My 92 year old mom fell and broke her hip and fractured her neck last Nov. believe it or not she is a fighter and is using a walker. She is legally blind and has COPD. She's on OX 24 hours. She is beginning to realize she has to stay in assisted living now. She wanted to go home to a big house alone. I'm having a hard time cleaning out her house. She doesn't want me to get rid of anything in case she goes home soon. My son and his family are moving in soon what do I do?

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I have a big problem with this, and I was hoping that Lucy would come back with further information that would solve it.

The mother is, barring miracles, not going to return to her home. I don't argue with the sense of that or that she is to be discouraged from pursuing false, risky hopes.

But at the time of posting, the mother had every (groundless, whatever, doesn't matter) intention of returning to her home, and it was a major motivation for her. She has been co-operating well, evidently, and making progress in her recovery.

Lucy goes on to explain that one reason she feels the need to get on with clearing out her mother's house is that her son and his family are on the point of moving in.

Well, excuse me: is this with or without the mother's knowledge and consent? Whose understanding is it that mother is moving out and young family is moving in?

My fear is that they have improperly got ahead of themselves. You cannot just take liberties with somebody else's property, not even if it's a racing certainty that she won't be returning to it.

As I say, I hope mother/grandmother has been kept in the loop and has already agreed; but I would like to hear so.
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I must say, when my mom had a stroke back in 2013, and my brother, who has POA said " gee, we need to clean out the house", I just started hauling stuff away. We didn't ask mom.

I guess we knew in our heart of hearts that she was never going back there to live. She'd been in Independent Living for more than a year.

It seemed like " to ask permission is to seek denial".
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Holy Cow! This is EXACTLY what my sister and I have been going through for the past year--and still are! I sympathize with the author of this article because I have walked the walk--even the part about the blindness. Our mom is beginning to let the anger go and trying hard to accept what has to be. I actually didn't think we'd ever see that. God help her, I do not want to ever see 97 (her age). What 'Father Time' does to the aged is so cruel.
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Since she will not be going home again just tell her that her treasured things are safe.
If they are things the family wants divide up what family members want and tell your Mom that everyone will be taking something to keep it safe.
As my Mom said...better from a warm hand than a cold heart when passing out her "treasures"..and I can tell you several never made it past the garbage can when I took them home. She never knew nor did I think she really cared once they were gone.
If there are a few things that she can keep with her in Assisted Living bring them to her it will make her feel more at home.
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The hardest part is getting started. Find a starting point in your mom's home. Does she really need magazines from the 90's? Empty out the fridge and freezer. Start getting rid of anything you know your mom will not want or need anymore: 11 pairs of shoes, a huge old clock hanging in the living room, the microwave, etc. Once you start you'll get some momentum. Put aside anything you're not sure about such as heirlooms, things you know your mom treasures, and anything you think might be valuable.

When we cleaned out my parents house we hired a huge dumpster that sat in the driveway and we just walked or carried stuff out to that and threw it in. Once it was filled the company came and got it and left an empty one.

Don't take this on alone. It's emotional.
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Sadly, we don't usually get what we want. I imagine your mom gets this.

Just gently remind her that she is where she needs to be for her own best interests and simultaneously start clearing out the house. We cleared out my grandma's after her final "fall" and subsequent move to a NH. Once she realized she was never going home, she actually helped us to decide what went where and to whom. We were able to pack her whole house up, give items to people she wanted to have them and actually get ready for the aftermath--before. She died less than 2 weeks in the NH, and went peacefully. Mother was the only sib in the state and we'd boxed up the other 2 sibs things so well, they came in for the funeral and either took their things or had them shipped.

Most people don't have that opportunity. You know your mom can't return home and I wouldn't dwell on that with her-- but you can ask her about specific bequests while she still is with you.

Yes, it's a daunting task, even with a smaller condo that grandma lived in, it was a LOT of work. With a whole home---it can take next to forever.

Good Luck with this. I hope your mom adapts to the NH well and makes some friends and can have some pleasant memories, despite it not bring what she "wants".
Helpful Answer (3)

Er... Whose house is it?

There is only one material question that has to be settled first. Is your mother of sound mind, legally competent to make her own decisions?
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Good point Country mouse.
There could be vast legal problems with this arrangement as well.
If they wanted to make it more "legit" the Son and family could "rent" the property from Grandma, that might provide an income for her if she needs it. Or if Grandma is of sound mind she could sell the fair market value. This way there is no problem if medicaid has to become involved.
Helpful Answer (3)

Lucy217, you are doing what is in the best interest of your Mom, to be in a skilled assisted living facility to tend to her needs. Of course, many elders want to go back home saying they can manage on their own... NOT.... but they feel this is this last grasp on independence.

Many elders don't realize that they often have MORE independence living in Assisted Living. I never could convince my parents of that, mainly my Mom.

It would have been easier to convince your Mom is the house was being sold. Such as no more worry about property taxes.... maintenance/repairs.... lawn maintenance... snow shoveling.... replacing appliances.... homeowner's insurance..... window and/or plumbing or electrical wiring replacement. And being by herself, what if she fell again. Of course, an elder will have an answer to each item, whether is it logical or not.

Right now your Mom will become the "landlord", thus she is sill responsible for the property taxes, and everything on the list above.

Income taxes will be different for an investment property being rented will need to be declared as income minus what ever expenses she had for the income tax year. Someone will need to keep track of the income/expenses. I had to hire a CPA for this, because investment property was too complex for me come income tax time.

Plus your Mom could give you a convincing story that since her grandson and his family will be in the house, they would help take care of her.

Hope this will be a win-win for everyone involved.
Helpful Answer (2)

If the house is in a trust, isn't it the responsibility of the trustees to care for and maximize the income from the house? It's really not up to Grandma anymore.

If this were my mom, I'd say " would you rather we rent it to grandson or to strangers, mom? Your choice: you're the one in charge here".

The idea is that you give what's called a "forced choice". Asking open ended questions of elders with dementia is a recipe for disaster.
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