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Off Topic :
Elderly parents - long


 SackOfSorry (original poster member #83195) posted at 3:24 AM on Tuesday, June 4th, 2024

I'm sure others have experienced this? Maybe there is some advice out there for me ...

My mom is 83. Although she never got Covid, keeping her safe at home did her no favours in many ways. Her mobility suffered a lot, her memory is really going. These things could have happened anyway, but before Covid, she used to attend a walking club, she could go to Costco, etc. Now it's all she can do to get out of her door and into a car. She gave up her driver's license.

Some facts about my mom ... she is a lazy, lazy woman. She is unconcerned with cleanliness, and is a hoarder. This is not new. I started cleaning the house when I was fairly young because it disgusted me, and I was just a kid. My mom would do anything for anybody. She is very kind, but she never takes care of herself or her own home. She is so kind that she thanks telephone scammers for calling. She is an only child. Along the way, she integrated 2 other homes into her home first when my grandmother downsized and moved into an apartment, and second when my grandmother's sister went into assisted living. I know she has boxes of their stuff in her basement. I wouldn't be surprised if their dressers still have their clothes in them.

I have one sibling, and to make matters worse, he is also a hoarder. He lived at home with mom until he was in his 40's. All he owns is "toys". Motorcycles, "projects", a vast t-shirt collection and literally, toys. When he moved in with his girlfriend a number of years ago, he left most of his stuff at mom's. And he uses her backyard for storage, too. He has a shed there, and at least 2 utility trailers containing tools, bikes, motorcycles, etc. She literally has one of his old motorcycles in her front hall blocking access to her front door, and it makes me furious. He moved it a few years ago when I raised a stink, but I noticed recently it's there again. My brother can be volatile, and it's hard to know that pushing him to do the right thing could literally cut off our relationship. He also has several motorcycles and tool boxes in our shop. Not complaining as we have a lot of room, but my way of thinking is why have a whole bunch of stuff that you literally have no room for? That you haven't touched in years? If I could move that bike in my mom's house, I'd take it to his girlfriend's house or their trailer and park it in front of their access point and say "how do you like it now?" The bottom line for me is that he doesn't live at my mom's anymore, he has no right to leave so much crap there. That said, he did pay mom's property taxes and whatnot, which kind of muddies the situation, like he kind of pays rent for storage in that way? My H feels that my mom lets him keep all of his crap there because it keeps him coming back. Keeps them tied together in a sick kind of way.

My mom can't take care of the house any more, physically. It's not a good or healthy place for her to be. There is only one bathroom, and it's upstairs. Stairs are very difficult for her now. Laundry is in the basement, and those stairs are treacherous! Living there has got to be very difficult, but she won't give it up willingly. I've spoken with her in the past in a general way about why old people are so stubborn about giving up their homes that no longer work for them, saying that I'd personally be glad to downsize to make my life easier in the future. She must have seen how easy it made my grandmother's life to move into an apartment all on one level, that could be cleaned easily, with an elevator to laundry, etc. Easy for my grandmother, and easier for my mom. I don't know why she can't or won't make her life easier. She literally goes upstairs to her bedroom right after eating dinner, and stays there for 12-14 hours doing nothing but watching TV, and word searches which she thinks keeps her mind sharp. Sigh, I've told her that it's really not making her mind work to just look for something, she needs to be actually figuring something out like sudokus.

With the hoarding, I can't just let any service into her home that might possibly help her. They'd get a look at how she's living and they'd take her out of there. Part of me just wants that to happen. Apparently, my mom's doctor just ran some memory tests on my mom, and she fell below the normal range, and the doctor wanted to arrange a home visit with some kind of elder professional. Not sure how she's dodged it so far. I think that any professional would force her into assisted care, but at the same time, wait times are long. My MIL was forced into assisted living but she had to spend a while in a regular hospital just waiting for an assisted care spot to open.

For the past few years, I've kind of removed myself from the situation. I had hoped it might force her to realize her limitations. It hasn't. I remove myself from it also just because honestly, it's overwhelming and it's gross, I hate to see it, and I hate to be there. It's hard to visit someone when there is literally no where for me to sit. Her kitchen table is piled high with everything she uses daily - she never puts anything away. There is usually a corner of the table, maybe a foot square (sometimes less), available for her to make a sandwich or something. Also, I've had both of my own knees replaced in the last 20ish months, the latest just 6 months ago, so I really haven't been up to battling her situation myself. I know that my brother goes over daily just to check on her, and even he gets so frustrated with her that sometimes he cleans out her fridge or does her dishes. I'm thankful for that. I live 45 minutes away and I do work four half-days a week.

