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When we moved mom to the AL we made sure she had all her own bedroom furniture, and set it up quite nice. We put her chairs in the living room, and a lamp and table. Her couch wouldn't fit. I want her to buy a loveseat, and she admits she misses having a couch. She says she can't afford it, but she surely can. My brother has agreed too, and he is the conservator. She complains about only having chairs, but doesn't want any more furniture brought in because she feels it means she is staying there. She has other nice things we could take there too, like pictures for the wall, but she refuses them. There's room as well, it's not crowded. I have offered often to take her shopping to pick a loveseat out herself, but she won't. I know I am trying to make it nice and comfortable. But she is trying to say "I don't want to be here". Should I just back off?

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The single hardest thing for me in caring for my mother is that I project onto HER what I would want for myself, or what I want HER to have: ie: a clean apartment, living plants instead of dead ones, clean carpet, sanitary workspaces...this list is endless.

SHE prefers to live in a hoarded, grimy apartment. SHE doesn't care if the windows are opaque with dirt or that there's bird poop all over...she's content with all her junk crowded around her.

I have had to completely change MY viewpoint of what is good and right for her and allow her to live in grime, because she likes it that way. Backing off is really, really hard. But I am doing so and not saying a word.

I KNOW that one of the reasons she hoards so much stuff is that the more stuff she has, the less likely we are to even attempt to move her to a SNF, no matter how ill and infirm she becomes.
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You could make it a "gift" from her loving children (don't people always say it's the thought that counts?), she doesn't have to know that she paid it herself.
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Yes. Back off. Action speaks louder than words. If she really wanted a couch she would have asked you to take her shopping for one already. In this case, she just likes to complain about it because she wants to go back to her old place where her old couch is.

Why give her something she doesn't want. She said no to your many offers, didn't she?
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Yes. Back off. She has what she wants, including something to complain about. Perhaps a time will come when she accepts being where she is and she would like her pictures, and a new love seat. Until then, let her bring it up.
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Even though your mom admits to missing a couch, a love seat represents that she's stuck there permanently. Yes, she'd like one but it has a negative connotation to it, so she refuses it. She also doesn't want her pictures on the wall and nicknacks around because her "internment" there would be final.

What she's saying is that she wants to have HOPE that she can leave there before she dies. If all these things are surrounding her, it represents the end of her dream-to leave. I think her refusal of having her things is depression over having to be in a place that she rather not be in.

Back off sounds harsh but I wouldn't bring it up again so as not to "choke" her with your desires. Let her adjust to her surroundings (if ever) and you be available to talk about it if she brings it up.
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It is so difficult to know what to do. I have found with my mom we had to do everything when she wasn't in the room. We brought her furniture in, hung pictures and so on. She didn't know the difference because of her memory problem.
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I'd have given anything to persuade my mother to dump her scuzzy armchairs when we moved house. We did get rid of the matching sofa but that was because the frame turned out to be broken past repair. But the chairs? - nope. Stuck with 'em. Buttoned upholstery in old gold Dralon. Terrible eyesores. Absolute purgatory to sit in. A pain to keep clean. Ugh!

Then came the glorious day when my "fastidious" [do I mean neurotic?] BIL came to visit. For a moment I couldn't think why he was standing there like a tin of milk to talk to my mother instead of taking a seat, until I realised that he was afraid to sully his person on these chairs. A truly Christian woman would have fetched a towel to use discreetly as a temporary throw, but I'm afraid I just beamed internally and snuck out to the kitchen to laugh myself sick.

Let your mother make her own furniture choices.
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Yes that's it exactly. I suggested a recliner. She said she doesn't want to form an attachment. I'll drop it.
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Isn't it funny how we the children think we know what is best materialistically for mom & dad. Take pictures together and give them a hug instead. You'll cherish that once they are gone.
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I have to agree to the back off approach. She needs time to accept that she’s now living there. Usually that takes about 3 months. Once she does that and see's other resident's apartments she may one day surprise you. Put her pictures and knick knacks in storage. Then when she’s ready it will be her decision. The thing is we so want them to be happy and settled that we project our desires on to them. Let that be one less thing you feel the need to control. Let that battle go and give it to God or the universe.
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