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Advice please, mother's house getting very uncared for

(54 Posts)
tonibolt Sat 14-Oct-17 09:16:12

My mother, who is 87 and fiercely independent lives alone. The last eighteen months or so, the house has become gradually grubbier although she does some cleaning. The hall looks like Miss Haversham's banquet with huge festoons of cobwebs (high up though). Kitchen cupboards, doors and woodwork etc are really grubby now. We suggested about 6 months ago she might like a bit of a hand with "heavier" cleaning, - but had to retreat, sharpish! Any ideas how we could approach the subject again? We just want to help.

MissAdventure Sat 14-Oct-17 09:21:05

Would she accept a one off 'spring clean' in time for Christmas? It might be a way of at least paving the way for a more regular arrangement.

tonibolt Sat 14-Oct-17 09:24:56

That's a good idea. I think we upset/annoyed her with a suggestion the house wasn't clean, although that wasn't our intention. A 'spring clean' is a different thing altogether.

MissAdventure Sat 14-Oct-17 09:28:11

You could tell a fib, and say you're going to get in a company to spring clean yours as a one off (or you could actually do it!) then say how great it was, etc.. say they have a special offer on. Buy one, get one free or something. Sneaky, but it might work.

tonibolt Sat 14-Oct-17 09:49:33

I think we are going to have to be sneaky! Unfortunately she doesn't like people in the house. She just about tolerates someone to mow the (huge) lawn. She did it herself until quite recently.

MissAdventure Sat 14-Oct-17 09:50:56

My mum was the same. It makes life very difficult, I know. Good luck!

ninathenana Sat 14-Oct-17 10:08:05

Would she enjoy a day out whilst it's done ? Is there a family member who could take her whilst you or who ever sort it.
Or maybe she would be cross to come home an find you'd decieved her, all be it with the best intentions.

Anniebach Sat 14-Oct-17 10:11:12

Can family not help her?

tonibolt Sat 14-Oct-17 10:14:51

I'm afraid she would be annoyed. I think a big part of the issue is that until about eighteen months ago she was extremely good for her age, and didn't have any difficulty in doing what she wanted. I wouldn't say she was frail, but she has become quite unsteady and tires very easily. She is very well aware of this, but hasn't come to terms with her new limitations which frequently make her rather irritable. Accepting help, however well meant, would mean acknowledging she can't quite manage.

tonibolt Sat 14-Oct-17 10:15:39

Annibach - we are trying to help, it's getting her to agree to let us

Nelliemoser Sat 14-Oct-17 10:16:47

Very difficult but not that unusual. Is the house dirty to the point of being anywhere near a health and safety hazard?

By even asking if you could with the cleaning she will probably see it as implication that she is lazy, dirty etc.

It is a difficult one.
Get another person to visit with you to chat to her while you sneakily wave a feather duster around?
All I can say is good luck with that.

MissAdventure Sat 14-Oct-17 10:18:20

How about if a relative has fallen on hard times, and really needs to earn some money? Would your mum consider finding them some jobs to do around the house in return for helping them out with some cash?

Tottylimejuice Sat 14-Oct-17 10:25:18

I found this with my Mum, but I realised that she couldn’t actually see some of the things (loads of crumbs on floors and worktops, dust and cobwebs, mucky skirting) as she couldn’t see them, I just used to clean up a bit at a time, she didn’t know. She did eventually let us employ a 2 hour once a fortnight cleaner, who she enjoyed chatting to. I agree with others a fib might be the way to go, good luck

Anniebach Sat 14-Oct-17 10:26:40

Sorry Tonibolt, is the house dirty or not as neat and tidy as it use to be ? I do sympathise with your Mum, some things I can't do in the house because of damn arthritis , younger daughter coming down for two couple days in two weeks, longing to see her but dreading the visit too, she will want to be helpful and this will mean - you don't need this v yes I do , and phone calls after her visits - where did you put my X Y Z .

trisher Sat 14-Oct-17 10:41:06

I would offer a good spring clean using any subterfuge you might have to-special offer/ free/friend setting up in business and then do the cleaning a bit each time you visit. My mum is 95 has a tiny flat but definitely doesn't clean or wash up as she used to. I have a cup of coffee then wash everything I can see in the kitchen and wipe things down. She does fortunately let us hoover and clean.

tonibolt Sat 14-Oct-17 10:42:18

The house is tidy, mum has never been one for any sort of clutter. It's dirty, lots of grubby marks all over the doors and woodwork, the kitchen cupboard door fronts are really dirty, and the flotex flooring needs shampooing. Big cobwebs everywhere high up, although we do take a sneaky swipe at those if the occasion presents itself!

The carpets are well hoovered though, and she does dust the sitting room. I suspect it's as much as she can manage. She was always extremely house proud, I can remember spring cleaning before her visits, and have never forgotten her comment to my sister that I'd forgotten to dust under the tv! We aren't sure if she can't see the dirt, or has just given up on it.

trisher Sat 14-Oct-17 10:54:16

Clean the kitchen surfaces, check the fridge and maybe give the floor a wipe if you can manage it (just spill something and wipe it up). All can be done as if you are just washing up your cup. Do bathroom when you go to the loo. Try to ignore the rest unless you actually see something moving!

Bambam Sat 14-Oct-17 13:39:45

I agree with trisher. All of you just clean sneakily when you go round. If she's dusting and vacuuming. It can't be that bad.
Also, if you got help in it would take her cleaning jobs away from her and tootling round her house might be keeping her going. Bless her!!

Menopaws Sat 14-Oct-17 14:41:23

Unless she in in danger, leave her alone. You can all do a bit to keep hygiene levels ok but what harm a cobweb?

Hilltopgran Sat 14-Oct-17 14:43:11

We had a similar problem with our Mum, fiercely independent and resisted all offers. In the end we realised her sight was failing and she just did not see how things were deteriorating.
It is a tightrope walk, obviously some things have to be clean for basic hygiene. A deep clean of areas she does not have time to get round to would help, but the most difficult discussion is her health and getting her checked, she is lucky to have you to care about her.

Charleygirl Sat 14-Oct-17 16:41:05

Maybe clean one kitchen cupboard door each time one of you visits. Have you thought of buying her a robot vacuum cleaner? I looked on Amazon and bought a small one for well under £100. She will get the amusement value out of it and it will keep crumbs off the kitchen floor. The cheaper ones are for hard floors and not carpets. She would have to remember to re- charge it.

Charleygirl Sat 14-Oct-17 22:37:05

Perhaps moan to your mother saying that your house needs a good spring clean- what does she think about that? She may say that hers needs one also so may consider going down that path.

durhamjen Sat 14-Oct-17 23:57:05

I don't notice cobwebs at all until my youngest granddaughter tells me about them. She can't stand spiders in the house; I don't mind. However, we remove the cobwebs that she notices, pretending that the spider has gone as well.
I've just noticed a new one while typing this. I'll leave it until she comes to visit next, see if she notices.

strawberrinan Sun 15-Oct-17 09:10:26

Tell her outright.

Tessa101 Sun 15-Oct-17 09:12:48

I would be tad sneaky maybe member of family inviting her for lunch/ dinner while other members go and clean the house would she even notice.