Additionally, I said some things to my mom a few years ago that I think have really damaged our relationship not that we were extremely close in the first place. My brother has clearly always been her favourite. Mom used to stay at my place quite a bit back when I was working full-time, and she helped me a lot with just being here for my dogs. I used to hope that she'd see that living in an organized home is nice, that maybe she'd take some of my habits home with her. She had a couple of episodes here where she pooped her pants. And it seemed like she went into a bit of a dis-associative state. The first time, she pooped in my upstairs hallway, I woke up, smelled poop, saw it when walking to the bathroom, and had to clean it up. She just left it there, later said she was going to clean it up "the next day". Well, we don't live that way here! Seriously, we're not going to walk around diarrhea for a day, my dogs could run through it, etc. Ugh. The next time was really bad. I didn't feel well myself, and excused myself to go to bed early. I heard her a while later in her room, and a bit later could smell poop again. I got up, and found poop all down my stairs, and she was literally sitting in poopy clothes in my family room, wrapped in a towel. She had stepped in her poop and tracked it all over my carpet, her shoes were covered in poop. I told her to go get in the bathtub, and I cleaned up the messes, washed her clothes and shoes. She hadn't been in a bathtub for years, and she couldn't get out (she's had both knees and hips replaced). I ended up having to call 911 for assistance. The next day, I wanted to talk about the situation, and she responded "can't we talk about this some other time?" Because that is essentially how she lives her life. Deal with stuff "some other time". Just put it off until it goes away. Hope it's all just better without actually doing anything. And that's essentially what I said to her that day, that she can not live her life pretending that everything is ok. Unfortunately, I said some other regrettable stuff about how dirty she is, how she's always been that way, how can you live the way you do? The kind of stuff I haven't said since I was a teenager living in that house. Fortunately for me, my hours at work changed right around the same time and I went to half days, which I love. And she stopped staying over.

I'm not mad that she pooped all over my house (there was a 3rd time). I'm mad that she then pretended it was nothing? I can understand the embarrassment but then again, I'm not sure she actually is embarrassed. It's just something that happens that she pretends didn't, like always. I was surprised that she didn't at least offer to pay to have my carpets cleaned. She also cracked the window in her bedroom at my place, didn't say a word. She got a small inheritance from her aunt several years ago, and since then she treats everyone to lunch - me, my brother, her gal pals, etc. She treated me to lunch when I took her out for Mother's Day last month, wouldn't let me pay, but pay for damage she actually did? Nope. These are just the sorts of things I don't understand about her, where we differ.

She makes really stupid decisions. Her teeth started flaking, breaking, falling out. Turned out that she was drinking Realemon concentrate. Straight. She "likes the tang." OMG, it cost her half of her teeth not to mention a small fortune in dental care and a bridge. Recently, I noticed 3 large bottles of Realemon at her house again. When I asked about them, she said my brother had just reminded her how they damaged her teeth. She apparently forgot that was the cause. We've had one situation with an elder scam where a contractor talked her into a very expensive tank-less water heater that cost 5 times what I just paid to replace mine. We also had a situation recently where she went missing one morning. My brother didn't know where she was. Apparently her doctor had arranged some physio for her, she told no one, took a cab there. It's very uncharacteristic for her - my brother or her gal pal drive her to appointments.

I know that's a lot of rambling. The basic issue is her house, and her being physically unable to keep it up and to take care of herself. What am I going to do? Should I do anything? Do I continue to sit back and just wait for something to happen that forces her hand? I do have Power Of Attorney, but geez, no one wants to force their parent to do something that they don't want to do, which will just damage our relationship further. How do people deal with their parents at this point in their lives? I feel that people like her would rather fall down their stairs and die at home than move and make their lives easier.

Me - BW
DDay - May 4, 2013

And nothing's quite as sure as change. (The Mamas and the Papas)

posts: 123   ·   registered: Apr. 11th, 2023
id 8838557

 SackOfSorry (original poster member #83195) posted at 4:17 AM on Tuesday, June 4th, 2024

You know, reading what I just posted makes me seem a lot more like her than I'd ever care to admit. I just kept thinking that I'm sitting here doing nothing expecting things to change. Just like she does. Ugh. Damned FOO!

