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Both of my parents are in need of care. My mother, who has been unstable for years, had a traumatic brain injury 2 years ago. She is 81. My father, who has functioned as a much younger person, is 84. He had major back surgery in November and has just had a stroke. My major concern is the state of their house which is almost two hundred years old and very large. It is filled with boxes and gets worse each day. My other siblings become angry when I mention it although they agree that the house is in bad shape. It appears to be an illness with my mother. They are in a rural area but the EMTs expressed concern when they came to transport my father to the hospital. I am the child that lives closest to them and I want to clean up the house. My mother fights me every step of the way. This is not how she kept a house when I was a child. Two of my siblings tell me not to "cross her" but I do not want my father to return to such an unsafe environment after rehab. My parents are not wealthy but they have plenty of resources. What can I do to help this situation? Do EMTs report situations such as this to social services?

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-Themiddlekid, I am sorry but what I wanted to say was "I have spoke with social workers and they have really NOT been much help.
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Hi Cleaningup1
Glad to hear the social worker was helpful! Any good tips you can pass on to the rest of us, to help us communicate with our parents on topics like this? I know Mom feels like the "you're my child and you're telling me to do-----fill in the blank" when we talk to her about it. She seems to take great offense to anyone offering to do any cleaning up (haven't even tried for a cleaning OUT suggestion yet). Would be happy with any suggestions!! :o)
Thanks!
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-Themiddlekid, thank you for your advice, I have spoke with social workers and they have really been much help, my parents are not in need of a welfare check, they are in need of someone besides a family member to talk to them and help them see the correct way comimg from me is more like...you are my son why are you telling me what/ how to do things, I am your mother.
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You might want to talk to a counselor or social worker about your Mom. They may have some useful ideas or know of some resources for you. I know you can ask for a "welfare check" to be done on a person, but I don't know what the requirements are for doing that. The local police station can tell you that. It's sure hard to see our parents having these problems. My heart goes out to everyone going through hard times. Keep a happy thought and a prayer in your heart.!
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RLP: Did you know that "hoarding" is a form of mental illness? I know it must fall under the category of one of the obsessive-compulsive illnesses. I don't know which one. Do not get judgemental or angry. It is what it is. You're on the right track by trying to "clean it up". Selling or gifting some of the things is a good start.
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At the same time I am reading this I am going through the same, my father has been transfer to a VA rehab center and my mother now does not want to leave her house. --Let me go back, the house at this time it is full of cats phesis all over the carpet so it was reported. EMT came to the house and took my father since he is 100% disable to VA. DCF was contacted and was ask to help with the cleaning of the house however they mention we need to clean it first before they would be able to come in and help ( the house is so bad that my mother was not aloud to stay there so I took her home with me, the next day I ask her to go over the house with me to start cleaning. I had to step out to pick up lunch and since then (3 days ) she does not want tot returned back to my home with me, she says she is cleaning the house and does not want anyone to do it for her. I have offer to help her clean the house since this started some time back, and now I go to the house everyday just to see if she allow me in the house to help. I have tried to do the right thing by helping, by cleaning some the house my self, contacting people but nothing is helping...if anyone knows any other way please please let me know, I do not know what else to do.
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I'm dealing with this very situation too. My 11 siblings, some of who see the problem, but won;'t help, others who are enabling it. Two of the grandchildren live with my mother, both in their 20's. They are making a bad situation awful by adding to the disaster. One of them refuses to do ANYTHING to help! The house is disgusting. I don't know how to get through to my sibling, nieces and nephews that this has to stop NOW!
I tried to get them to come clean with me while my mother was at the hospital, but got no help from anyone but my daughter and a little from the niece who lives with her. What can I do????
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lhardebeck, you are funny!
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Don't go!!!! She must have RADAR!
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funny, we really need a sense of humor in this life!!!
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should say sorry mom i been drinkin . cant come over .
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Get this: Friday I cleaned my house up really really good. Now there were 3 Basketball games on and I'd had a glass of wine, and boom my mom calls and says come over change her!
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glad to make u guys cheer . its good to smile .
wish we all caregivers could jump right in and clean that house up for them .
i need to do mine uhhhh ..
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You cheer me up also-God bless you
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Ihardebeck you always seem to cheer me up!
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oh golly i feel for who only charge 55 dollars for doing 3 story house .i clean an house once it took me all day long to do it and i got 100 dollars for doing it . it was an empty house that was just remodled , it was full of all kinds of dust and whole place was full of muddy bootstracks , even in the bath tub . that place didnt have any water . i had a gal of water , luckly i use thatto wash my hands , there was 3 of us so we split the money and i got 100 dollars . so ure talking 300 dollars for an all day job . it was 3 story log cabin home .
oh i loved that house ,makes me wanna move right on in .hahaha .
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20 bucks an hour here, if you are lucky!!!!
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Where do you live here it is about 60.00 for two cleaners for 2 hrs to clean and that is just basic not getting down and dirty.
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Cleaning house is difficult and unrewarding. I finally found a cleaning service ( one man and three women) who came to clean my entire house which is a three-storey , five bedroom colonial style brick for only $55.00! Basement, attic and porch too! I felt so bad that they only charged me $55.00 that I gave them some clothes and some pies to take home.
Norene
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I too am curious as to how this works. My sister and her family have lived in my moms house about 16 years. They've torn her house apart. They have got to be the natiest people in the world. My mom did not bring either me or my sister up like this, as we would clean house every Saturday and Sunday was a day of rest. I don't live there however I make sure that my moms room is clean daily.

