Follow
Share

Mom seems to be adjusting well in AL. She's eating well, participating a bit in activities. I'm so glad. One thing they mentioned was that weekly they would cleanup extra papers etc. to prevent a fire hazard. But a habit Mom had while the Alzheimers was in it's early stages is that she put everything on her bed. At home she had a double bed but in her new apt. she's in a twin..with everything piling up on her bed since she went in. I know she wants everything 'at her fingertips' so she can remember what she has. But it's getting out of hand, and bugging me no end. I am surprised the facility is allowing it. I thought of taking in a set of those pretty boxes and labeling them so her pile of Christmas cards could at least go off her bed. And also a small shelf from her house that would sit next to her bed to pile things on. My question, should I insist gently for a change as she has this tiny little space to sleep on, or just leave her alone with this? I need to hear how others handle things like this. Thanks so much

This question has been closed for answers. Ask a New Question.
Find Care & Housing
Chicago54 said something that stuck in my head. "Mom feels like that is all she has left" - I can vouch by saying my mother tells me that often, when I tell her the house is too cluttered with her decorations. She says, "it's all I have!" or "I don't have anything else..." or her favorite; "What else do I have?" (besides the joy of shopping for candleholders, small flower arrangements, and trinkets)....
It makes her happy; she has been a shopper since I can remember. Our house in CT always looked amazing, like a decorator's dream. Now? She still shops and to coin the phrase, "shop til ya drop" she probably will as long as her legs will carry her....but the house here in FL ain't too amazin' anymore! It's crowded and that is an understatement.
Recently at a tag (garage) sale, a lady gave mom 4 thick straw placemats (you know like the ones from the 70's) and mom loved the color. I walked in the next day they were on the floor scattered like rugs. I picked them all up. Next day they are back down.... and so it goes..... I will pick them up again today...So I say if it isn't a safety issue, let her have her stuff as long as she can walk safely. It provides a buffer for the real world, which I can only imagine is very scary when the people you married have died. It depends on the person's personality, but my mom always was dependent on her husband, and her happiness was decorating her home.
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

windytown..I'm curious too. I'll be bringing up this topic this week with them. And geo I did buy a small white board hoping it would stick to her fridge but it was to heavy for the magnets. I'm looking forward to my sister coming into town and accomplishing a couple little things, then I'll pull back and leave her be :)
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

Katydid, since you mentioned the padded bulletin board, let me pass on another tip I got, a little unrelated, but it might fit-in with what you need to do:

At Mom's memory clinic, they suggest I get a whiteboard that sits by where Mom is usually at and put notes on it. I wonder if you could use it and write something like "my bills are with Katydid, right now" or whatever it is she might look for that might not be obvious.

Also, if your Mom is like mine, if you bring anything like containers or a bulletin board, you could say you or someone else just had it in a closet and figured you'd let her use it. My mom doesn't like the idea that we bought something for the purpose -- that we "wasted" our money. So, I'll just throw this in just in case yours is similarly frugal.
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

Katydid, Just wondering how does the staff handle changing her bedding? I can't imagine them moving everything and then putting it back in it's 'place'. Color me curious. :)
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

geo...this scenario does sound much like ours. Since I've handled her bills for several years, she gladly turns over any mail that looks like a bill. But my sister did a campaign to 'send her mom Christmas cards in AL' and wow, she received! Still in a pile on her little bed with meds/candy/etc. I'm not sold on the closed boxes either no matter how cute, she obviously likes things 'in sight'. I'm going to look for some kind of clear organizer. Thinking maybe one of this padded bulletin boards too beside her bed that she can slip photos into. I am going to take a wastebasket down for beside her sink too. It might encourage tossing the empty light bulb packet that's been there a week. I like your style of slowly taking things and little by little moving but being gently firm. I think that will work for us. You've been a big help, thanks!
There's one thing of letting her manage her space but I don't want to see it just become out of hand cluttered either. I'm thinking the staff might be a bit stumped. She can be a pistol.
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

My mom gets stressed when I try to organize her. So, I do it in little bits. When she gets a bill, I take it from her and slowly. She gets VERY upset, but I hold it firmly and in front of her and tell her that I'm not really taking it from her just moving it so I can help her remember to pay it. I have a special pile for this. She is stressed about forgetting to pay a bill so this works with her. She frets and every bill is a little battle, but it is now our little play that we act out for each bill, to the same conclusion. And, she now leaves the bill in the bill pile I've made.

Yesterday at Joann Fabrics, I saw the cutest bill organizers that were $1 each and said I'd pay for them if she'd let me use them. Nope. It was a no-go. She didn't want me wasting my money like that. I let it go.

But I'm not giving up. Little by little, I'm getting things separated. The big thing for my Mom is that she has to see where it's going. I don't think I can put anything in a closed box. So, I'm thinking some open boxes or one of those office organizers will little shelves for papers might work.

I'm telling you our process because it might or might not work to inch toward something like what I'm doing with my Mom. I think you'll find your Mom has different stress points and different flexibility/inflexibility areas than my Mom, but am just giving you this example in case it gives you ideas.

If your Mom is like mine, you could spend any amount of money on those cute boxes and she'll just spurn them and never allow them back. I'm not saying that's going to happen, just saying you should keep the receipts.
Helpful Answer (4)
Report

She probably feels that it is all that she has left. I would ask the staff about it and see how they are going to deal with it. One thing I have done it to take a few papers and toss them. The stack doesn't look any different, but at least a few gets tossed.

The staff has to make the bed and change the sheets, so they have to do something with the papers, I would think.
Helpful Answer (2)
Report

Really I don't care about any part of her place other than her continually disappearing bed. The fact that Christmas cookies are still there on her counter I can deal with. "I dunk them, they're fine" she tells me. The rest of the place looks pretty good.
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

I like what bal8alou said, too.
Bring boxes that mom would like.... you know what her favorite colors and style are... get some she would like to look at - they can be decorative and pretty AND functional!
Take them to her, get a sharpie and mark what is inside them.
But for the most part, if the facility isn't getting involved I would let her be in her "comfort" zone.... For me, comfort is total organization (which never really happens but I try) but some people, like my own mom, love to be surrounded by their things like they are in a safe cocoon....
Helpful Answer (2)
Report

As ba8alou wrote, "Don't insist on her keeping things neat."
I have an 92-year-old friend with increasing dementia in an ALF, and the staff does the basic cleaning of her room.
My friend's family provided her with an assortment of variously sized shelves and pretty storage boxes of different kinds that she had asked for. She is constantly rearranging things on those shelves (mostly her many books and photographs), none too neatly, and the boxes are moved around, often not used for their intended purposes, if used at all.
Like the rest of her living space, the bathroom is clean, but not neat.
But -- for some reason she keeps her clothing drawers and her closet neat and well-ordered.
As ba8alou said, the facility will determine when the cluttered shelves and boxes get out of hand.
Helpful Answer (2)
Report

That helps, because that's what I want to do...lol :) My sister is coming into town in March for a week and I had the thought of letting it be her idea..she agreed. She's the fun one with flair and theatrics...in a good way. She hasn't seen Mom's place or Mom for almost a year. I thought she could be all distracting and entertaining while we accomplish this. I didn't know if it would be unhealthy to gently push. I could see Mom being a little agitated with this but going along. Also thought it might give her something different to do...although I understand routine is her friend.
Helpful Answer (2)
Report

I would bring her the boxes and the shelf. Make an event of sorting and labelling everything with her. Don't insist on her keeping things neat. Let the facility do that if they feel the need.
Helpful Answer (4)
Report

This question has been closed for answers. Ask a New Question.