But still, it's her life. I just really have difficulty in wanting to take the steps to make HER life change. There is a difference, imo.

Me - BW
DDay - May 4, 2013

And nothing's quite as sure as change. (The Mamas and the Papas)

posts: 123   ·   registered: Apr. 11th, 2023
id 8838558

The1stWife ( Guide #58832) posted at 10:55 AM on Tuesday, June 4th, 2024

I don’t have answers but I’m sorry both your mom and brother have the hoarding mental illness.

I think you need to get your mom out of her home b/c she’s a tragedy waiting to happen. Like she forgot she turned on the stove or fell over something and cannot get up.

Your brother is going to have to address his possessions that are at her house too. You may need to hire professional assistance to get the place cleaned up.

But given your mom’s mental state I think it’s not safe for her to live alone.

Survived two affairs and brink of Divorce. Happily reconciled. 10 years out from Dday. Reconciliation takes two committed people to be successful.

posts: 13978   ·   registered: May. 19th, 2017
id 8838565

little turtle ( member #15584) posted at 2:15 PM on Tuesday, June 4th, 2024

I can relate. My MIL isn't as extreme, but very similar situation. I'm hoping that someone comes along that has already completed this challenge in their life to give us some advice! laugh

It's so hard to even suggest to my MIL that she make some changes... downsize, purge, exercise, eat better, etc. I partially stay out of it saying that she has immediate family (siblings, kids) who can speak up. But no one has said anything in a long time. She's getting worse. How long do we let this happen?

I feel that people like her would rather fall down their stairs and die at home than move and make their lives easier.

100%! I feel the same way about my MIL.

I think a good start for your situation would be to get your brother on board, if possible, and get all of his stuff out of there. What happens when she passes? Who gets the home and all of the stuff? duh

While scary, I think you should get additional supports involved. The doctor. Senior services. It will help your relationship to hear this news from a professional. Someone else can be the "bad guy." It's a tragedy waiting to happen if nothing is done.

Failure is success if we learn from it.

posts: 5612   ·   registered: Aug. 1st, 2007   ·   location: michigan
id 8838573

tushnurse ( member #21101) posted at 2:42 PM on Tuesday, June 4th, 2024

So you may not realize this but hoarding and lack of self care are both considered mental health issues. It is very difficult to change and improve. Even if you hired someone to come clean it up and start fresh it will be right back.
Next you can report her anonymously to the state through senior services for concerns of self neglect which is considered a form of elder abuse. You also cannot force her to move or leave if she is still deemed competent by her medical providers. Reporting her to the state they will open an investigation and may even provide some services to help get her back on track. I would encourage you to speak with her provider if they recommend meds for dementia or to help with the hoarding. Studies show SSRIs can help with behaviors like hoarding and compulsive behaviors.

Me: FBSHim: FWSKids: 23 & 27 Married for 32 years now, was 16 at the time.D-Day Sept 26 2008R'd in about 2 years. Old Vet now.

posts: 20207   ·   registered: Oct. 1st, 2008   ·   location: St. Louis
id 8838576

BearlyBreathing ( member #55075) posted at 4:42 PM on Tuesday, June 4th, 2024

No advice just wanted to send some support. What a challenging situation.

Me: BS 57 (49 on d-day)Him: *who cares ;-) *. D-Day 8/15/2016 LTA. Kinda liking my new life :-)

**horrible typist, lots of edits to correct. :-/ **

posts: 6069   ·   registered: Sep. 10th, 2016   ·   location: Northern CA
id 8838580

Shehawk ( member #68741) posted at 8:39 PM on Tuesday, June 4th, 2024

Sending ((virtual hugs))

I personally know how difficult this sort of thing can be. I am grateful that I do not suffer from this affliction. It is so painful for the family. I know personally the type of burden you are facing. I tried to keep family member’s houses clean since a child. It was such a burden. And so many people enable this. Tush gives amazing and compassionate advice.

