Mom moved to rest home after dad died, told us kids sell/trash what she left. She obsesses/cries about getting what is gone! What to do?

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Mom is blind and very crippled with osteoporosis, yet she wants her favorite weed hoe, she wants a little vase that meant so much to her, she wants a hair brush she left behind. She seems alert and bright, but she tells me that she cries all day sometimes because she wants something that is gone. I have explained that the items were not saved. There are other things she obsesses about also. I don't know how to help her regain her happiness! I am unhappy myself because I can't help her.

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It seems when you get older or have some kind of illness, "things" seem to be more important to you. These "things" of your mother's were not necessarily important to anyone but her. I can understand her feelings because she must know that her days are numbered and she would at least like to have some familiar things with her--not matter how insignificant to others. This may sound like a very dumb question, but any possibility of getting back the vase or hair brush??? My sons had blankets that they could not part with for several years--I let them make the decision to "let go", when they felt it was time. I feel there is a lesson learned here--your mother still had her mind and should have been asked for her opinion on her "things", not anyone else. Soooooo, what can be done? Maybe nothing! But I would suggest that you sit with mom, if you have not already done so, and try to bring some memories to her from home. I made my mother a "memory book" even though she was still able to remember, But I wanted to give her something special. So perhaps, you could make her some kind of memory item for her to hang on to--"hanging on" later in life maybe all that you have left. Sooooo, give her some new items--a letter than she might have written to you when you were younger, a special gift that she gave you and you want her to have it for now, a special picture of you as a child with a great story for her to remember. If you can't find those items that were given away, then make new items that are very precious from your heart and the families--Maybe, this will make her happy and I am sure that you will be happy also. Peace.
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Does your mother have dementia? If so, perhaps engage in "therapeutic fibbing," where you tell her the items are in storage. Sometimes that is enough to satisfy a loved one who misses their things. And while it's too late in your situation, when moving my mother out of her house this past year, I meticulously went through every item in her house (and she was a hoarder, so I had to to see what was hidden everywhere!) and made decisions on what was important to her in her life and what was expendable. I kept things that I knew meant something to her or would mean something to my sisters and me after she passes and have them boxed up in my basement. Some things of hers are actually out and in use at my house and my sister's so we can show it to Mom when she is over visiting (she lives in a memory-care residence). She is always relieved and happy to know that her things are in my basement or when I can show it to her. Again, if your mom has dementia and you think you can "fool" her, you can show her some items that look like hers to appease her. You don't have to lie -- when she asks for her hairbrush, you can show her one that looks like it and just say "You mean like this one?" That might be enough to calm her down.
And the other thing you might want to consider: We are only responsible for our own happiness. We cannot make others happy. We can only do the right and responsible thing for them and ourselves/our families. You will not ever make your mother happy, but you can let go of the idea that you are responsible for making her happy. These things tear us all apart, I know. Good luck and God bless.
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I have been going thru this for 3 years. When I went to pick up Mom I went thru her house and collected things that I knew she cherished. They are scattered all over my home where she can enjoy them. But she moans the fact we sold her house and all her "stuff" so we could get her money. It is all in the bank in her name(and mine). So, anyone facing this situation, save some of the things your loved one cherishes--no matter how silly it seems to you. I have boxes of greeting cards that Mom has gotten from her family over the years. When she is gone I can toss them. For now it gives her pleasure to see them and they don't take up a lot of room. What seems to be junk to you may be a treasure to your loved one and help smooth the way for them to change their way of living. I try to put myself in their place. What if I had to go live with one of my kids? How would I feel having to give up nearly everything I own to fit in. I know any one of them would take me in but it would be a big adjustment for both of us. I had the advantage of an attatched apartment on my house for Mom.
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I know how she must feel-so sad- helpless, losing everything- I would sit with your mom , and when she cries, just let her know u understand how she feels-it is sad- u know? maybe even say- oh yes, I remember that brush- do u remember when u used to brush my hair? something like that-kind of a diversion of a sad thought to a happier one- and if its something like the high heels? so what if she cant wear them, its how they made her feel...we may think it isnt worth making a fuss about, but u would be surprised how little things that mean nothing to us, might mean a great deal to them-
lots of hugs,hand holding, compassion kissing, let her feel the sad-and maybe follow up the crying with a different memory-that would make her smile-
with my mom, when things like that happen, when she is sad, or cries I say, do u remember when nanny (her mom and i were very close)and I used to play pisha paysa(sp)a card game- and she would laugh- and then we would move on to the next topic-
so sad-
I miss my moms things more than she does- I think- its hard- but this whole disease sucks!!!!!!!!!!!!I just hate it! so unfair!!!!!!!!!!
love to u and hugs and strength I send to u, love k
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Just wondering if the crying and obsessing might be a condition unto itself? If the lost stuff weren't an issue, would she carry on about something else? Perhaps some specialized medical attention is needed.
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When my daughter was young, she had a very difficult time letting go of her stuffed animals, each of which had an ascribed personality. She's a compassionate person, so we appealed to her compassion by helping her donate her stuffed toys to the local sherif's (who gave them to children in painful situations), or we set up an adoption center at our garage sales. If your mom is a compassionate person, you may be able to tickle the part of her hypothalamus that triggers a desire to help others. Let her know her treasures were given to someone who needed her help. "Help" is the operative word. For instance, we all want to help someone who can't find something in the grocery story or is lost in our neighborhood. I'll be interested to hear whether this helps her.
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Oh this is so sad. My mother inlaw had the same issues with her stuff but her temperament was one to get angry and not to cry. I think I can deal with anger better than tears. For us I used humor (and I confess, sarcasm) often. She can not walk anymore but she wanted to keep her 60 year old high heel collection. NONE of these shoes could have been worn even IF she did walk. I asked other people to speak with her re the benefit of getting rid of things . . . so I wasn't always having to play the part of the bad guy. As I reread your message I see that she "says she cries" do you think she is angry at you and this is her way of trying to make you feel bad. Maybe you could use honesty mixed with gentleness. Be frank and say "mom those things are gone now. They aren't coming back" but then ask her to tell you the meaning of them. Maybe write down what she says and when she brings it up again you can say something (for example) " oh I understand why you miss that weed hoe. You had a beautiful garden that everyone admired"
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My mother had closets crammed with clothes. When she went into a nursing home 9 months ago with limited space I picked her favourites and sent the rest to Goodwill. Now in a private room with 2 wardrobes, she wants another wardrobe because hers are packed. Winter coats take up space and I've offered many times to keep them for her until winter but that's just met with "It'll be winter before you get around to it". At least every week or two I get "You threw all my clothes away!". Her dementia is increasing alarmingly to the point we have a fight every couple of days which puts me in a deep depression. Unfortunately she's been mean, nasty and spiteful her whole life and I've vowed to avoid her as much as possible before the stress makes me ill.
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We've all heard the expression "Necessity is the mother of invention", right? Well, in my younger years, I came up with what I thought was a brilliant title for a future book, "Mother is the necessity of invention". I know we're not supposed to laugh at your own jokes but hahahahaha.

