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My dad is 82, with moderate dementia. He has been living in AL for 5 months. His home is 400 miles away from where he now lives (I moved him close to me). There is no immediate financial need to sell his home, however the upkeep and care is time consuming and difficult.

I would like to have an estate sale, then sale his home. But I'm not sure if I should tell him. He knows he needs to sell his house. He talks about selling it. But he is overwhelmed when he thinks about all his "stuff" and the work involved with deciding what to keep and how to clear it out. My dad has a lot of "stuff" from his grandparents. Much of that is battered and probably trash, but they all hold memories for him.

I am wondering if it would be less stressful for him (and me) if I move forward on this without telling him. Or would it hurt him more if/when he were to learn about it later?

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I agree with Christina. He needs to be told at least once, just as you'd tell someone about a death. Then, reassure him that you are handling it. Ask him about his favorite memories and try to save some things even if you have to store them for awhile, as you never know when he'll want something later on. You may want to take detailed pictures of many items, and do save photographs and other special memorabilia. Good luck to you. This won't be easy but it makes sense to move on with the project. Do so gently and with compassion and you should do okay.
Take care,
Carol
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I wouldn't if I were you. He may have dementia, but he still has feelings. It would be easier on you, but it would probably hurt his feelings and he may want to give certain things to certain people, etc. My mother-in-law did this - gave things away that we had no idea who they previously belonged to and the recipients as well as my mother-in-law loved it. And my cousin did what you're thinking about doing to her mother (my aunt) and it made her feel like everything she worked for and prized in her home was worthless. So it didn't go over very well. Just my opinion.
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windytown, so glad to hear you say this. I was about to have a serious pause for thought. I have decided to handle my father's home like this. I am going to go there and bring a u-haul. I will put everything he has that isn't trash like old bills and newspapers in the trailer for storage. I am bringing it all back to my town and putting it in storage. I will keep all of his mementos and either bring the boxes to the NH and let him see them and decide or if he says he doesn't care ( I suspect he will say that because his dementia has progressed), I will determine if I think someone in our family might like it or if not, it might be valuable to sell or donate. I will be giving away some old furniture that isn't worth much. I will be keeping pieces that he has had a legacy items. I know which ones they are (they aren't the particle board desk from Walmart :). We will keep those in our family. I will go through his photos and distribute them the way I think he would want. As far as my father, he cannot make hardly any decisions even about basic choices so something like a whole house or even when to do it or what is out of the question. I feel that a person needs to gauge their own elder to make the decision. Each person is at a different stage and in my father's case, he gets upset and feels like a failure if he can't recall things. I don't want to stress him out yet I want to retain the things that I know he would think were important. The him that was there before this blasted disease took his brain over. It is sad but it needs to be done and if I bring them to him a little at a time he can sit in a chair and look through them. I can help him to sort it and see his reactions. If it means something or if he can't even tell. The more I go through this the more I see how ultimately sad the whole situation is. He has taken a turn for worse in the dementia and having to be restrained since he keeps trying to get up and "go find his daddy" who has been dead since 1961. I am like many of you on a rollercoaster and it just seems as if this disease it like a thief. Stealing a person's memory away. hard week over here. thx for this forum, I know you all know how I feel.
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A couple of things come to mind: he needs to be reassured you will handle this for him, Not to worry. I would let him be in on it by giving weekly or bi monthly updates and getting his blessing to proceed.
If possible save 2 or 3 very special things from his Grandparents. If this is not the case, order a trash bin from waste management and start tossing. You may find something of at least sentimental value and of value to your family such as photos, antique guns, etc. ( My Mother had shoes in original boxes from the 30s. I figured what she had not used in 60 years she was not going to miss, especially since she had dementia and couldn't see from macular degeneration. But you never know.)
You need to gauge his awareness of the house situation by asking test questions. Pick something he may have always been interested in-- like sports, investments, cars, whatever-- and ask him a pertinent question. If he seems overwhelmed, confused, or over it, that would seem a sign you could move forward.
All the best to you:) xo
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Es0torok, You don't have to explain yourself to the resident 'guilt specialist'. That is all I will say.....
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I agree with Christina, if your dad can handle updates without having a meltdown then by all means let him know basically what you are planning. Maybe you can select a few items and show them to him so he knows he can trust you not to dump everything that he holds dear, if that's how he actually feels. He may not express concern that you are getting rid of his belongings now but as dementia progresses, he may lash out. At least with your updates, that part of his mind can be at ease and not stress him somewhere down the line. Just a suggestion.
I've found that this age group likes to hold onto their personal stuff maybe more so than our generation. It's probably because so many of them didn't have a lot, they worked hard for the money to purchase it and were taught never to waste. It may not be an issue with your dad. My dad didn't get upset to "clean house" but wow my mother sure did. I think she kept every twist tie she ever had!
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Thank you. That helps quite a bit. I'll start by asking him about specific items, like a table he once suggested giving to my nephew. I'll also take some pictures of some items and ask him about them individually... like a tea set, trunk or cup collection.

It may sound weird.. but I feel like a kid who is afraid of "getting into trouble". I know he will be mad at me and that makes me sad.
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I think you have the right idea Es0torok. Let your Dad know what you're thinking about doing and discuss it with him. Not only is the house not doing him any good 400 miles away, it might be a target for robbers, fire, etc. You might take pictures of all the rooms from every angle, so that you get photos of everything there is. Then sit down with him and go though the pictures; he can look at what he has and decide whether there are items he wants to give away to family or friends, or if there are some items he'd like to keep with him where he now lives. The rest could be sold. Is the house still in his name, or are you on the deed? Do you have power of attorney to sell the house? Otherwise he'll have to know that you plan to sell the house as he'll have to sign the papers when its sold.
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I agree with everyone so far....don't leave your dad in the dark about this. No need to overburden him but he does need to have some part in it, even if it is just being informed. This is closing a BIG chapter in his life. The biggest chapter, no doubt. Even with dementia, people need to find closure when closing chapters.
Also, it might set his mind at ease, somewhat, since you say he's had it on his own mind but is daunted by the enormity of the task. If he knows you are doing it, and is involved to the degree best for his level of functioning (and only you would know best as far as that goes), then it will be more like you are doing it TOGETHER. As family.
He will know you value his life and efforts and his identity, even. Something that I'm sure is a major issue for those transitioning from independent living to assisted living of any level.

Good luck. You've got a big task and I don't envy you. Makes me glad I'm staying in the house I grew up in and which mom and I live in together now for the last 10 years. She kept a lot of stuff, too, and I always shuddered to think of the headache if she ever moved...knowing she'd never want to move to another home, I doubted I'd have to face that or at least not alone. Now I can do it at my leisure. And I'm happy I don't have to think about doing it yet.
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Terrim, my dad WANTS to sell his home. We have talked about this many times over the last 7 years (since my mom died). He has dementia and can not oversee the sale himself. All money will go into his account.

My question is if it would be easier for HIM if I did not tell him about the sale, or how I can include him without causing HIM additional stress.

This is not about greed. It is only about caring for my dad and taking care of HIS business for HIM. If we do not sale his home, my dad will lose more than $15,000 a year in maintenance, taxes and insurance. It is not in his best interest to keep the house.
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