"So you may not realize this but hoarding and lack of self care are both considered mental health issues. It is very difficult to change and improve. Even if you hired someone to come clean it up and start fresh it will be right back.
Next you can report her anonymously to the state through senior services for concerns of self neglect which is considered a form of elder abuse. You also cannot force her to move or leave if she is still deemed competent by her medical providers. Reporting her to the state they will open an investigation and may even provide some services to help get her back on track. I would encourage you to speak with her provider if they recommend meds for dementia or to help with the hoarding. Studies show SSRIs can help with behaviors like hoarding and compulsive behaviors."

"It's a slow fade...when you give yourself away" so don't do it!

posts: 1678   ·   registered: Nov. 5th, 2018   ·   location: US
id 8838589

 SackOfSorry (original poster member #83195) posted at 9:29 PM on Tuesday, June 4th, 2024

What happens when she passes? Who gets the home and all of the stuff?

When she received the inheritance from her aunt a few years ago, the first thing I talked her into was pre-planning/pre-paying her funeral. Fortunately, my grandmother's sister had done that, mom was her executrix, and she saw first-hand how helpful that was. Next up, I talked her into updating her will. The other legal issue we finally dealt with - I had been on her back about this for years - was her house and its ownership. She and my father divorced when I was about 7, he was a deadbeat dad, never paid his child support, etc and he still co-owned her house! I had stressed to her for years that if something happened to her, the house would go to him. (There are days now where I think that probably might have been a good thing! He deserved that nightmare - lol.) We got the lawyer to track him down, and finally got him to sign off on the house. As it turned out, he died last year anyway. Her estate goes to my brother and I equally. We both have POA over her property, I alone have POA over her personal care. The lawyer recommended that. He said he had seen cases where one sibling decides mom should live here, another decides she should live somewhere else and the poor, old soul gets moved around and around while siblings fight.

My H thinks that my brother wants the place when she passes. If so, fine. He can buy me out. Then he doesn't have to move all of his crap and find a place for it. I would have it evaluated and go from there. I personally think that once she passes, it should just be sold for the lot. I'm sure the house should be bulldozed.

So you may not realize this but hoarding and lack of self care are both considered mental health issues.

Friends have asked me in the past if she is depressed. I hadn't thought so at the time, but now I wonder if this is also an issue. How can you not be, really, when every older relative has passed on, friends are passing on, you're becoming housebound, etc. So yes, I realize that there are mental health issues. There is also a falling out between my brother and his son, so my mom rarely sees her grandson and great granddaughter. I've tried to stress to her that they can't very well visit when there is literally no place for them to sit in her house. I know she is very upset about the situation between her son and grandson.

I'm sure we've all seen the shows about hoarding. I should point out that she is not as severe as what we see on TV. It's like TV in that she has one chair clear in the kitchen to sit on, she has one chair in the living room clear to sit on. She doesn't have garbage piled to the ceiling, thank heavens. But there is definitely the mental problem of being attached to things that a normal person isn't. Most of us would have no problem throwing out a mouldy tomato, for eg, where you see people like her think it's normal to keep it. It might still be useful ... Ugh. Or thinking that you should always keep the box for stuff because that box might be valuable one day. Or I noticed the last time that I was there that she must have 200 pens!

Anyway, we are also not in the US so service recommendations for the US aren't going to help - I should have mentioned that.

I'm feeling a bit stronger since my surgery, and thinking that I might start spending 2 afternoons there a week. I am going to see things I don't want to see! I'm thinking I am just going to get a dumpster, start in her food cupboards and start pitching expired stuff. I happen to have a bunch of boxes atm because we just replaced our flooring and had to pack and move a lot of stuff during the reno, and I'm thinking that anything of my brother's on the main floor of her house, I'll pack and put in his old bedroom there. I don't really care if he has stuff in his old room, I don't really care if he has stuff in her basement - she doesn't care so why should I? But I do not think that his crap should not be on her main floor preventing her from free movement about her house. I'd like to start on things like her pots and pans. She's not cooking for a family anymore, I don't even know if she's really cooking much for herself. Talk her into purging giant roasting pans, etc.

On the plus side, since she can't go out on her own, it's not like she's roving the streets at night bringing in more stuff like you see on the hoarding shows. I've got that going for me - lol.

