Q: I recently placed my mother, who has Alzheimer’s, in a nursing home. I would like to give her possessions to family members. Is it too soon?

A: If you feel strongly that she is never going to come back home, then no, it is not too soon.

I've never understood why we wait until someone has passed away to give their "treasures" to members of the family. Giving your mother's belongings to others in the family is a kind and loving gesture. You will be representing your mother and carrying out her wishes by thoughtfully deciding who should receive some of her things.

If your mother previously determined who should receive certain items, then your task is much easier. If not, sit quietly and take your time to make these decisions. I'm sure your family members will appreciate having some of her things while she is still living. If she has a close friend or friends, sometimes a gift of a small memento is a way of keeping her alive with her friends.

With your mother's condition, she might not be aware of what you are doing, but your family and her friends, will feel a deeper connection to her while she is still living – which is a wonderful gift.

As you go through this process, take some time for yourself. Walk down memory lane and remember her when she was a vital, young woman. It will help you as you journey through this process.