I feel guilty. Any advice?

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My mom has been in and out of the hospital and nursing homes in the last year now. I recently sold the house she lived in and well I feel really bad. My mom was a hoarder, kept everything and well I had to throw a lot away as I didn't have room to store all of it. My brother has a lot of it in the basement of his houw. My mom wanted to keep everything but with a hoarder you can not. I am the sole caregiver for her. SHe is in a nursing home right now and seems to be ok at the present time, but seems to be sad. I worry on how I am going to pay bills, keep up with her needs, I am 1 1/2 hours away so I cant just run over there. Its been a strain on the whole family and I am ready to lose it. I can't get any help and yet sometimes I don't answer the phone when she calls just cause I can't deal with her asking where is everythiing. What to do any advice?

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Most people who hoard are never going to be okay with getting rid of things or understand why it's even necessary, so you have to do what's in their best interest. As long as she believes there are there waiting on her, she will be content thinking of that. When the infirmed cannot rationalize, it's our place to do what is best for them. I have practiced doing the right thing, then letting it go. Fretting or worrying is not productive and will wear you down. I think it takes practice to stop and let it go.

I am my cousin's POA and she had to go into an assisted living facility a few months ago due to significant dementia. I had to promise her that I would take care of her beloved cat while she was there and that the cat would be there when she returns. That was not possible, because the cat was not litter box trained and had ruined the floors, furniture, etc in her home. It had to returned to the no kill shelter she adopted it from. She still asks about the cat and I tell her she's doing fine. I consulted with MANY people, including experts on dementia and elder care and they all told me I was doing the right thing. I no longer feel guilty, because what I did makes her happy. I know that soon she won't even remember she had a cat.

Doesn't she have coverage for her medications through medicare? Does she have a supplemental policy? You might check with Silver Script. They cover what Medicare won't pay. If your mom qualifies, she may get help to pay the Silver Script monthly premium. You might check with the Council on Aging in the county where she lives to see what's available.

If your mom seems really depressed or anxious, I would consult with her doctor about antidepressants or some medication to help her mood. Have you thought of moving her closer to you?
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This is one of those situations where it's ok to tell a lie to keep someone calm and to make your life easier.

Telling mom that her stuff is at your brother's is ok. There's nothing wrong with telling her that. Telling her you trashed everything would probably make her crazy, yes? So why do that?

Try not to feel guilty about it. I think most of us would do the same thing.
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Well, many people think, "Oh, for heaven's sake, if she'd only clean up her freakin' house!!!" Or, worse, "Let ME get in there and throw that junk away...."

Most people realize that hoarders are mentally ill. I cleaned out a hoarder's home after she passed away. Not near as bad as some, but bad enough. And while she was living, absolutely NOTHING would have convinced her to throw away the seven broken console televisions she had stashed in her home...some of which she bought and they broke -- some of which her brother helped her carry in from her alley, thrown away by neighbors. Or the five exercycles. Or the dozens and dozens of plastic flower arrangements in various stages of rigor mortis.

However. You had to do what you did. And good for you. I'm assuming you're making down-the-road plans for her as her health needs increase...helping to get her liquid so she has the cash to spend down.

You seem to have a good understanding of your mom's problem, because you say you feel guilty. That's because you know what all that junk meant to her and her feelings of well being. Your brain knows you did the exact right thing, but your heart also knows what all that junk meant to mom.

As we have to step up to care for our aged loved ones, we're called upon to make lots of hard choices. You've just made one of the hardest. In your mom's best interests. I think that's what you simply must hold on to. You did it FOR your mom...not to her -- no matter what she thinks. It isn't easy.

As her health declines, as it ebbs and flows over the next number of years, with any luck, the chemistry in her body and mind will change, and these things will become less important to her. In the meantime, know that you did the exact right thing for the exact right reasons, and try to compartmentalize it and put it out of your mind.

When mom asks, tell her that your brother kept as many of her things as he could and that you did what you had to do, If she doesn't understand it? So be it.

Every time you feel guilty? Tell yourself, "Well, I guess I'm mom's daughter after all." ;) ;)
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