I placed my mother in a nursing home several months ago. Is it too soon to give her possessions to family members?

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My mother moved into my home 5 years ago, but recently I had to place her in a nursing home. My brothers and sisters, who were not very supportive of me, believed that she should have been in a nursing home years ago. I now have a room full of her furniture and boxes and boxes of knick-knacks, photo albums and holiday decor stored in the basement. Walking past her room every day saddens me tremendously and I would like to heal from the past traumas. I had suggested to my brothers and sisters that I would like to invite them all down to take whatever they wanted from my mother's possessions. Some liked the idea. Others seemed apalled at the notion. While I understand some are uncomfortable with the idea, should I really wait until she dies to give away her possessions to family members? By the way, there is nothing of monetary value involved. It is all used furnishings and items of sentimental value. How have others handled this?

Answers 1 to 10 of 20
jackie,
I dont know what your moms mental state is, but regardless, ask her first!

My mom has been making a list of what goes to who. Pretty much, my brother doesnt want anything and anything I dont want will then go to my aunt. Its different for everyone. Does your mom have a will? Theres that factor.
Top Answer
It is your house I would just make a plan for maybe in 2 months -3 months they can come and get what they want and when the 3 months are over tell them you are going to give things away to the Salvation Army-they pick up stuff at your house- or to friends you have the right to have the use of that room and the space in the basement-you took care of her for 5 years.
It's not too soon to do what would make you comfortable. It is difficult- no matter at what stage -to deal with aging parents. If there is no chance on your mother returning, yes- heed the advice already posted. And like you say- they are only material objects; remember and hold onto the memories of and those you share with her.
If your siblings don't want you giving it to family members let them staore it and pay a storage fee. Give them a set amount of time to get it all done, no if's and's or but's. You do have a right to have your home back the way you want it. You cared for her in your home. They did not, so it;s the least they could do, seeing how "appalled" they feel. Blessings.
Jackie: First let me say that you are kind beyond belief. You did the right thing for your Mother when others wanted her "out of sight" long ago. Here's to you for being a sensitive and humane daughter.
As for the "stuff" I am the practical sort. If your mother is aware of her surroundings, you should ask her if there are a few things she would like to keep. If not, you should choose a few special items for yourself, invite others to do the same, then call a charitable organization, make a list of donated items, and keep the receipt for tax purposes.
When my Mom sold her home, I organized a yard sale and got rid of years of accumulation (and she isn't even a "pack rat.") She then used the proceeds from the sale to buy a few new pieces of furniture for her new apartment. It gave her a fresh start.
If hanging on to items makes you sad, it is time to let go of them. Your memories are your treasures. Blessings to you.
Lilli
I would be real careful on getting rid of your mom's things if she is still aware of what is going on. After we moved my mom to a nursing home, the apartment my mom and I had together was totally dismantled, half of the stuff is still out in my sister's garage. I tried to label all the good stuff that had sentimental meaning, photographs, keepsakes, china, good glassware and her clothing so that it would land inside the house when we moved the stuff over from the apartment, but only half of the stuff got moved inside. Fortunately most of my own personal belongings are inside in my room now, I have a large room, filled with boxes of things that we need to keep. I am getting no cooperation from the rest of my family getting anything else moved inside or help with going through boxes to weed out stuff in the garage, and I cannot do any lifting, bending or stooping because of back problems. I am not going to hurt my own self over this, after taking care of my mom alone for five years has me worn out.
After we moved mom to the nursing home, she tried to sue us for the rest of her belongings, tried to check herself out of the nursing home, sent the police over to find out where her stuff was. It was a really bad scene when they had to tell her her stuff was out in the dirty garage. I just had a tiff with my sister this evening about leaving the garage door wide open all night, when all mom's stuff in there and some of mine, maybe that is my sister's solution to getting rid of the stuff, let somebody take it and leave the door open. And just the other day I found a box out there in the garage full of photographs from our childhood that had gotten wet and mildewed and not salvagable. My nephew has it all sewed up now anyway, all the boxes are stacked the wrong way towards the wall so I can't tell what's in the boxes anyway. It is too soon to discard a lot of stuff, unless it is obviously junk. I don't have any other family members to give stuff to except my sister, and my nephew took the stuff he wanted without even asking and appriated the electric pianos and sofa, took it without even asking -- eeek!, and I am sitting up here in my room without cables for my computer printer and speakers that got lost in the move, maybe should investigate and see if he has them in his room. And yes, when we moved from the apartment I threw out a lot of junk, so it is dejunked, most of it are things we would want to save that I brought inside, hopefully. I think I was throwing about 10 big trashbags of stuff into the trash every day trying to get the apartment and garage cleaned out. What I think needs to be done is look at the list of things she made legally that were supposed to go to my sister and supposed to go to me and save only what is listed so we will not have mom trying to sue us again. The only problem is I do not know where to find the things in the garage with the boxes all turned around the wrong way, I am really in a bind. And meanwhile I am tripping over all the stuff in my room.
I also think you should ask your mother what she wants you to do with her stuff. If she's mentally able, then she can tell you who should get what too. If she can't help you out with that, then I think I'd wait till she dies. I would figure that her stuff's 'not eating hay' so shut the door and leave it alone till she's gone. I get the reason why you want it gone though....
I want to thank everyone for taking the time to share their comments. I just wanted to add that my mother is not capable of making any decisions, nor has she ever suggested giving away any specific items to certain people. I have decorated her room at the nursing home with several of her cherished pieces, but she does not recognize them as hers. I don't feel I would be just getting rid of or discarding her things, but hopefully giving them to relatives who would want them. I already sense a fight brewing over the old photos she had saved. I am burned out from giving her care, especially over the last year. There is really nothing I want, other than a few things that she had given me as gifts when I was younger. Seeing her in the nursing home is very difficult for me and then coming home and seeing her room without her there makes me cry.
Sorry about your mom's mental state, I was hoping otherwise, sure would've made things easier. As far as the photos are concerned, can't you take the ones that you think there will be a fight over and have them reproduced? I would think that any Kinkos can do that for you. The things that she gave you personally, I believe you can do with them what you want. When my grandma died my grandpa refused to have anything moved around at all. My mother finally convinced him that granny's clothes needed to be cleaned out, but even that he didn't want to do. Before she died I would drop in and visit on a regular basis, but afterwards not so much. It was eerie going over there and seeing everything that reminded me of her, and her not being there. We started having him come to our house more often, but I did tell him it was too hard coming to his place. He understood. Even though your mom is still alive physically, I think you're in mourning every time you pass her room. Being reminded again of what you've lost. Grandpa wanted that reminder, but the rest of us not so much. I guess you need to give yourself time to grieve, and then do what you think you have to. None of your siblings should make that decision for you the caretaker.
And even though you say now there's nothing you want of hers, I would still take the time and go through her things. Once the physical memories are gone, they're gone.
My Mom is in a Nursing Home now too. She was in assisted living with her own apartment. She has some Dimensia and does not remember why she is living where she is. I donated most of her furniture to Good Will but kept a few special things of hers to decorate her NS room with. I believe that this helps her think that she is at home with reminders of her past.
Pictures are a wonderful tool to keep her memories of her family in tact. My brother was in agreement with me.
I pray that you do the right thing for your Mom.

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