I do worry, though, that I'm going to say things I really don't want to say. It's going to be very hard to hold my tongue. I know it's an illness, I know that she is physically incapable of doing much these days but knowing she could have done so much more when she could do stuff is going to be on my mind and I hope it doesn't blab out. It's also not like I have nothing to do at home myself so I'm going to resent some of my time there, naturally. I'd like to think it would help our relationship, but my fear is that it could damage it further. I feel like if I could get the house to a state where it's "safe" for someone else to see it, we can get some services in there for her that can help her in the home without necessarily having to get her out of it.

Me - BW
DDay - May 4, 2013

And nothing's quite as sure as change. (The Mamas and the Papas)

posts: 123   ·   registered: Apr. 11th, 2023
id 8838593

Fantastic ( member #84663) posted at 12:10 PM on Wednesday, June 5th, 2024

I am so very sorry you are going through these difficulties with your mum.

I didn’t manage to read all but there are some red flags that make me think your mum cannot make decisions on her own anymore.

You said she has a table where she keeps a corner free just make a sandwich. Even in a c small space such as a caravan or RV people can be really organised and enjoy the available space without being in a mess.

The poo on the floor and her willingness to clean it the day after is a very serious sign of mental health issue or dementia. It is not a problem of laziness, something is definitely not right.

Please speak to her doctor because I cannot imagine a person living like that and being considered self sufficient. The next time that could happen is that she doesn’t see a reason to turn off the cooking stove and will burn the house down.

I know a person who lived just with no interests and spent all her days in front of the TV and actually she wasn’t being lazy, she had Alzheimer! So please get a check up organised by a psychiatrist ASAP.

I am so very lucky, my mum is 90, her home is spotless, she cooks for herself and regularly makes her own ravioli or lasagne and freezes them with date and label so that if anyone visits her unannounced, she always has food to put on the table.

Her biggest trouble is she has macula disease and is nearly blind so in the future we will have to consider a different living arrangement but keep her at the moment where she is until she decides it is too much for her to keep living on her own.

We regularly check on her but we know she has all her mental abilities to make decisions on her own. It is lovely life has been extended but it s area me so much not to be able to be independent.

posts: 149   ·   registered: Mar. 28th, 2024
id 8838616

HFSSC ( member #33338) posted at 12:26 PM on Friday, June 7th, 2024

Hoo boy!
I want to respond to all of this, but I need to organize my thoughts and emotions. Right now I just want to say I feel you in SUCH a deep way. We were dealing with both parents living this way until my dad passed away in 2021. Now it’s just my mom and it’s not quite as overwhelming but still a lot.

Like your mom, a lot of this was just how they chose to live, with my mom’s mental illness and Daddy’s dementia added to the mix. From your description it sounds very much like your mother has dementia. As she ages it becomes more likely than not that a sudden medical issue is going to force your hand.

My mom is now living alone in a home next door to me, and my sister takes her to most appointments, etc because her schedule allows it more than mine. We try our best to keep the couches clear, trash emptied and carried off, and a clear path in her room between the bed and the bathroom.

I’ll write more later. Just know that you are not alone, and there are strategies that can make it easier for everyone.

Me, 56
Him, 48 (JMSSC)
Married 26 years. Reconciled.

posts: 4956   ·   registered: Sep. 12th, 2011   ·   location: South Carolina
id 8838760

Karmahasnomenu ( new member #83953) posted at 12:05 AM on Monday, June 10th, 2024

I am so sorry you are going through this. My grandmother was a hoarder. I cared for her for her last few years, cleaned out her house and kept it up.

We rented in a 40yd dumpster and emptied it twice, not to mention the numerous trailer loads to goodwill or the dump. My grandma had 5 kids and lots of grandkids so we had a lot of help.

I ended up living in and taking her to a day center during the day while I was at work; and having someone do the occasional overnight so I could sleep through the night.

She still continued to hoard somewhat. I let her keep a series of her most ‘important’ items (I knew what was most precious). She stayed with my half sister for the weekend while we did the job.

After it was over she did have a significant amount of anger (mostly towards me) but she consistently thanked the rest of the family and bragged about how she could have my aunt and family come stay from out of town now etc. We repainted, spruced up the house, got new furniture, etc. I made sure to keep her important items close so when she asked I could produce them.

The biggest concern was that if she fell or got hurt, or if the house caught fire - how would we get emergency services in? Your mom’s house should really be on record with the fire department so they are aware of the situation in advance should they have to respond. It is critical for your mom’s safety and theirs. It affects how they respond in general.

