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Since my father has been in the nursing home, we have now discovered from his doctor he will never be able to go home and live by himself. We live in a city that has no live-in nurse time program. he cannot use the at home health care for he has had many TIA's and they cannot be there all the time. So now we are forced to sell his home and everything in it-minus the items that have special memories. I am the POA, so of course all this is dumped on me which i have no problems with. I just feel so guilty for selling his things-i feel i am getting rid of his life long belongings-i feel horrible, i feel like i am betraying him. I know they are nothing he will ever use again but they were still "his". He has dementia, he knows we have to sell his home, but its my guilt that is eating me up inside. don't know how to feel. :(

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Candyo, what you are feeling is normal, but please work on dropping the guilt. Even your dad knows he can't use those items again. You are doing the right thing by saving items that have special emotional value, so it's evident that you have sensitivity toward what your are doing.

It's quite likely this is harder on you than on your dad. That's frequently the case. You are seeing items that have had a place in your life as well as your dad's. You may want to take pictures of many items just for memory's sake. It the whole process is too hard, you can hire professionals who will work with you or even do it all if you'd rather not be there. Try to remember that no matter how long your dad had these things, they are things, and your dad's care now is the most important part of his life. My hear aches for you, because I know it's hard. But you'll get through it.
Carol
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I guess I think that in this situation there is a typical grieving process, like a death. I have always agreed with the advice in general to 'do nothing' for a year. That is not always possible, but if you want to and if you can afford to, after getting rid of the stuff that doesn't mean anything (basically junk, which everybody has) what is so bad about putting things in storage for a while. If you are willing to go through the moving it there and then moving it again, I don't think you should be so hard on yourself.
My BIL forced my MIL to sell everything in an estate sale and rushed her into a nursing home shortly after my FIL died. She had none of her stuff left and it was very sad. The proceeds were not much, in the end, and she really did have some nice things. Antiques aren't fetching lots these days and double beds well, no body wants. I am NOT a hoarder - the exact opposite! So I do put things into perspective about 'it is just 'stuff', after all'. But storage units are pretty cheap and if you need to buy some time before divesting of all his belongings, I see nothing wrong with that. If you need counseling to deal with guilt, then get it and once you are feeling a little more settled, begin to get rid of things.
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Try not to beat yourself up over this! Your dad is getting the care he needs and you are being sensitive to his needs. All good! The STUFF is just that, Perhaps there are other family members who will enjoy the memories associated with some of it. My mom had a stroke and quite frankly has never once asked for anything from the old house- when we brought her there she did not even recognize it! Then we had to move dad to another state, he would not let go of ONE thing! We moved 28,000 pounds- yes you read that correctly- only to have him just pile boxes and put them in the basement for storage. My sis then unboxed just what he needed to live comfortably and he still will not part with any stuff. It took me a week to box up and move (with a moving company) all that stuff and then another several weeks for my sis to go though it and set him up. Sad but true. He just wants to know that it is THERE! Now when he passes sis and I will have to go through it all again to sell or give away, what a waste of effort. It sure has made us in our late 50's trim down the excess baggage! You could always try to take pics of the rooms they way they are and make a memory book for him, before you dispose of it!
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That is why I feel so strongly about "things", if I do not need it I get rid of it, that is just me, after I moved from USA to Ireland, I had to get rid of a lot of my own things, gave it all away, Salvation Army, people in need, homeless shelters, I worked hard for it all to have it gone in one afternoon. Point is things do not bring you happiness and they sure do weigh you down. I have a house now that needs to be updated and rehabbed, but you know what it can wait, right now all my energy is for taking care of my mother. When the time comes, I really just want what I need and keep it really simple, possessions fill you with worry that someone will steal them, and the reality is I have never seen one hearse towing a UHaul of stuff. Keep things that dad treasures, give some things to those that deserve and need them and enjoy the freedom of less.
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First I had to deal with my great aunts belongings, later with my aunts, and just recently (Feb - present), my moms, which also included most of my dads things since he predeceased her 18 years prior.

My way of honoring their lives and their possessions was to go through everything, touch everything, know what I was dealing with, and make an informed decision item by item. If the economy had been better, I might have taken the time to try to sell some of her things but, that not being the case, I decided to offer certain things to people that had been meaningful to my mom, and they to her, so I could feel that her special and favorite things found a good home. Although I certainly did have to throw out an accumulation of a lot of unimportant things (like junque we all have), what was important to me was that items I knew she really loved, enjoyed or were important to her did not get discarded out of hand or scooped up by some impersonal clutter or removal service.

