Many of you know my situation--PT caregiver for a VERY self involved mother. She has been slowly but noticeably declining in the last 6 months, which is sad, but it made her a lot nicer to me, so I won't complain.
I have talked before about her "hoarding" and how she is so attached to her "things" that she will NOT discuss moving anything or (now) even letting things be touched. Lovely, expensive items are cheek and jowl next to something from the $1 store--and each thing is equally treasured!
I am a cleaner, and a purger. I am currently cleaning out my small office and have managed to cull 3 huge garbage bags of trash, plus the entire back of my SUV is packed with stuff for Goodwill.
Took a break and went to Mother's to get ONE photo of her mother in her wedding dress to have copied for a gg-granddaughter who is named for this lady. Mother had me going through fithy, dust and bird poop covered boxes to find this particular picture. On the way to finding it, I also found about 10 large scrapbooks that are so dusty and filthy--she hasn't looked at them in 20 years. I found drawers full of "exercise bands" that she can't possibly get to--and that are cracked and ruined. Every drawer (and I had go through ALL of them) is packed to the point they barely close. She owns over 100 pairs of socks. Well over 200 pairs of earrings. She had squirreled away almost a year's worth of old catalogs--again, she cannot get to these things. She has space to move around with her walker--and that's about it.
I know she sensed my frustration, b/c these photos are OLD (some well over 100 years) and they were finally found in a high cupboard, in a ratty old paper bag. I wanted to cry.
I found the photo I wanted and a lot more I didn't know existed--ones of my dad's parents, ones of MY GGGgrands..and she has them stored in a hot, dry closet.
I sat her down and said "Mother, I'm going to be frank. You are basically living in about 20 pounds of dust, dust mites and bird poop. PLEASE let me come and clean. PLEASE let me move a couch out of your "puzzle room" which cannot even be used because of the size of the puzzle table. PLEASE let me give you more space!" She rambled on a bit about her sister (?) and how I had to hurry and copy a photo for her brother who is 91. Then I approached her again. "MOM! I will get clear plastic bins. I will sort and wrap and SAVE everything. I won't throw away ANYTHING you won't let me toss. You can sit and watch me." She said "I want to love in a cave". (?) I said, "OK, let's find you a cave". She meant "just stick me in a NH". I told her she would only be able to take about 1% of her things to a NH. I am just trying so hard to get the place so it can be DUSTED and VACCUUMED....she has respiratory problems and they ALL stem from the dust.
I want to just jump in and do this, but having done it before and being "banished" for 6 months was the outcome. She admitted she cannot see anything above about 4' off the floor as she is so bent over with osteoporosis--so I said "Let me make living easier for you!! PLease!"
Did I handle this well or should I just leave it be? My niece is being paid to clean and water the plants. Well the plants are all dead and the dust is 1" deep in many places. I've talked to my niece, but she is totally checked out.
I'm angry, tired and frustrated. I am the only sib who actually goes to see mother and altho she lives with my brother, he sort of pops in once every other day to make sure she's alive.
I guess I can just ride this out until she dies, but it's getting so much worse as she cannot pick up anything and doesn't clean at all. The smell is pretty bad.
I know there's others out there like me--how do you handle this? I go to visit and I have to stand up the whole time b/c all the chairs are covered in junk. Arrrggghhhh!