I would also recommend getting social Services involved if you need to from a vulnerable adult perspective. They can take some of the heat off of you. ‘Sorry, mom - the county says we have to’.

They also provide a ton of services, support and programs. We got SO MUCH help from them from disability accessories for the house, to paper goods and products, to assistance with daycare. It was such a blessing. We were even able to get in home doctor visits at one point. Reach out to your county.

Being a caregiver is so hard, and it’s especially hard to walk that line with a parent.

posts: 7   ·   registered: Oct. 2nd, 2023
id 8839062

EvenKeel ( member #24210) posted at 1:57 PM on Friday, June 14th, 2024

You are not alone. I know that doesn't help much; but when you are going through it, sometimes you do feel that way.

I am amidst this as well with my own parent(s). The place is entirely too big and the piles just seem to grow and grow. They will not consider downsizing and the place is falling apart around them.

Like you, I hate to even go there. I get so, IDK, claustrophic-feeling and it just all overwhelms me.

I live daily waiting for a situation to arise where they will have no choice but to do something.

I know that is not a good solution for any of us; but I have gone in and emptied an entire room and it was not good. She started out willing and it turned to hoarder-like responses within a few days. I kept pushing because we HAD to empty that room to relocate her bedroom to the first floor. I had dumpsters full of stuff.

I had a situation where I needed to go there this week and she has that room filled up again sad

Her husband's health is declining but she promised him that he would not go to a facility. It just is not good.

Hugs to you - I sooo understand!

posts: 6903   ·   registered: May. 31st, 2009   ·   location: Pennsylvania
id 8839639

 SackOfSorry (original poster member #83195) posted at 10:17 PM on Monday, June 17th, 2024

I appreciate the replies, and am glad that some of you understand what it's like. Well, not glad that you have to deal with it, but glad I was understood.

I spent my first afternoon over there today. I started in the bathroom. Not where I'd really want to start, but I figured at some point I'm going to need it, and I'd like it to be somewhat decent for myself.

What a nightmare. I didn't do a good job, but I did what I could in the time I had today and the ability that I have with my own recovering knees and iffy back. I was literally throwing out disposable razors from when I lived there 41 years ago.

I packed up a box of motorcycle magazines, yes, in the bathroom, and just put them in my brother's old room. I took a glance into my old room, and it is also full of motorcycle parts, leathers, helmets, etc. Can't get past the doorway. When I called my mom last night to tell her that I was coming, she told me that my brother now has 12 motorcycles. Hasn't been on one yet this year, and it's mid June. Ridiculous. Took a good look at her yard, and there are now 4 storage units/trailers in her yard, and engines and whatnot. HE is definitely a large part of this problem, yet he has no problem criticizing and pointing the finger at her.

When I was done as much as I could do today in the bathroom, I sat with mom in the kitchen for a bit. She said she had "started on the table". Oh, ok, didn't notice. Not much difference. Then she wanted to ask me about some of the stuff, whether it's recyclable or not. She had a lot of gift bags on the table. I said I didn't really think they were recyclable, she'd have to remove the strings, ribbons, etc. at least, and encouraged her to just throw them out. You could see the wheels turning, and the indecision. So, she held the gift bags in one hand, and then I realized she also had some re-usable shopping bags there so I pointed out the difference and said they can be used/kept. She just kept sorting them, and re-sorting them, and shuffling them around, and doing nothing but wasting time and energy. I finally said ok, I'll take the shopping bags, I can use them. She doesn't go shopping, she has someone who does it for her. The only thing she had found on her table to get rid of that she seemed comfortable with was an old city recycling calendar. She said I could drop in the bin on my way out. Glancing around, I saw some brown bags. So I say "what about these brown bags? I could drop them in at the same time." Oh no, she saves them. I ask for what. She gives me some reason about how she keeps garbage in them, they're small, she can easily take them out to the larger can. Most of these bags were from a pharmacy, and she's on a lot of prescriptions, so I tried to reason that she'll get more, and probably soon. Let's just say I didn't leave the house with any bags to drop in the recycling. Sigh.

