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End of tether - advice please Mum's moved into sheltered housing and won't throw anything away

(68 Posts)
MommaP Tue 28-Jul-20 21:56:56

So my 77yr old dad has gone into a residential home and mum has moved into supported living flat Nice lounge and kitchen with separate bedroom .

Mum won't talk about reducing contents of 3 bedrooms into 1 small flat. Keys of old property go back end of week. Mum is refusing to face things , we've moved as much furniture as we could and lots of boxes but mum and dad were hoarders.

I've suggested renting storage but mum just flares up and says hurtful things.

I'm so tired, I'm broken and can't stop crying. SW says do what we can but I'm exhausted .

Anybody been through a similar thing and what on earth can we do?

Two full days left to sort this mess ....

biba70 Tue 28-Jul-20 22:05:38

Was it your mum's choice to move out to flat?

geekesse Tue 28-Jul-20 22:16:15

Ok, two days means a short term solution to begin with. I’d be inclined to rent a storage unit for a short while so you can get your Mum’s stuff out of her old house. Move as much stuff as you can squeeze in into the new flat and put the overflow into storage.

Once she has settled into her new flat, she can decide how much of the stuff in the flat she wants to keep (a lot of it will get in her way), and any surplus can go into the storage unit. She might want to take some items out of storage. After a month or so, she may be willing to clear the storage unit out, and if she isn’t, tell her she will have to pay the rental cost.

biba70 Tue 28-Jul-20 22:19:33

good advicd from geekesse.

I do feel for you, this is so hard for you. The question about choice is significant however. If moving out was not fully her choice, that may be the reason why she it digging her feet in.

welbeck Tue 28-Jul-20 22:31:49

are you the only person dealing with this, on behalf of yr mother.
realistically, could you afford to get professional removers or just a man with van type, to assess how much storage would be needed, then have him transport it to storage.
it's better than having it suddenly destroyed, if it cannot be moved in time. i presume the house was rented.
you may need to seek prof help re hoarding issues, later on.
it is very difficult thing to fix.
it is a mental disorder, not bad behaviour.
try not to antagonise yr mother. she will be extra stressed with yr father moving to residential care, and her having to move. try to deal with it as much as you can taking a practical pro-tem approach.
good luck.

MommaP Tue 28-Jul-20 22:44:40

Thanks everyone

Mum discussed with SW and agreed to move to be nearer to dad. SW said not to tell her dad unlikely to move to flat. Old property was a health risk and dangerous. I can't afford a man and van .

Mum's mental health's been up and down for years.

Callistemon Tue 28-Jul-20 23:01:51

I suppose what is a mess to you is her life.
Her belongings probably collected over many years and some may be treasured.

It is difficult. My mother wasn't a hoarder so there was no rubbish but it was still difficult packing up her home when she had to leave it and we still have some boxes of 'stuff' in the attic, much of it had a sentimental rather than intrinsic value.

Can you surreptitiously get rid of real rubbish, pack up the rest and as others suggest, rent storage for a while?

MommaP Wed 29-Jul-20 06:45:51

Struggling so much physically and mentally. Mum wont even discuss things going into storage. I'm running out of time - piles and piles of dirty soft toys etc piles of clothes that are smelly and stained . I've been bitten by what I assume are fleas numerous times.

Didn't sleep well again - don't want to get up today

Oopsadaisy3 Wed 29-Jul-20 07:34:38

TBH, I would get rid of the dirty rubbish, then put the rest into a storage unit, maybe short term, don’t tell her, just do it and don’t mention it again, until it needs to be paid for, by her, if she refuses to pay for it then dump it all.
If there is absolutely no money to pay for a unit, then you will either have to walk away from the property and let the landlord clear it out, for which you will be charged, or dump it all yourself.
You don’t really have too many choices.
It doesn’t sound as though your DM will be going back to her home, if you are giving up the property and you definitely don’t want her to have all of the stuff in her new home. Just make sure that you don’t get rid of any actual precious objects or paperwork. But don’t keep talking to her about it, it just upsets you both and nothing will change the situation.

travelsafar Wed 29-Jul-20 08:33:36

Your poor mum.... and you. She has lost her husband and her home, now she has to loose things that they have aquired over many years i should imagine. She must be mentally and emtionally drained and having to decide what to keep and what to get rid off so difficult right now. The storage unit seems the best idea, then she can take her time getting rid. I hope you find a solution.

sodapop Wed 29-Jul-20 08:54:08

What a stressful time for you MommaP both you and your Mum must be worn down by it all.
All the theoretical stuff about helping people who hoard is really out of the window when time and money are so short. I think Oopsadaisy has the right idea, get rid of all the infested and smelly stuff then rent storage in the short term for the rest. You really can't take infested goods to her new flat or you will have an on going problem.
I sympathise, its not an easy situation to deal with. Good luck.

