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
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.
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.
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.
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.
The staff has to make the bed and change the sheets, so they have to do something with the papers, I would think.
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....
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.