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My mother moved into my home 5 years ago, but recently I had to place her in a nursing home. My brothers and sisters, who were not very supportive of me, believed that she should have been in a nursing home years ago. I now have a room full of her furniture and boxes and boxes of knick-knacks, photo albums and holiday decor stored in the basement. Walking past her room every day saddens me tremendously and I would like to heal from the past traumas. I had suggested to my brothers and sisters that I would like to invite them all down to take whatever they wanted from my mother's possessions. Some liked the idea. Others seemed apalled at the notion. While I understand some are uncomfortable with the idea, should I really wait until she dies to give away her possessions to family members? By the way, there is nothing of monetary value involved. It is all used furnishings and items of sentimental value. How have others handled this?

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I commend you for taking care of your mother as long as you could. You made her life better all those years!!!!

I care for my grandmother in my home. I have for 3 years now. She has told me that everything she brought into our home is now mine. It is mine to do with as I want. I have siblings who don't call, don't come, and don't write. I don't know if I will see fit to give them anything since they didn't see fit to have any contact with her. Anyway...

I agree with many others. You should ask your mother first about what she would like. She may have certain people she wants to have certain things. Otherwise, you should at least let her know that you are going to clear her things out of your house since she will not be able to come back to live with you. As others have said: take what you want, give other family members a certain amount of time to come get what they want, and then get rid of the rest.

Hugs!
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When my father-in-law died, my mil wanted her boys to take whatever they wanted in his garage (tools, fishing equip etc) We had a big gathering, and her three boys went thru their dads 'manly' garage stuff, and figured it out for themselves what to take, and what to give their sons. Then after moving mil into an asst living place and setting her up with whatever we cold fit in her apt, we emptied her house of everything and put that stuff in the garage. Again, she said she wanted the boys and their wives to have first pick, then grandkids. So again, we all got together, with her there, and separated everything that the family wanted. Last week my husband took much more stuff to the Salvation Army (NOT Goodwill) so now we're down to just the small stuff that I will have to go thru and either throw away or try to shove off onto someone still.
Side note: We always choose to give stuff to the Salvation Army because THEY are the ones that first respond to a disaster. I have NEVER heard of Goodwill ever donating anything to someone in need after a fire or some sort of emergency. With them, you have to pay. It's a 'cash cow' for sure.
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MJ:

Alzheimer's or not, I'd still run it by her. Memorabilia like photos and "sentimental items" should be shared by all children. Do a garage sale for larger items (furniture, etc.) and apply the proceeds towards her medical expenses. Call the Salvation Army to come and pick up whatever can't be sold and/or your relatives don't want. You might feel a bit guilty afterwards, but it's for a good cause.

-- ED
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I can see your point to the extent that any of that furniture was purchased by you.

However, an atty told me to not remove anything from my mother and step-dad's house until after she dies. Do you have your mother's will? What does it say and are you the exectress? My mother is also in a nursing home and I know what things belong to her in the house from the list she made many years ago. However, not being in the situation that you are in, I really can't move anything. I don't think you will get much help from family members who were against you putting you mom in the nursing home. Maybe, you just need to shut the door to that room and clean it out after she dies.
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No. Do not "give away" her personal belongings. Keep them until she dies, ( it will be soon enough), then distribute them according to her will, or, if there is no will, as desired by the family members.
Been there/done that.
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That's a tough subject.

My FIL has a lot of stuff at his house. Once he is either moved to a NH or has died, we will have to go through all of his remaining belongings. I fear that this will cause strife.

He has already been offering items to family members, but we are hesitant to accept them, since he may have also offered them to others in the past, who may insist on claiming them. EX: My FIL offered me some earrings that belonged to my departed MIL, but I decided to wait. Later, I mentioned this to my DH's sister, who then insisted that her father had promised them to her, years ago.

My FIL has dementia and and only his house and financial holdings are mentioned/divided in his will. Heirlooms and "antiques" are not listed specifically. While my FIL has no problems with discussions about this (or death/dying) - my DH and his siblings, as well as one of the spouses do not feel comfortable talking about this with him.