My mom buys an amaryllis plant for her friends and family members every Xmas. So, I see that she's got 4 boxed amaryllis plants, never been opened, in her kitchen. I don't know if she didn't see certain people because of covid so they never got given a gifts. I can't believe they didn't just sprout of the boxes, as I've seen that happen in stores to unsold ones. She's also got 2 dead ones in pots that she grew. I'm aware that people can re-grow them, we've never been successful at it, and she's certainly not storing them properly to do so anyway, so they are trash. Again, you could just see the indecision and resistance to tossing them. I'm going back on Wednesday, we'll see if she managed to part with them.

This is not going to be easy.

Me - BW
DDay - May 4, 2013

And nothing's quite as sure as change. (The Mamas and the Papas)

posts: 123   ·   registered: Apr. 11th, 2023
id 8840033

Superesse ( member #60731) posted at 10:41 PM on Monday, June 17th, 2024

Oh, groan.... I feel for ya! Especially the motorcycle mess....I am married to a Mechanic who has a lifetime of TOOLS and CABINETS he never puts his tools back into!! The 2 bay shop in my barn he uses is now so filled with his stuff that it's about a cat-walk wide clearance on the floor; the rest of the big space is filled with tool cabinets, rolling carts, engines on stands, transmissions on stands, stools plus a million dollar Ferarri up on the lift - for a customer who fortunately will NEVER SEE THIS MESS! Tonight my H is doing online bidding for more TOOLS and METAL STORAGE CABINETS (that I insisted he bid on) from the estate of a buddy who died last year. The widow is auctioning it all off. You just cannot take it with you, fellas....But I digress...

The house next door to our neighbor's was lived in by an older couple; I never knew they were hoarders. Well, he died a few years ago (3?) and last year, she died in her bed at home after being confined to the house with COPD and needing oxygen. The grown children live one county away; the neighbors found her. All the kids wanted was the man's newer Ford pickup truck! The house could be sold, it's a brick rancher on a couple acres, but it has now sat vacant over a year, since the family wants NOTHING TO DO with cleaning it up! Somebody just had to come and mow the front yard, as it was a hay field.

Dare you get a little more assertive with your Mom, without having her have a melt-down? I too save brown paper bags, after grocery stores all went to plastic bags, it's oftentimes handy to put food like potatoes or apples in to bring to a neighbor...plastic makes veggies sweat. But there have to be limits, of course. Maybe let her keep 5?

She sounds like a sweet lady. Be gentle but you have to do this!

posts: 2073   ·   registered: Sep. 22nd, 2017   ·   location: Washington D C area
id 8840034

 SackOfSorry (original poster member #83195) posted at 2:03 AM on Tuesday, June 18th, 2024

I am married to a Mechanic who has a lifetime of TOOLS and CABINETS he never puts his tools back into!!

My brother is also a mechanic. And he has to have the BEST tools and the BEST tool boxes. He has tool boxes that cost $10K for just the box. It's insane. Even though the shops he has worked at have had tools for the staff, he MUST have his own. He prides himself on having things that the shop doesn't, that people have to borrow from him. I guess that makes one special. I also have one of these special tool boxes of his in my shop, has been here for at least 10 years so he really needs that box and those tools...

I did have a message from him tonight saying he'd be at mom's on Wednesday night to clean up his junk. Not sure what that means because for sure, it's not happening in one night!

Me - BW
DDay - May 4, 2013

And nothing's quite as sure as change. (The Mamas and the Papas)

posts: 123   ·   registered: Apr. 11th, 2023
id 8840055

little turtle ( member #15584) posted at 2:00 AM on Thursday, June 20th, 2024

How did it go today? smile

Failure is success if we learn from it.

posts: 5612   ·   registered: Aug. 1st, 2007   ·   location: michigan
id 8840159

 SackOfSorry (original poster member #83195) posted at 2:40 AM on Thursday, June 20th, 2024

Well, it's very overwhelming.

I discovered she's got 12 unopened boxes of toothpaste (so far), and hardly any teeth. So many rolls of scotch tape ... so many...

I've gotten one small box of donations out, 3 bags of garbage, a 4th started. Two of those bags were largely from her kitchen table. OMG, she had an unopened grocery store pecan pie on the table, and it was from Dec 2022. I found some lovely green butter tarts, and I immediately said "they're green" and was putting them in the garbage bag, and she says "oh, but the box..." I mean, I do sort of stress to recycle what we can but I told her I'm not picking through green butter tarts to save a box!

The oldest food item I found today was a container of bread crumbs from 2012 on her table. I found an unopened bag of chips that was all swollen. I didn't even know that bags of chips will do that!

