• We're currently experiencing technical issues with our newsletter software, so our Dementia Talking Point monthly updates have been put on hold for now. We hope to restart the newsletter soon.

    Find out more >here<.

Visiting the old house & car - what to do?

chrisdee

Registered User
Nov 23, 2014
171
Yorkshire
Hello Looviloo. Reading your post and the subsequent ones brought it all back like a tidal wave. I wanted to say that these 'icons' of the parents way of life like houses and cars can have such a hold over us. I used my Dad's old car to help look after my Mum with alz. I really needed it at the time and it cost a pretty penny in repairs. Six months after Mum's passing and 2.5 after Dad's I have a last sold the old car to a relative. I had such an emotional battle about it - a last link with him etc. and he was very fond of it. We also sold our other older car and yes, I used Dad's legacy to buy us a brand-new car. I chose a make and colour that he would be proud of. Gradually the guilt monster is fading.
Try not to let the parent's stuff drag you down - it is just that, stuff. They all need to hear soothing messages, as it seems its all the dementia brain can cope with. Practise the lies if you need to, I know I did. Also, there is not too much to talk about is there? so the old way of life is bound to come up. Part of the problem is that that generation had not really planned on living so long, hence reluctance to talk about the future when they were well.
 
Last edited:

looviloo

Registered User
May 3, 2015
463
Cheshire
Thank you Chrisdee, your message has really touched me... you're right, although dad's attachment to his house and car is frustrating for me, it's not just dad that's attached to them. It's me too. You did a lovely thing in replacing your car with one your dad would have liked. That's such a thoughtful gesture and hopefully the new car makes you smile each time you see it :).

It's just stuff, as you say, and I'm getting there slowly. I'm not sure if my dad ever will though. It'll be a relief for me once the house/car situation is sorted out and I'm hoping that dad will be talking about it less by then. Fingers crossed :)
 

Canadian Joanne

Volunteer Moderator
Apr 8, 2005
16,657
66
Toronto, Canada
This might be off at a bit of a tangent, but it stumps me what to say.

Mum has taken to asking where her mum is almost daily. My nan has been dead 25 years.

I have read that it would be best to use love lies and distraction, but she won't be distracted, she's quite fixated on this. I know that if I try saying we'll ring her later, or we'll visit soon she is likely to want to make contact there and then.
When my mother would ask where her parents were, I would tell her they were in St. Hubert, which is the town where the cemetery is. When she asked how they were, I would say "Fine, same as always". Technically, I wasn't lying, as they were the same as always, both having died in 1971.

The first time she asked me where grandmother was, I was so surprised I said she was dead. This brought on a flood of tears and I very quickly learned not to do that again.
 

canary

Registered User
Feb 25, 2014
13,408
South coast
My mother left her condo in January and of course my husband and I immediately began to clean it out, knowing she would not return and we would need to sell it eventually, as she needs the money.

When my mother says, accusingly or otherwise, "what have you done with the condo?" I say, well, Brian and I cleaned out the fridge so the food wouldn't spoil. She always says that's a good idea and sometimes the conversation stops there.
I knew Id seen that advice on here, but couldnt remember who had said it. Thank you Amy - it worked for mum too.
 

irishmanc

Registered User
Jan 14, 2015
64
Manchester
Hello Looviloo. Reading your post and the subsequent ones brought it all back like a tidal wave. I wanted to say that these 'icons' of the parents way of life like houses and cars can have such a hold over us. I used my Dad's old car to help look after my Mum with alz. I really needed it at the time and it cost a pretty penny in repairs. Six months after Mum's passing and 2.5 after Dad's I have a last sold the old car to a relative. I had such an emotional battle about it - a last link with him etc. and he was very fond of it. We also sold our other older car and yes, I used Dad's legacy to buy us a brand-new car. I chose a make and colour that he would be proud of. Gradually the guilt monster is fading.
Try not to let the parent's stuff drag you down - it is just that, stuff. They all need to hear soothing messages, as it seems its all the dementia brain can cope with. Practise the lies if you need to, I know I did. Also, there is not too much to talk about is there? so the old way of life is bound to come up. Part of the problem is that that generation had not really planned on living so long, hence reluctance to talk about the future when they were well.
Very wise words chrisdee and totally reflect my own experiences with this. Mum loves to talk about the old days and her memory of them is so clear. I've brought all of her things from those days to the nursing home so we can use it as a focal point for our chats. I kept some items of value (sentimental and otherwise) and recycled and donated much of the rest. It is just stuff though and in no way represents their lives really. It's also a good lesson not to accumulate too much 'stuff' ourselves!!
 