The bottom line was, that even as I grew into an adult, my mother's penetrating and personal questions put me in the unfortunate position of lying to her, both to preserve my sanity, while at the same time not wanting to hurt her or offend her sensibilities by getting "in her face" with an answer that even though honest, I knew what upset her. I mean, why do that? So, even though with everybody else in my life, honesty being the best policy was my policy. But my mom put me in the position of lying to her because she didn't have any sense of propriety to NOT ask certain questions of an adult.

It was that learning experience that allowed me to be more less comfortable and practicing the therapeutic lying I believe was necessary when caretaking for different people in my life with dementia. Each person must decide this for himself but I decided my main criterion was considering the comfort of the dementia patient.

In this particular case, when mom is reading about her things, I believe you should go into the broken record technique of briefly mentioning there wasn't space to bring all of your stuff, what is it she needed, you get it for her the next time you went to storage. If she doesn't have some dementia going on, she is blind and elderly and if she has the remembrance to ask you what about what you were going to get storage, you bring her something similar and say is this it mom? If she says no (and she very well may say no even if it had been hurt very item, so prepare yourself for that too), just tell her you're looking bring back the right thing the next time. So a combination of therapeutic lying and broken record should give her some peace of mind, which should be your main concern. There's nothing wrong, in the meantime, that you make a humorous little game out of it to keep yourself from going nuts.
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I am confused. Why would somebody be nasty and negative when someone needs help? I ASSUME it's because that person just is. Sad that they bring criticism to a place where WE just NEED Support! Don't we all have too much of this in our lives? Sigh.
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