MawB Wed 29-Jul-20 09:04:04

geekesse

Ok, two days means a short term solution to begin with. I’d be inclined to rent a storage unit for a short while so you can get your Mum’s stuff out of her old house. Move as much stuff as you can squeeze in into the new flat and put the overflow into storage.

Once she has settled into her new flat, she can decide how much of the stuff in the flat she wants to keep (a lot of it will get in her way), and any surplus can go into the storage unit. She might want to take some items out of storage. After a month or so, she may be willing to clear the storage unit out, and if she isn’t, tell her she will have to pay the rental cost.

A friend of mine has a similar problem with an emotionally fragile family member who is moving into a small sheltered flat from a large house she shared with her mother, who died well into her 90’s. The amount of her “stuff” including unworn clothes, unopened presents, hoarded toiletries, bags of books etc is daunting.
All I would add is that instead of moving as much as possible into the new flat and putting the rest in storage in the hope of getting rid of it later, I would suggest Mum chooses what she really wants to take with the option of adding some of the other bits later. Once she has lived without much of her clutter she may grow less attached to it - out of sight, out of mind?
Good luck though, I was hugely grateful that my Mum had died before we needed to clear my parents’ house and never knew what happened to many of her “things”.

Devorgilla Wed 29-Jul-20 09:32:51

MawBe's suggestion is a sound one. As time is short, and if you haven't room to store in your own home, I would do as she suggests and try to get your mother involved in making decisions. If you get nowhere with that then just bag it all up and move to a storage without discussion until she is in her flat. When she questions where it is you can suggest she take a week to sort out what is there and then you will bring the rest to her to do at her leisure. If there isn't a lot you can get a small unit. If you don't want to pay storage for any length of time then give your mother a time limit on the storage. If she is able to get around she can go with you to the storage to sort out. Given it is causing you distress I would be proactive. Time is not on your side. Good luck and give yourself a treat when she has moved.

NotSpaghetti Wed 29-Jul-20 09:42:43

I think storage is not cheap so be ruthless in what you "save".
Get rid of all the filthy stuff as you have no time to wash it. BUT if your mother will miss certain teddies/clothes pick no more than a load out to wash.

Later, you can, if necessary, admit to "lots of things" in "emergency" storage. This way she doesn't have to confront the idea that a lot has been disposed of.

Please try to focus on an easier future. I really feel for you. Good luck. The worst will be over soon.

trisher Wed 29-Jul-20 09:43:55

I know it's awful but one solution could be to "lose" some things in the removal process. Does she really know exactly what she has got? Years ago we moved my mum. Because she was injured I had to pack up her house then my brother and SIL moved everything. From time to time she would mention that she hadn't seen something since she moved. Now I did throw a few things out but not much. I think my SIL might have 'disappeared' a few things as well. But certainly she never really missed them.

IslandGranny Wed 29-Jul-20 09:48:38

This is one of these burdens that are so unwelcome but fall on adult children. You have my sympathy. So much to deal with at the same time no wonder you are feeling overwhelmed. This is when you need a mediator, someone your mum trusts and is known for being sensible. This person can take responsibility for the unpopular decisions. My mum had to move abruptly into a care home near me a few months after my dad died suddenly of a heart attack. There are a lot of things like photographs and sentimental ornaments that I wish I had packed into her case. I didn’t appreciate neither of us would be back in the house again. My eldest brother, my husband and close male friends cleared all the rest to the dump/ recycling centre. I feel it was the right thing to do and in the end it was brutal but saved any agonising over what was to be kept. Mum needed a whole new wardrobe in the care home anyway as her clothes deteriorated quickly in the industrial laundry. Take heart in that you are not alone in having to reverse roles with parents, it is hard at first but gets easier and will give you peace of mind eventually. It’s easy to lose sight of what is important. Your parents health and safety and your own mental health. 🌻🌻🌻

cass123 Wed 29-Jul-20 09:57:55

I am amazed that someone thinks it is the Landlords problem??? Why is that?