missmarple

Registered User
Jan 14, 2013
204
Indeed parents' possessions can really exert a hold on us. My fear is my brother, who lives with Dad in the parental home (mum died 20 yrs ago) is in the process of becoming a hoarder because he simply can't accept throwing stuff out. Including my mother's old lesson plans (she was a teacher). There are 2 garages full of broken/ useless/ ugly stuff but I am not allowed to take anything to the dump. Oh yes, Dad was a hoarder too and the only silver lining of his dementia is that after a point I was able to clear a mountain of junk out of his bedroom without him issuing a murmur of protest.
Last night I had a dream I was in my grandparents' house. In the dream I was getting rid of my grand mother's glasses and I woke up feeling guilty.I have been in the unenviable position of clearing the flat out totally after my grandfather's death and it was awful. At the time I felt I was pulling my grandparents' lives apart.
In real life, we've been doing some clearing out of our flat and I donated a load of my grandmas jewelry to a charity shop a week ago (she died in 2001). I thought I was OK with that, but obviously not and I think a sort of guilt came out in the dream.
 

Mrsbusy

Registered User
Aug 15, 2015
355
Dream analysis

I'm a great believer in dreams having messages, not all of them but some seem to in my mind, I know I sound crazy!

In your dream in respect of the glasses and your grandmother, have you thought she may be glad you have now seen your way to get rid of her stuff at last? I know it sounds corny but that's how I would interpret this dream, and wouldn't worry about it. Hope you don't mind me saying.
 

missmarple

Registered User
Jan 14, 2013
204
Thanks for your kind words Mrs Busy. I know my gran always had my best interests at heart so maybe you are right. That's how I'll choose to see it now.
 

looviloo

Registered User
May 3, 2015
463
Cheshire
I also believe that dreams can be messages, perhaps from our subconscious, or even from our loved ones :). I've had many dreams this past few months, but most of them are stressy and I usually wake up a panic. Last week I dreamt that my mum (who passed on 10 years ago) rang me up to tell me she had caught a cold... I woke up feeling annoyed that her message to me was so trivial when I was struggling to take care of my dad!

Missmarple, I also thought it was my mum who hoarded things, but I've since realised my dad is/was just as bad, maybe even worse. The cupboards are crammed with things. There's 'stuff' everywhere. I've often tried to clear things out but dad wouldn't hear of it, and so I let it slide and now have to face it all. Because I was brought up surrounded by 'stuff' I tend to be the other way, and like to get rid of belongings (charity/recycle) at regular intervals. I suspect that friends think my house is a bit sparse, but I feel claustrophobic with too much around me!
 

Spamar

Registered User
Oct 5, 2013
7,475
Suffolk
After OH diagnosis I had many dreams all with a similar theme - I was trapped and there was no way out. Well, they came true alright! Not yet had any dreams - fairly lucky if I can get much sleep - to show me what's going to happen now!
 

missmarple

Registered User
Jan 14, 2013
204
Yes I think there is a generational thing- people didn't use top throw stuff out, maybe grew up during or just after the war. At the same time, the consumer society really started to kick in in the 50s, and suddenly people could acquire lots of stuff. I must admit it's a lot easier telling other people to chuck their stuff out rather than doing it to yourself. However I do force myself to go through this discipline every once in a while, otherwise- well, I have seen what can happen.
I have also had success with selling little worn clothes on eBay, and raised enough for a nice meal out so that's motivated me!
 

looviloo

Registered User
May 3, 2015
463
Cheshire
spamar - dreams are funny things, sometimes they disappear completely and other times there are just too many of them. My head has been spinning lately, and I wake in the night trying to organise my thoughts. Dreaming of being trapped must be due to anxiety, I would have thought? Totally understandable, though I'm sure you'd prefer a good night's sleep!

missmarple - yes, I'm sure there's something generational about acquiring things... although my sister admits to having hoarding tendencies herself. eBay is a great way to declutter, but I'm so tired at the moment that I'm just bagging things up for charity instead. As for all my dad's 'stuff', there are a lot of small items passed down through the family that might be worth something, so I'll get an auction house involved. And there's a cupboard filled with photos, and tons of paperwork too :eek:. My head hurts.
 

Pegsdaughter

Registered User
Oct 7, 2014
128
London
A couple of years before he died age 89 my dad started to clear my parents house out as he said he had spent too much time clearing out junk from other people's and did not want it to fall to my brother and I to do the same for him. He left his affairs in immaculate order. So perhaps it was the sailor in him to get everything ship shape.


Sent from my iPad using Talking Point