Thing is my mom has been approved for Medical and I know DPSS will be sending someone out to check on the welfare of my mom to see if the house is safe enough for her to remain there. Right now if they go through that house I'm sure they will deam it unsafe, because it's so dirty.

So my question is does anyone know how that works, will they give my sister's family a time to clean, and then OK it for my mom to have in home care continue there? or will they remove her.

The lady next door to my mom, who is also sick and was being taken care of by her step-son, well the ambulance came in and took her away just before Christmas. The word was that she was sitting in urine, and fecies (forgive my spelling), and they have not brought her back yet. Her step-son enlisted the help of some neighbors who cleaned really well, but by the time they came back out it had been destroyed all over again. That poor lady I'm sure wants to come home, and her step-son is a drunk, and I've heard that she want's to get rid of him and then she'll go back. Killer is that was her and her husbands home, the step-son moved in after his father died, and now the owner of the house can't even come back. That's kind of cold to me.

So if DPSS removes my mom, I really think it might be a plus for my sister's family to be "ORDERED" to clean it up, God knows they've been on a permanent vacation from cleaning 20 years or so. But I'm afraid they would deliberately not clean and I would hate my mom not be able to return to her OWN HOME and my sister and her family remain.

Information only the home is in my moms trust, and if something happens to her it automatically goes to myself and my sister.

So if anyone has info on this please let me know.

Also RLP, how are things going with your parents home. What did you decide to do.
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right . my sister in law had to shut the bathroom door and lock it to keep her mil out so she could clean the bathroom bleach it all down , it was horible . her mil threw a big fit and screamed at the door till my sis in law was done .
its amazing how thier mind works and not seein that it needs clean . bad enough that we have to do the dirty job and get growled at .
just gotta put ur foot down and say hey it needs clean or youre going to be in big trouble with social worker .
yes gotta take the bull by the horn !
i need to clean my own house , ahhh i have no enegry anymore . im just tired and feeling lazy , maybe ill have my daughters come clean haha .
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Hoarders are a different breed. Don't know if that fits your situation, but it did mine. Cards from 1940 and old yellowed wrapping paper. Trust me when I say that sometimes you need to do it and just not tell. Mom never misses anything that I get rid of. I know what is important to her and what is just junk. Got to keep her and my family safe. So, we really can't judge people when they take charge and do what is needed over objections from mom or other people. When dad dies, I cleaned out all his clothes and gave them to charity. My brother had a problem with that, but he never offered to help take care of either parent. At least mom could get her closet door closed for the first time in 30 years!!!! Got to take the bull by the horns sometimes. Been there, done that!!!!
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A few suggestions:

(1) Tell her that your father cannot come home to all that dust and clutter. Who knows? If she loves your dad as much as I think she does, she might help out with the cleaning and probably call your siblings to pitch in too.