Flakesdayout Wed 29-Jul-20 10:12:20

MommaP what an awful situation for you. Could you speak to the Landlord and get an extension to the rental agreement to enable you more time to clear your Mums belongings? If not they will not do this then I would firstly get rid of the dirty and smelly items. Have you got any room in your home to store some things even temporarily? You cannot take infested things into your home or let your Mum have them. so get some treatment spray for anything you bring back to your home. If none of this can be done, have you any friends or family who could help store some belongings? Lastly if none of this is available you will need to move it into a temporary storage unit. talk to your Mum and ask her to pay and if she is able go and sort this out together? Anything that is thrown away and she questions you may have to tell a love lie.

When my Mum moved into residential care I had to clear her home, luckily I had room in mine to store but it was still hard having to get rid of her belongings, some of which I still have. As she had Dementia she never asked about any of that or her home so in a way I was quite thankful.

I do hope you find a way of getting through this. Be strong.

Callistemon Wed 29-Jul-20 10:13:37

MommaP

Struggling so much physically and mentally. Mum wont even discuss things going into storage. I'm running out of time - piles and piles of dirty soft toys etc piles of clothes that are smelly and stained . I've been bitten by what I assume are fleas numerous times.

Didn't sleep well again - don't want to get up today

Ah!

Bin bags. Rubber gloves.
Hoarding like that is a problem and it will distress the hoarder unfortunately.
Can you give your mother a pile of stuff to 'sort' into a cardboard box to keep her busy? You can always dispose of it later and she may not remember it.

mumstheword86 Wed 29-Jul-20 10:27:37

Hope you have more family could you not share their possessions around to ease the problem for the time being Time not on your side In my experience putting things into safe store only puts off the problem unless there is going to be a time limit and ofcourse who pays for this ???
Good luck it’s such a difficult time for all involved to come to a satisfactory solution X

Dorsetcupcake61 Wed 29-Jul-20 10:28:34

I am so sorry that you are having to go through this. It's a horrible and traumatic situation for all of you. If your mum is a hoarder in the true sense of the term she has a mental health condition which it would be impossible for you to deal with on your own especially in such a short timescale. It's common for hoarders to save unsanitary or to us valueless rubbish that they cannot part with. My parents had a lot of "stuff" and that took myself and two friends 3 days to clear with piles for tip/charity/keep. It was emotionally difficult for me as I felt I was throwing away them. I kept things that were very sentimental but it was difficult. Other things that were sentimental but I simply didnt have space for I took photos of.
I'm not sure whether you are facing a wall of solid stuff that may need professional help or just a lot of belongings. Someone mentioned landlord responsibility. I'm not sure but get the impression your parents home might belong to the local authority? If it is hoarding in the true form it may need specialist clearance as there are health risks,you've already mentioned fleas there could be mice infestations etc. Pass it on to your social worker. They can be very helpful but are also very pressurised. To be honest if she thinks you can cope she/he will probably let you get on with it. The situation you are in is incredibly emotionally upsetting without this issue. Be kind to yourself,you can only do your best.

4allweknow Wed 29-Jul-20 10:28:55

Would you be able to pack what you know is rubbish or broken into specific boxes. Sounds as if you are doing most of the transporting to new place. The identified rubbish could either just "disappear" to the tip or even your place for a few days to see if it is actually missed once your DM moves to her new place. If a storage unit isn't acceptable and everything is moved the new place will be a hazzard. If the flat doesn't have concrete floors I would even say the flat isn't built to take the stuff from a 3 bed house and the floors will sink. Do not envy you your task.

Beanie654321 Wed 29-Jul-20 10:32:23

I'm sorry but it sounds awful, but must be done. Any thing that is dirty, stained or downright unhealthy needs to go. Any thing salvageable needs to be stored. Tell mum that this is how it is. She has agreed to move to be closer to her DH so I bet she is aware but unable to cope, bless her. You need to take over to ensure all done. Good luck.

Serendipity22 Wed 29-Jul-20 10:33:02

Reading these comments is so very sad for everyone, some of our parents get to a stage in life where changes need to be made and despite the fact it's a necessity, our parents dont see it that way because in their minds they can fully manage just the way things are, it's so sad.

I have seen numerous situations where a move has to be made and I have seen both the absolute harrowing for mum or dad and the stress that its caused to the son or daughter, just so very sad for all.....

It helps enormously if mum or dad go into the changes with full acceptance, if that takes place then the whole experience is a wonderful happy stress free time, but obviously that is not always the case ....

Sending hugs thanks

harrigran Wed 29-Jul-20 10:37:05

You have my sympathy, we were in a situation like this, we had to move the contents of our second home during lockdown at just twenty four hours notice.
We were able to contact a friend who found a removals company, they had storage containers which we were able to hire. Short term solution as all furniture is being donated to a hospice shop, it was quite pricey though.