I can imagine that there will be fights over certain items.

Hopefully some of you won't have this much trouble.....

I agree with most of the comments here. If your family does not claim items within a timely manner and you have gone through them yourself to choose a few things, call a local charity that accepts donations and have them pick up the leftovers.
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Absolutely it is time to give whatever you can to family first, then others who might be interested in it. Since she has no recollection of anything, why wait? I've recently gone thru the same thing myself, and felt great relief when most of it was gone. I think when you're ready to part with it all, you will.
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This is just a helpful tip----if the person you are caring for-either at home or in a facility---I have been strongly advised, if they have a dementia or Alzheimer's..NOT to hang any mirrors in the room, as they possibly can become scared..should they try to use it.

Virtual Candles of honor or memory-can be found by going to alzheimer's Association. Org....
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Jackie-Hi!

If your mom has been placed in a facility--Just what is her mental state of mind? If she is lucid?. Do you think that some of the posessions left behind would possibly be of comfort to her? I had to go thru this ordeal with my own Mom as well-and was advised what to bring to her, and what to leave behind.
The fact that there are other siblings/family members, or even good friends-perhaps can be helpful to unload things is A+.. You may also want to ask the facility as well, as they may be in need of something...I gave the NH my Mom was at - quite a few of her belongings.

It is understandable that you want them out of your home, as it can become difficult for you just to see them. If some of the family member do not understand--they should try walking in your shoes...

You will know-if it is too soon or not, by your Mom's health condition, and if in doubt, just hold on to it a while longer.

Good Luck!

