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She is living with me while she waits to get into senior housing. I was able to get her to part with quite a few of her many collections of knick knacks by sending them to auction..but she got quite angry at me..telling me I have to have some nice things..becoming teary...in short..calling me heartless. She is unable to clean like she once did...when I cleaned out her home..it was knee deep in dust and was smelly. We saved far more than she's going to have room for...I thought if she could actually see the size of the apartment..she would realize...but that didn't seem to register....she also wanted to keep all of her very large pots and pans..etc...stained clothing...it's been a real battle..a real guilt trip..that my brother lets me travel alone...sigh...I tried to explain to her she has had the enjoyment of these things for many years...now pass it on..let others enjoy these beautiful things..that didn't help either..AND she continues to buy more dust collectors...for sure she's going to have to hire a weekly cleaning person...in the meantime we will have to haul all this stuff she insists ..unrealistically she has to have...to her new apartment..where she will see...it won't fit..my bro says..."YOU need to convince mom not to keep all that stuff! Really?!

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Barbara..you did suggest a geriatric psy to me....and I think it's a great idea! Forgot about it...I'm split in two...part of me wants to be realistic..the other part of me feels sorrow for all she has lost...so many conflicting emotions
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Dear glad...this is kinda funny....while mom was not there...I boxed up a ton of her stuff..,that I knew where not sentimental...that she wouldn't miss...and denoted them to Salvation Army..unfortunately...lol...I take her there for a senior outing and luncheon every Friday..,and she browses the thrift store..,unawares she has purchased several items that were HERS!! I guess she liked them once upon a time and she still does...a bit of humor keeps me sane! She's going to my brothers for a few weeks...I'm going to revisit some of the earlier boxed up items...weed out a bit more...I really don't think she will even know...I'm a fan of Tiny Houses! Less is enuf..my motto..
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Sheri; I don't know if I've suggested this to you before (I suggest it to almost everyone, because the results for my mom were so spectacular); getting her in to see a geriatric psychiatrist.

Mom had a good hospital based geriatrician and later, an MD at her IL place who specialized in elders; an neurologist/neuropsych team at a major rehab place who diagnosed her MCI; but it's really been the three geriatric psychiatrists she's seen (one during a hospitalization, one at IL and the psych APRNs at her current NH who've made all the difference. They've slowly found the right mix (two anti-depressants and a little bit of an anti anxiety agent--all on a regular, not AS NEEDED basis. Mom is calm, content but not "doped". She used to worry about everything and yes, tossed and turned all night.

So, even if you can't find a better PCP right now, see if you can find a psychiatrist who specializes in elders; there might be a wait, but very well worth it.
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Downsizing? I just did it myself and even had a home fire that started it all. And I am not that old! Still had some if my kids stuff and many items my mom had given to me. To make matters worse? In June last year my Mom and her huby were moved to a senior community, Mom is in memory care, he in assisted. So had her home to go through things as well. I refused to assist the sorting of Mom's, too much dysfunction to deal with and I had my own task to contend with. I got rid of plenty of items when my things came back to the house after repairs were complete. It also helped that after four years of providing 24/7 care for mom and hubby I found work in my field, but required a move 450 miles from my lifetime home and did not want to move all of the stuff. I must have had 50 boxes of books alone, most went to Goodwill, hopefully someone is enjoying them.

During that four years of care I tried a few times to start getting rid of stuff at Mom's. That was impossible! She wanted me to move the stuff to another pile for her to go through "later". I learned very early that to get anything done, Mom could not be at home. So, not much was actually thinned out. Those things were a big part of her life and they were important to her. There is no way that this becomes easier especially if she is developing dementia. All I can suggest is to go through things when she is not around. Would she agree to put those special things in boxes to use as birthday, anniversay, wedding or Christmas gifts to others?
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My heart breaks for you. This is the most thankless of all thankless tasks, and leads to more 'tears before bedtime' than any other I know of. Possibly apart from personal hygiene.

I'm sure you're right that your mother has lost track of her possessions. I wouldn't say it worked completely, as in avoided all arguments and upset, but when we moved my late mother to our current house I concentrated on putting key possessions in her rooms and boxed/bagged the rest for "storage." Actually I wasn't fibbing to her - I really did store the items, and I'm still clearing them out now, nearly a year after her death, from the various places where they have sat unmolested since we paid an enormous amount of money to bring them with us. Fume, seethe!

So, you're doing the right thing: concentrate on good places for favourite pieces, box up the rest and keep quiet about it. Their ultimate destination will be a matter for your conscience and the practicalities: but comfort yourself that you can only do your best.

It's really heavy going. Hugs to you, and keep posting.
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Jean..I think mom forgets what she actually has. I told her to choose to keep those things that have the most meaning to her..and believe me..she still had has a lot of nice things. Some things she has given to myself and other family members. So she can still enjoy these things on display. Her future apartment is very small...but very modern and senior friendly. She has agreed to a weekly housecleaner..a plus. I guess she won't understand the lack of space until we actually get her there...which will actually result in me being the bad person..in her eyes again...and the one doing all the unpacking and organizing..leaving with frayed nerves and little energy to run my own house..when I ask my bro to help her says...it's not hard..let her do it..or some other evasive answer..so forget him..I'm it..
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Barbra...I'm thinking more so lately..it is a cognitive problem. I notice it also in other areas. She jumps out of bed in the morning sometimes..wanting to know where this or that paperwork is...I find out later that she has been awake during the night worrying about this....resulting in her being exhausted during the day. I begin to wonder if her being in a senior apartment is a good idea. At any rate..I think a good physical exam is in order. It means switching her physician ..her current doctor is clueless ...so I will be searching for a new doc that accepts her insurance. And her finances are such that she could afford a storage unit...but she doesn't want the expense..nor do I want to store things that she isn't going to even have room for. For now my son is allowing her to store things in his spare room. In he meantime..I am saddened that I have to be the one who takes the role of telling her the hard stuff...I'm pretty much numb.
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I wonder if she would accept renting a storage unit for the excess for two or three months? If she finds she really misses something and she can find room for it, you'll bring it to her. Maybe she can make room by parting without something else already there that she doesn't "need" as much. The things she hasn't missed in three months you can find new homes for. Probably not, huh? But it is a thought to perhaps try out on her.

Down-sizing is hard! And if you suffer from depression to start with, the thought of not even having your "pretty things" is a downer. Poor Mom. But you are not being mean -- just facing the practical necessities.

I once decided it was time to get rid of some of the "baby souvenirs" I had kept. I really didn't still need that smelly cigar Daddy handed out to his friends! But how could I save them all these years and ruthlessly throw them out? What helped me was taking good pictures of each item and making a little scrapbook. I wonder if that might be a small comfort to your mother, too.

And, btw, hiring a weekly cleaning person might be a very appropriate idea whether she owns a lot of dust collectors or not. Those apartments are really small and maybe she can manage very well on her own. But at a certain point, we deserve to retire!
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Is your mom "only" suffering from depression, and is that being treated? Or does she have some cognitive problems as well?

If the latter, there's no "convincing". The "planning" part of the brain is what is missing in Mild Cognitive Impairment. Even more so in dementia.

What is mom's financial situation? Has she got the money for a storage unit? Can she understand a schematic of her new apartment and how much room it does (and doesn't) have?
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