(2) I'm sure there are precious memories stored all over that house, so I wouldn't get rid of "stuff" without her knowledge and consent unless it poses a health or fire hazard. Every now and again, together with your mom, slowly go through each room to see what items she can do without and donate to agencies helping the needy (e.g., Salvation Army). A well-advertised garage sale might be another option. Items will disappear from the front lawn so fast that she won't be able to change her mind. Also, helping her understand that her treasures will be put to good use by others less fortunate will pave the way to the ultimate goal: clean the house.

(3) If your emotions are taking the best of you while trying to reach a compromise with your mom, stop. There's a method to her so-called hoarding or madness that you haven't figured out yet, so try another time. Ask your siblings for support, gently reminding them that living farther away doesn't exempt them from giving a hand on family issues that directly or indirectly affect them as well. After all, you're not the only child.

(4) This kind of stress, whether external or internal, should never be an option for anyone unless there's light at the end of the tunnel. For the moment, treat it like a dog would: if you can't eat it or play with it, pee on it and walk away. No doubt you have better and much more important things to do. ... And don't forget to laugh.

Good luck my friend, and let us know how it goes.

-- ED
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And if you cannot clean your mother's house, would you like to come to Alberta, Canada and clean mine??? :-)
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I would talk to the social worker involved with your father and refuse to take him home until something is done about the mess in the house-now is the time to do it-it is an unsafe situation for both of them-I know parents do not want to be told what to do but in this case that has to be done or you might tell your Mom if she wants to stay there in her home she has to let the house be cleaned up-some day the EMT't might refuse to go into the house because of their safty.
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When she is sleeping, get ride of things. Try to get her out of the house, and you can have someone else clean a room at a time. I just get ride of things when she is sleeping. Since she lives in my house, I have plenty of opportunity to do this and I make the rules. Yes, if the conditions are unsafe, she can be reported by social services. If you have POA, they may make you responsible. Get cleaning over her objections. She might like the end results.
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Just do it if it's bad enough for you to need advice from this forum.. No permission is needed. You are trying to reason with someone who is unreasonable so that YOU can be OK with what you are doing.
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I suggest you take your Mother away from the house for the day. Then clean up the areas that need it the most. Don't throw away items she may ask about, but discard anything that is considered trash. In Florida, we report this type of cases to the Dept. of Children & Families. They will send someone out to the home to determine if there is an unsafe and unclean home and then make the family take action.
Larry
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Clean the house anyway.
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Hi RLP,

This sounds like hoarding. My mom did it and it can be a nightmare. It is a symptom of illness and there are others on this site that can answer more directly on that.
As far as cleaning up the house all you can do is tell your siblings that she and your dad both are sick and this has to happen. The longer you wait the worse it is. My mom had boxes and piles of stuff to the ceiling. The basement was stuffed full and most of the boxed items were junk. She had jars of plastic water bottle caps safe on the high shelves and precious family stuff on the floor where they got wet.

Try to move the stuff out of there when she isn't there. Tell her you're putting it in storage and it all is safe and sound, but it can't be in the house anymore.
My mom was a beast about it and I wasted a lot of time actually trying to listen to her. She made it a lot worse with her irrational hoarding and dementia behavior and I was trying to operate on her level instead of operating from a position that she was absolutely not able to make any more decisions on her own behalf and I had to step up. Sucks, but there it is.

There is a happy ending! mom loves what we did with her house. It's all fixed up, and she knows that her stuff is safe. I saved the good stuff, showed her those and she was satisfied.
Less stuff with set you free!
I had the luxury of no siblings so I didn't have that to deal with and you have my respect there. Maybe it's time for them to come and get their childhood stuff? Is any of it theirs or is it all just recent aquisitions?

If you can't convince your siblings to get it together, some other folks on the site will be able to advise you on getting an attorney simply to protect your parents from the consequences of their actions and their childrens' inactions. It really gets in the way of everybody's quality of life to have to wade through s*** to see your parents. Take video and show your siblings.

Good Luck, you can do it!

Bobbie
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