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Long story I hope shortened enough. My father had a stroke 6 years ago and left the rehab facility before he was completely mobile. He was just sure he could do it on his own. After struggling for years (left side arm and leg almost completely immobile) he lost his home so we moved him into low income senior housing. He has continued to decline. He had a procedure for watermelon belly a year ago and November 24th surgery for a perforated stomach. He is now in an nursing home with pt, speech and ot everyday as he is unable to sit up, walk, needs 2 person assist for everything and is on nectar thick foods/beverages due to paralysis in his esophagus. They are tapering him off the specialist schedules as he is showing no progress and indicate he will likely go into long term care in the next 2 weeks.

My biggest worry and stress right now is his apartment and storage unit. Medicaid will take his SS and that is all the income he has. I was told to get rid of, sell, etc all of his belongings which makes me nervous. I don't think he is going to recover from this but the "what if" makes me worried about tossing his things. I want none of it as it all smells terrible of cat pee and cigarette smoke. It just seems wrong to throw someone's things in the dumpster. What has everyone else done? I am driving myself crazy with worry that he is going to be angry all of his stuff is gone.

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Not counting the stuff that has sentimental value, I have to weigh the cost of long term storage against the replacement cost should you need it again. Storage bins are not cheap so you could possible spend several hundreds of dollars a month to store furniture that you could replace for a few hundred dollars (and would want to replace anyway due to the condition).

Mom downsized form a 3,000 square foot house that she had lived in for 50 years to an 1300 square foot apartment. Luckily(?) my brother helped himself to a lot of her stuff before I got to it but what was left filled at least two full sized dumpsters. She brought her favorite pieces with her.

Every so often, she asks what has happened to certain items and she often makes reference to needing them when she moves back home but, frankly, she will never be able to live alone again so I just distract her when the topic comes up.
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(in there means in his apartment)
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when my dad was in rehab after i found him on deaths door we had to throw out his furniture and clear out tons of junk in there. The hardest thing i have ever done was answer him when he asked to go back to his apartment.... and I had to reply that it was empty... that his couch was full of bugs. He was shocked and embarrassed... but not angry.
My mother, when I downsized her hoard, she was taken out to lunch and half her possessions got tossed/donated. She never noticed anything missing when she arrived in her new apt.
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Another idea on storing some items, some assisted living facilities have basement storage... individual small rooms that the residents can pay a small monthly rent.

For my Dad he was happy to downsize, and when it came to move into Assisted Living one room apartment, I would joke with him that he is going back into time now moving back to a college dorm, as he brought along just about every book he owned. But this dorm won't be having any late night parties :)
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Here a good thread with a lot of really great ideas on what to do with parent's "stuff" to downsize or clear out. https://www.agingcare.com/discussions/how-to-get-your-parents-to-downsize-195854.htm
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Sounds like most things need to go if they smell. Mother is in a facility in a small room. She is in a hospital bed and has a wheel chair. She has two small chairs, (only seats upholstered) a small chest uder the window, a bedside table, a hall (long narrow) table with photos on it, photos and art work on the walls, a small curio table in the corner with more photos and some of her favorite ornaments, and a small TV and stand in the corner.

During a time of transition when she was in hospital I stored most of her belongings from her apartment until we knew where she was going. It ended up that money was spent storing items most of which were given away eventually,.

Many places have larger rooms and can accommodate a small table and chairs, an upholstered chair and/or love seat etc, bookcases etc,

This is a very difficult time and I understand your reluctance to just toss your dad's things. I think most of us feel that way, but in the long run you have to be practical and it is only stuff most of which he doesn't need any more.

He may well be angry - all part of adjustment to the unpleasant changes that are happening to him. I am sorry. (((((((hugs))))))
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Does anyone have any suggestions on items to save in case he makes enough improvement to go into a skilled home?
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Yes. He will be upset. His belongings represent his life. But that doesn't negate the need to get rid of most, if not all, of his things. Unless you have the funds to pay the storage you don't have a choice.
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I threw alot of my own things in a dumpster. If dad's items smell then they should be tossed.
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