Hap
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I've same Dilemma dad just gone into home. Think i'll put everything that he doesn't need for now in the loft and see what the future brings.
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My Mom is in a Nursing Home now too. She was in assisted living with her own apartment. She has some Dimensia and does not remember why she is living where she is. I donated most of her furniture to Good Will but kept a few special things of hers to decorate her NS room with. I believe that this helps her think that she is at home with reminders of her past.
Pictures are a wonderful tool to keep her memories of her family in tact. My brother was in agreement with me.
I pray that you do the right thing for your Mom.
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Sorry about your mom's mental state, I was hoping otherwise, sure would've made things easier. As far as the photos are concerned, can't you take the ones that you think there will be a fight over and have them reproduced? I would think that any Kinkos can do that for you. The things that she gave you personally, I believe you can do with them what you want. When my grandma died my grandpa refused to have anything moved around at all. My mother finally convinced him that granny's clothes needed to be cleaned out, but even that he didn't want to do. Before she died I would drop in and visit on a regular basis, but afterwards not so much. It was eerie going over there and seeing everything that reminded me of her, and her not being there. We started having him come to our house more often, but I did tell him it was too hard coming to his place. He understood. Even though your mom is still alive physically, I think you're in mourning every time you pass her room. Being reminded again of what you've lost. Grandpa wanted that reminder, but the rest of us not so much. I guess you need to give yourself time to grieve, and then do what you think you have to. None of your siblings should make that decision for you the caretaker.
And even though you say now there's nothing you want of hers, I would still take the time and go through her things. Once the physical memories are gone, they're gone.
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I want to thank everyone for taking the time to share their comments. I just wanted to add that my mother is not capable of making any decisions, nor has she ever suggested giving away any specific items to certain people. I have decorated her room at the nursing home with several of her cherished pieces, but she does not recognize them as hers. I don't feel I would be just getting rid of or discarding her things, but hopefully giving them to relatives who would want them. I already sense a fight brewing over the old photos she had saved. I am burned out from giving her care, especially over the last year. There is really nothing I want, other than a few things that she had given me as gifts when I was younger. Seeing her in the nursing home is very difficult for me and then coming home and seeing her room without her there makes me cry.
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I also think you should ask your mother what she wants you to do with her stuff. If she's mentally able, then she can tell you who should get what too. If she can't help you out with that, then I think I'd wait till she dies. I would figure that her stuff's 'not eating hay' so shut the door and leave it alone till she's gone. I get the reason why you want it gone though....
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I would be real careful on getting rid of your mom's things if she is still aware of what is going on. After we moved my mom to a nursing home, the apartment my mom and I had together was totally dismantled, half of the stuff is still out in my sister's garage. I tried to label all the good stuff that had sentimental meaning, photographs, keepsakes, china, good glassware and her clothing so that it would land inside the house when we moved the stuff over from the apartment, but only half of the stuff got moved inside. Fortunately most of my own personal belongings are inside in my room now, I have a large room, filled with boxes of things that we need to keep. I am getting no cooperation from the rest of my family getting anything else moved inside or help with going through boxes to weed out stuff in the garage, and I cannot do any lifting, bending or stooping because of back problems. I am not going to hurt my own self over this, after taking care of my mom alone for five years has me worn out.
After we moved mom to the nursing home, she tried to sue us for the rest of her belongings, tried to check herself out of the nursing home, sent the police over to find out where her stuff was. It was a really bad scene when they had to tell her her stuff was out in the dirty garage. I just had a tiff with my sister this evening about leaving the garage door wide open all night, when all mom's stuff in there and some of mine, maybe that is my sister's solution to getting rid of the stuff, let somebody take it and leave the door open. And just the other day I found a box out there in the garage full of photographs from our childhood that had gotten wet and mildewed and not salvagable. My nephew has it all sewed up now anyway, all the boxes are stacked the wrong way towards the wall so I can't tell what's in the boxes anyway. It is too soon to discard a lot of stuff, unless it is obviously junk. I don't have any other family members to give stuff to except my sister, and my nephew took the stuff he wanted without even asking and appriated the electric pianos and sofa, took it without even asking -- eeek!, and I am sitting up here in my room without cables for my computer printer and speakers that got lost in the move, maybe should investigate and see if he has them in his room. And yes, when we moved from the apartment I threw out a lot of junk, so it is dejunked, most of it are things we would want to save that I brought inside, hopefully. I think I was throwing about 10 big trashbags of stuff into the trash every day trying to get the apartment and garage cleaned out. What I think needs to be done is look at the list of things she made legally that were supposed to go to my sister and supposed to go to me and save only what is listed so we will not have mom trying to sue us again. The only problem is I do not know where to find the things in the garage with the boxes all turned around the wrong way, I am really in a bind. And meanwhile I am tripping over all the stuff in my room.
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Jackie: First let me say that you are kind beyond belief. You did the right thing for your Mother when others wanted her "out of sight" long ago. Here's to you for being a sensitive and humane daughter.
As for the "stuff" I am the practical sort. If your mother is aware of her surroundings, you should ask her if there are a few things she would like to keep. If not, you should choose a few special items for yourself, invite others to do the same, then call a charitable organization, make a list of donated items, and keep the receipt for tax purposes.
When my Mom sold her home, I organized a yard sale and got rid of years of accumulation (and she isn't even a "pack rat.") She then used the proceeds from the sale to buy a few new pieces of furniture for her new apartment. It gave her a fresh start.
If hanging on to items makes you sad, it is time to let go of them. Your memories are your treasures. Blessings to you.
Lilli
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If your siblings don't want you giving it to family members let them staore it and pay a storage fee. Give them a set amount of time to get it all done, no if's and's or but's. You do have a right to have your home back the way you want it. You cared for her in your home. They did not, so it;s the least they could do, seeing how "appalled" they feel. Blessings.
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It's not too soon to do what would make you comfortable. It is difficult- no matter at what stage -to deal with aging parents. If there is no chance on your mother returning, yes- heed the advice already posted. And like you say- they are only material objects; remember and hold onto the memories of and those you share with her.
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It is your house I would just make a plan for maybe in 2 months -3 months they can come and get what they want and when the 3 months are over tell them you are going to give things away to the Salvation Army-they pick up stuff at your house- or to friends you have the right to have the use of that room and the space in the basement-you took care of her for 5 years.
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jackie,
I dont know what your moms mental state is, but regardless, ask her first!

My mom has been making a list of what goes to who. Pretty much, my brother doesnt want anything and anything I dont want will then go to my aunt. Its different for everyone. Does your mom have a will? Theres that factor.
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