Every time I try to throw something stupid away she digs it out of the trash and gets upset. I try to do away with things when she is sleeping but she always seems to find stuff even if it is going through the garbage ARGGGG. How can I get rid of clutter without her getting upset. She even has drugs and eyedrops, etc. from 2001 that I have thrown out telling her it is not safe and she still digs it out of the garbage.

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You take the old drugs and expired things and put them in a bag and in your car. Then you go throw them away at a gas station or someplace with a large garbage can like a do it yourself car wash.
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Reply to Southernwaver
LoopyLoo Apr 8, 2024
This. Make sure she doesn't see the garbage.
Stop discussing this with your mom, it’s only upsetting her and accomplishing nothing. If it’s important to you to throw stuff out, learn to be better at it. Do little amounts at a time when she’s not aware and take it far from the house. Look blankly at her if she asks about something she’s missing. There’s a balance to chucking trash and keeping peace
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Reply to Daughterof1930
sarius Apr 14, 2024
I was just going to write the same thing. Take the hoarded items and dump them in town or somewhere your mother doesn't go. And, as someone else mentioned, don't engage her on the subject. My husband has dementia and he hoards paper towels. He also won't let me take cardboard boxes to recycling. I break them down and hide them under a blanket in my car, but he always finds them and takes them out before I can get away with them! The brain does some strange things to our loved ones with this condition. Best of luck and all good wishes as you navigate this bizarre world.
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I understand and agree with people who are saying it’s their stuff and their house and we don’t have the right to throw it out.

However, I asked my mom on several occasions if she expected me to spend my golden years going through her hoard. She really didn’t care. Just like she didn’t care if I gave up my life to care for her. That was my God given purpose.

Now we have spent literally hundreds of hours (with help) cleaning out the house, filled 2 30 yard dumpsters, and if you walked in today you would think nothing had been done.

I know many people will say just walk away. But I’ve already found cash, investments and life insurance I didn’t know she had. Not to mention priceless family photos, genealogies from before the age of computers, and letters going back to my great grandparents and beyond.

It’s hard to just let a junk man throw that all out. It would have been nice for mom to give a single thought of what she would be putting us through.
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Reply to LilyLavalle
Anxietynacy Apr 15, 2024
Oh lilly, mom will ask me to bring something in the basement or attic, and I go in the attic and cringe thinking about the work ahead of us. If only she would start to let us get rid of stuff now, a little at a time, but thats just not going to happen.
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Bag up and keep in your trunk, to toss elsewhere.
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Reply to Dawn88

Curious Roger, what does your mom do when you stand up to her?

Like, if you said to her, I won't let you live this way, I will walk away and you will end up all alone, in a facility with no one to visit.

What would she do? Have you tried standing up to her in a none combative way, loving way. This is the way it is and this is going to be the way it's going to be because I love you.
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Reply to Anxietynacy
Rogerwyatt7890 Apr 14, 2024
All the time. She has ups and downs. The good days we sit and talk normally and she usually agrees to things. The next day she refuses to go anywhere or see facilities. It will be a going screaming and kicking kind of thing. I tell her I love her every night and tuck her in.
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Easy…take the trash out.

Put it in a bag, then either put it at the curb (or in bin if apartment). Or put bag in your car and throw it away at your house. I wouldn’t advise using those dumpsters at stores or restaurants because they don’t like people throwing away their own stuff as they pay for those dumpsters.

Remember, out of sight out of mind.
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Reply to Donttestme

Hello Roger,

Here is an excerpt from my book "Dementia Care Companion" on the subject of hoarding:

Hoarding is most commonly seen in Alzheimer’s disease, frontotemporal dementia, and Lewy body dementia. Around 23 percent of dementia patients develop hoarding behavior, typically in the early and middle stages of their illness.
Patients hoard all kinds of stuff. They collect, organize, fold and package them, put them away in nooks and crannies, and then spend many busy hours searching in various drawers, cabinets, and wardrobes to rediscover and unpack the items, only to repackage and store them again.
Hoarding typically occurs in tandem with obsessive-compulsive behavior, overeating, and pilfering. What all these behaviors have in common is an underlying sense of anxiety, impairment in impulse control, and memory loss. The patient is trying to get a grip on a life that is increasingly out of their control, with a mind that is no longer able to hold on.
Hoarding is also seen in some older individuals who do not have dementia. Hoarding in older individuals may be a precursor to dementia and a warning sign.
How to Handle Hoarding
Although hoarding can be challenging for the caregiver, it does not help to get angry or scold the patient. Patience, creativity, and humor are better ways of handling all kinds of behavioral problems, and hoarding is no exception.
·        Find out what drives the hoarding behavior and try to remove the cause. Is the patient worried that their stuff may get lost or stolen? When they spread, repackage, and store items, are they trying to reassure themselves that they can find the items again? Are they bored from inactivity and a lack of meaningful involvement with the daily household affairs?
·        What do they collect and where do they store them? Are the collected items perishable? Are they valuable? By knowing the types of items that the patient likes to collect and where they stash them, you can better decide your next steps.
·        Reduce the number of drawers and wardrobes that the patient uses. Label drawers to clearly show what’s inside. You can write “socks,” “underwear,” etc. on sticky notes, then attach the notes to drawers. Or, you can affix pictures to drawers, indicating their contents.
·        Make life easy for the patient. Use a large plastic basket for the collected items so the patient can easily find them in one place and pack them again when finished.
·        If a particular type of hoarding does not pose a hazard, let it be. But, if the hoarding creates risks, such as food that spoils or clutter that presents a fall hazard, find ways to remove the risk.
·        Avoid removing or discarding hoarded items as this may add to the patient’s anxiety. Find other ways to remove any risks. For example, if hoarded food has spoiled, replace it with fresh food.
·        The patient may agree to donate some of the items to charity. Take this opportunity to quickly remove those items from view. If the patient finds them again, they’ll likely hoard them again.
·        When going shopping, plan ahead to avoid situations where the patient can re-purchase items they have just discarded. If they come across the same items, they will likely buy them again.
·        Do not try to persuade the patient to give up hoarding. They cannot follow your reasoning. Even if you could convince them, they would forget it a few moments later.
·        Try to channel their energy to more productive activities like helping to set the dinner table, making salad, and folding laundry.
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Reply to Samad1

Disappear the hoarded stuff, like, completely taken away with you. I think folks feel huge loss as their lives decline, so it seems poignant that they want to 'feather their nest' such as it is. Consider it a type of 'recycling'...stuff in, stuff out. And maybe make a special place for their Favorite things, even if the items are of no value to you they are to the person who's saved them. It's kind of like parents of kids who have oodles of playthings: eventually it's 'one in, one out' (to charity, or whatever if still in good shape.) And definitely weed out way long expired meds and personal care items like makeup (risk of bacterial contamination), etc.
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Reply to Santalynn

OK. I am going to STIR this pot up!
I'll play Mother.

Don't throw my stuff away.
Don't even TOUCH my stuff.
Why do you think you have the right to?

In fact, why ARE you here?
Living in MY house?
Did I invite you? To visit or STAY?
Go home.

OK folks, whattya say?
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Reply to Beatty
waytomisery Apr 14, 2024
“ Time to spring clean “.

Then take her for ice cream while others take items to set up her room in memory care.
My mom went into memory care last October. I just now finished going through her master bedroom and bath. (It's April.) Wish me luck on the rest of the house.
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Reply to Bunnymomjulie
Anxietynacy Apr 15, 2024
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