello Karjo and William

    My Mum was sectioned under section 2 of the MHA. At a review meeting at the hospital in December it was agreed that the section could be lifted as (a) i had secured a place at the care home where she now is and (b) I had power of attorney in place and (c) they felt this was the right course of action for Mum with a care plan.

    My Mum is paying for this completely. I am going to go in to the care home next week and have a review of her care. I know in my heart she could never go home or live independently but once I have their input I am going to take legal and financial advice as to the best way forward and in the best interests of Mum. I am still coming to terms with the emotional side of what's happened over all the years and not ready to sort house until I know what is for the best. Do you think this is ok? I don't feel I have to answer to my sisters.

    I am actually thinking of selling the house and investing the money for Mummy but I am going to take advice. I am able to make the decisions on this and I feel very upset that my sisters are pushing things from their viewpoint, when they did nothing before. Do you know how much time I can take to adjust to the enormity of everything? It is not my intention to leave things for too long or lose any money.

    Thanks, Sarah
     
  16. SarahL

    SarahL Registered User

    Dec 1, 2012
    229
    PS I am scared my sisters will criticise me for not acting in my mum's best interests, but they are detached and i have been through terrible times and need time before letting go and making decisions.
     
  17. Katrine

    Katrine Registered User

    Jan 20, 2011
    2,852
    England
    #37 Katrine, Feb 1, 2015
    Last edited: Feb 1, 2015
    Dear Sarah. Accept that your sisters will criticise you if they want to. You cannot prevent them from being critical or negative. HOWEVER, you don't have to receive the criticism or respond to it. If, as you have said, you don't feel close to them, then their opinions are unimportant. They don't or won't understand what you've been through and that you are grieving.

    I think you should face your fear, of being criticised, and say a big SO WHAT! Blow a raspberry at them. Play hard to get. Don't respond to emails, and screen your phone calls if you don't want them to contact you at the moment. If you're dreading the calls then it's like waiting for the other shoe to drop, and you'll be adding to your stress.

    Instead of feeling that you are hiding from them (child running away from bullies) tell yourself instead that you are making yourself unavailable because you don't need them trying to pressurised you. Find a silly name for them. It really helps make you feel more in control. So, for example, if one sister takes a bossy elder sister tone you could mentally call her Miss Bossy Boots, or The Salesman. The sister who 'needs to move on' could be The Happy Wanderer or Mimi (as in Me, Me, Me). Whatever works for you. Try it. Please share the names you come up with. :D

    Remember you have sole POA. They have no right to get involved with your mum's house, possessions or finances. Tell the sister who needs to move on that she's very welcome to keep moving right on with her life without involving you or your mother.

    I think they misunderstand the situation and think they are due some sort of shareout. They are due nothing, either morally or legally. Perhaps you need to write them a short letter explaining that you are taking professional advice on the best options for your mum's property. Ask them not to contact you as being chivvied to take action isn't helpful. Don't call me, I'll call you. ;)
     
  18. halojones

    halojones Registered User

    May 7, 2014
    438
    Hi Sarah, I am glad you are feeling a little bit better...As you say, your mum is still here, so no one has the right to take her property...As your sis have not helped you so far, then tell them that you are going to sort out your mums affairs in your own time, when you feel ready...Its a huge physically and emotionally draining experience wrapping up someone's life, possessions and affairs ,so you need to be prepared and ready to do it, in your own time and on your own terms....The problem with the situation is that we are the caring ones, doing everything and the right thing by our mums, yet our siblings are the opposite, so we have the conflict and upset around this as well as the demands of looking after our mums...It seems like your sis have no understanding of the hell that you have been through, and as you say, you are starting to enjoy your time now with your mum...You need time to heal and get over all the trauma and upset...I can't emphasise how helpful my support worker has been, so please get a friendly helpful support worker, they understand what you have been through and will listen and help, lots of tea and sympathy go a long way...:)What you need to realise Sarah is that you are an amazingly kind, caring strong person who has looked after her mum against all the odds, and you have got your mum into a safe place, and are continuing this level of care...You are pretty fantastic in my book...(my username halo jones is an ordinary girl, dealing with extraordinary circumstances..!) This applies to you as well, you are a lot stronger and kinder than all of your siblings, so be proud of all that you have done, how far you have come with your mum...well done you...bless you sweetheart... xxx
     
  19. WILLIAMR

    WILLIAMR Account Closed

    Apr 12, 2014
    1,079
    http://www.beaconchc.co.uk/

    Hi Sarah

    It may be worth you contacting the above mentioned people for advice.
    My step mother had a violence problem. She attacked 2 nurses and a police officer,
    My parental bungalow had been left to me on condition I let my step mother occupy it till death or entering care.
    The social worker kept on coming to me saying it would have to be sold to pay her fees even though I was the owner.
    She even asked me how I would feel if she was let out and she seriously hurt a child.
    In the end I just walked out of the meeting and said I was getting a solicitor involved.
    2 hours later I was asked to return to the hospital. Somehow my step mother had become eligible for full CHC funding.
    50 homes assessed her and 1 would take her after a month.
    I was approached and I was told that a special meeting would have to take place as the home was very expensive which could not happen for 2 weeks and the room could be lost in the meantime but she could go straight away if I paid.
    I just stood firm and said I was not paying.
    3 days later the son had a call saying she was on the way to the nursing home. I went to the hospital to collect her property and the son went to the home to welcome her.
    Sadly she died a week later.

    William
     
  20. Sue J

    Sue J Registered User

    Dec 9, 2009
    8,042
    Hi Sarah

    I agree with Katrine, your sisters will criticize you, they are frustrated they have no control over what they see as theirs, thank goodness they don't! You are doing very well and you will get stronger daily, now that you no longer have the responsibility of daily care for your Mum, things will become clearer and you will feel stronger in your decision making, you are not going to do something that is irresponsible with your Mum's assets.

    Reading your story brings back a lot of memories for me, we were unable to take time clearing property as my mother's was a council home so it had to be done quickly. I was not as strong as you and lots happened that I was given no input into by those who had no input into her care, it still hurts very deeply.

    You hold the reins, do your best and give no thought to those who have no desire to help.
    Take care
    Sue:)
     

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