Most of the stuff on her table were things that charities send out, hoping for donations. Address labels, greeting cards, shopping bags, etc. Free stuff she just couldn't toss (I did).

There was a container of vegetable broth on her table that was expired. She immediately says oh, I better get another this week then. She went to put it on her list for her shopper, and saw she already had it on her list so she made it two. SMH. If you haven't used this one, and it's from 2022, why would you need TWO more? Her shopper shops for her every Thursday.

Anyway, while working through the table, I did have a discussion with her about her true ability to be there. She said I sound like her doctor. I can see where a normal person wouldn't want to go from a whole house to a nursing care room, but I pointed out to her that with all the stuff in the house, she's limited herself to 2 chairs and her bed. She's so dumb she blurted out 1/2 her bed, making my point, thank you very much (I haven't been into her room yet, I don't know what's taking up 1/2 of her bed - ugh). I was trying to say that she'd literally have pretty much the same space in nursing care, PLUS she'd have someone to clean it, cook, mind her medications, she'd be on one floor, my brother wouldn't have to find her dead at the bottom of her stairs, etc. She said she'd think about it.

Seriously, we worked on the table for at least 2 hours, and it's not done. I did get the back half wiped down.

I sort of understand people keeping stuff, gifts, free stuff. I don't understand holding onto garbage. Like I found 6 empty cans from an automatic scent sprayer, just thrown on the floor. Like she's the Queen of England and not expected to lift a finger.

I stopped giving my mom gifts of "things" several years ago because it's just more stuff in her house, and it's obviously not truly appreciated. I spent a lot of time swearing at people today who do give her gifts. I saw some fabric on her table pile, pulled it out thinking it was yet another reusable shopping bag but it was a T-shirt. Birthday gift. Can't be bothered to take it to her room, where, incidently, I'm sure it would just get tossed on the floor or another pile.

Going back in on Friday ... Lord have mercy on my soul!

[This message edited by SackOfSorry at 2:41 AM, Thursday, June 20th]

Me - BW
DDay - May 4, 2013

And nothing's quite as sure as change. (The Mamas and the Papas)

posts: 123   ·   registered: Apr. 11th, 2023
id 8840160

little turtle ( member #15584) posted at 11:30 PM on Thursday, June 20th, 2024

Sounds like good progress has started. Was your brother there? You didn't mention him.

I'm glad you at least brought up the idea of moving. She said she would think about it which is better than a flat out no.

Failure is success if we learn from it.

posts: 5612   ·   registered: Aug. 1st, 2007   ·   location: michigan
id 8840249

 SackOfSorry (original poster member #83195) posted at 3:37 AM on Friday, June 21st, 2024

My brother was at work, although he had been there just before me during lunch to bring in her garbage pail - it was collection day. In messaging with him, he said he was going to be there last night to "pick up his stuff". Um, he needs about 2 years to pick up his stuff, not one night!

In messaging with him today, he said that mom was in tears on Monday night after I'd been there saying that she really wanted to do this herself. Which we know will never happen.

I told him that I'd spent a lot of time swearing at people who give her gifts, and he said yes, his girlfriend is one of them. True. I said I had sworn at her a little. He said "probably at me, too". I didn't have time to get into it, had an appointment, and I'm not going to do it over fb messenger.

He also said that mom will never leave her house willingly.

Anyway, I'm back there tomorrow.

Me - BW
DDay - May 4, 2013

And nothing's quite as sure as change. (The Mamas and the Papas)

posts: 123   ·   registered: Apr. 11th, 2023
id 8840272

 SackOfSorry (original poster member #83195) posted at 2:30 AM on Saturday, June 22nd, 2024

Today's oldest food item was a can of soup that expired in 2010.

I've got 7 bags of garbage out. The food items are so heavy. I really need to get a dumpster over there.

I took 2 boxes of donations to Goodwill. And a load of steel (old pots and pans) to a steel place.

And it's just a tiny drop in the bucket.

She says my brother has been coming in at night and doing something. I did notice that her couch was clear today. And she did work on the rest of the table after I left on Wednesday. She was quite willing and even helpful today!

Me - BW
DDay - May 4, 2013

And nothing's quite as sure as change. (The Mamas and the Papas)

posts: 123   ·   registered: Apr. 11th, 2023
id 8840485
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