I am disabled so choosing to do this was hard work for me. I could certainly understand that due to a disability, other family needs or work pressures, this choice may not be possible for everyone. The bottom line is, you have to do what you have to do. If your elder is still alive, as mine wasn't, you may be more pressed for time than I was and other choices would be necessary. You have to console yourself in all cases that you're doing the best you can. That's all anyone should expect from you, or you should expect from yourself.
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Candyo, I agree above about letting go of the guilt feeling for its not good for you either. Plus, you are NOT betraying him buy letting go of some of his stuff. Especially that your dad understands too. Why not see if u can bring a few small items that he can have in his room at the NH? Plus, their is nothing wrong in keeping a few memory items for yourself too. Although he will be losing his house, at least he will still have some of his own special items with him. Plus, I assume some of the $ for the house will help pay for him getting the best care that he needs. You are doing everything that you can do as a caring n loving daughter n you know it for his best interest so try not to be so hard on yourself.
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Gosh, it sounds like you are living my life. I am at the exact same place as you.
Dad knows we need to sell the house, but is not able to do it himself. He can not emotionally or logically make the decisions that are required to clean it out.

Perhaps this will help you move past the guilt. Your "job" is to take care your dad. Everything you do must be in his best interest. Currently, he NEEDS the house settled. Thus, as difficult as it is.. you MUST do this FOR him even if he doesn't understand why you are doing it. Even if he becomes sad because of it.
Sometimes parents must make painful decisions when raising their kids. This time, you must make a painful decision to take care of your dad.

All that being said, I'm going to take the chicken way out. I've rented a storage unit and I'm going to move the majority of his stuff in there for now. This way I can clean the house and sell it.
If dad should happen suddenly remember something he wants, I'll be able to say it is safe. I know I could lie to him, but I'm not that good at it (although I'm learning).
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My husband had been a hoarder for years so our house it cluttered with all kinds of useless things, including catalogs from years ago, empty pill bottles, old bills, etc. He always got very anxious when I tried to throw away any of his things and often checked the garbage to make sure that I wasn't getting rid of any of his things. At this point, he still lives at home, although he attends an adult day care program 4 times a week and I do send him to a memory care assisted living facility for short respite stays of 4-8 days on occasion (when I can afford it). When he is not around, I take the opportunity to throw away large eaf bags full of his "stuff". As long as he doesn't actually see me throwing his things out (and doesn't see it in the garbage, which he still checks) he is unaware of what I have done. I have no guilt about doing this because this is also my home and I feel that I have a right to a reasonable amount of space here, especially since I am the one who does all the cleaning. Don't feel guilty about getting rid of things of your father's which he no longer needs because you doing what needs to be done and your father will not know the difference. You have a right to live comfortably in your own home.
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I know just how you feel and 2 years ago was in your shoes. Mom, with dementia in a memory care home, has never asked for her stuff. I'm just thrilled when she recognizes a quilt, for instance, that I saved. That meant I made a good decision.
1) Be glad that your father is still alive and you don't have to be mourning his death as well as going through his possessions.
2) Take the time to savor the memories that the items bring back. Even if your father will not get the pleasure of looking at them again, he'd be happy for you to relive old times. Your emotions about the items give validation to your good family memories. Then, it's time to get rid of the things you've decided not to keep. Estate sale, auction, theater departments, charity, recycling - it all works.
3) Take pictures of everything - rooms, individual items, books, etc. I took pictures after the estate sale was set up, too. It still pains me to look at them, and I don't yet, but I like knowing I have the pictures.
4) Going through the 4 generations of things in Mom's house was truly the hardest thing I've ever done. I still think about the estate sale every day. But though it's sometimes mentally hard for me to move on (time DID help) I certainly moved on in my life. My time was not dominated by stringing the process along. In the end, it was good to get it done. Now I can concentrate on Mom instead of her things.

Good luck.
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I too just went through this with my mother - even though we did the first round of it 3 years ago and moved her into independent living near me - she suffered so much the loss of her possessions - now again she has broken her leg and had a stroke and professionals agree she will never go home again. I've put her in a home and taken a few special items - all her 3 boxes of photos in total disarray - and some art and put it in her room - and much of it is over-flowing in my house. She is also in early stages of dementia and in a memory care facility. She keeps saying things like 'in my medicine cabinet is a ...' as if her home is waiting for her. I'm honest and kind, and say 'Mom you know its all gone now' - which leaves her in bewilderment. Not sure this is the right approach - but she is cognizant enough to discuss it. I feel terrible as well, also am in exchange with her loss. This is a very independent woman who was driving 3 months ago - and now she can barely walk. Its a horrible transition and I keep reminding myself 'its just stuff' and that's not what matters - what matters is the care she now needs and that she is getting it.
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