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Thread: February Purge

  1. #21
    Senior Member rosarugosa's Avatar
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    I'm helping Mom declutter and organize her clothing (she has lots, I guess it's a thing with the women in my family). We dropped off two large bags at Savers, and I'm sure there will be more to come! For some reason she has much of her clothing on free-standing racks in the hall and her closets have plenty of space, so our objective is to get all the clothing into closets or drawers.

  2. #22
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    Rosa, you said "for some reason" - how easy is it for her to access the closet? My mother was hanging her clothes in the hall too. Turned out, she was getting confused and frustrated with the sliding doors on her closet, i.e. what she wanted was "always" on the other side. We took the doors off, and hung a beautiful curtain with easy-to-use tie-backs. Issue resolved.

  3. #23
    Senior Member rosarugosa's Avatar
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    Mschrisgo2: That is a good point. I do try to understand why she does the things that she does that don't seem (to me) to serve her well. She doesn't have any mobility issues and the closets all have good accessibility. There is a nice walk-in closet in my former bedroom that used to hold all the clothes for me, my sister and my dad (once upon a time), and then there is a smaller closet in her bedroom, and one small closet in my sister's former bedroom. So there should be more than adequate storage for one person. The closet in "my room" was 75% empty, but she had lots of clothes hanging on the canopy rail of the bed. She keeps a lot of stuff on her kitchen counters too, and her cabinets are not full. Since she is having memory issues, my best guess is that out of sight = out of mind, so she wants everything right out where she can see it. That might work if she had a lot less stuff, but she has the overabundance that so many of us struggle with. However, she is very receptive to my help, and is happy to donate things that don't fit anymore. I know from my own efforts at home that it's a lot easier to find what you want in a closet if you eliminate a whole bunch of stuff you don't really want. So I guess we'll proceed along and see where it gets us. Despite her memory issues, Mom is still smart and articulate and we have good communication, so we do try to talk through some of these subjects. I'll try to explore more directly why she wanted the clothing rack in the middle of the hallway in the first place. It must have seemed like a good idea to her for some reason!

  4. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by rosarugosa View Post
    Mschrisgo2: That is a good point. I do try to understand why she does the things that she does that don't seem (to me) to serve her well. She doesn't have any mobility issues and the closets all have good accessibility. There is a nice walk-in closet in my former bedroom that used to hold all the clothes for me, my sister and my dad (once upon a time), and then there is a smaller closet in her bedroom, and one small closet in my sister's former bedroom. So there should be more than adequate storage for one person. The closet in "my room" was 75% empty, but she had lots of clothes hanging on the canopy rail of the bed. She keeps a lot of stuff on her kitchen counters too, and her cabinets are not full. Since she is having memory issues, my best guess is that out of sight = out of mind, so she wants everything right out where she can see it. That might work if she had a lot less stuff, but she has the overabundance that so many of us struggle with. However, she is very receptive to my help, and is happy to donate things that don't fit anymore. I know from my own efforts at home that it's a lot easier to find what you want in a closet if you eliminate a whole bunch of stuff you don't really want. So I guess we'll proceed along and see where it gets us. Despite her memory issues, Mom is still smart and articulate and we have good communication, so we do try to talk through some of these subjects. I'll try to explore more directly why she wanted the clothing rack in the middle of the hallway in the first place. It must have seemed like a good idea to her for some reason!
    Rosa, if your mom is getting dementia, then her leaving clothes out makes sense. It is much easier for folks with dementia to find things that are out, and difficult to find things that are put away. I saw my mom do that--all her clothes were out in piles on the bed in a spare bedroom, and she dressed from the clothes on the bed for several years. Now that she is in assisted living, it is hard for her to figure out the closet thing and what she has.

    (I am not saying she should leave all her clothes out, just saying it is common behavior with this kind of cognitive issue.)

    So I think you are on the right track getting the wardrobe pruned down to a very workable number of things, all of which work without much difficulty, and all of which make her happy to wear. With my mom, I tried to buy her new clothes (since she could not seem to discriminate between things that needed to go because of holes and stains, etc.) that satisfied needs of comfort, ease of taking on and off, and also some sensory appeal--like velour, which is warm and soft and comforting as a fabric. So maybe help rethink the wardrobe while you are at this.

  5. #25
    Senior Member rosarugosa's Avatar
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    Thanks, Tybee. It is interesting to hear of your similar experiences and I appreciate the good advice. Actually, a simplified wardrobe makes sense for pretty much anyone.

    I am always so appreciative of the sharing of wisdom that takes place in the SLF!

    PS: She does have the little piles of clothes thing going on too.

  6. #26
    Senior Member rosarugosa's Avatar
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    Today I spent the day clearing out and organizing Mom's cellar stairwell. We had made a bit of a deal. Her MD had recommended a Medilert type of device since she is 85 and lives alone. Mom told me quite emphatically that she doesn't want one, that it will make her feel diminished as a person. I said she certainly has the right to make that choice, but how about if we get rid of some of the tripping hazards around her house? She readily agreed!
    Mom had every fancy dusting cloth or gadget ever invented. She had 11 Swiffer mops! She had things that probably have historical interest in terms of the history of housekeeping! And now she has far less, and what she does have is much better organized and not spilling all over her cellar stairs. Yay us!
    Next week we will resume clothes and closets. The stairwell was the priority today because National Grid needed to get into her cellar to replace her gas meter.
    I am basking in the glow of productive accomplishment.

  7. #27
    Senior Member rosarugosa's Avatar
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    Oh yes, I also responsibly disposed of a couple of 32-year-old bottles of percocet and methadone at the public safety building (from Mom's cellar).

  8. #28
    Senior Member catherine's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rosarugosa View Post
    Thanks, Tybee. It is interesting to hear of your similar experiences and I appreciate the good advice. Actually, a simplified wardrobe makes sense for pretty much anyone.

    I am always so appreciative of the sharing of wisdom that takes place in the SLF!

    PS: She does have the little piles of clothes thing going on too.
    Boy...

    It was very difficult to have my dad die homeless on the side of the building of the Bowery, and lose my mother when I was 45, after she had lost all her belongings in a fire. But I guess the silver lining is that at this stage of my life I have been spared the trials of others my age with octogenerian and nonagenarian parents. I feel for all of you guys.
    "Do any human beings ever realize life while they live it--every, every minute?" Emily Webb, Our Town
    www.silententry.wordpress.com

  9. #29
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    Catherine, Tybee, rosarugosa, I feel for all of you.

    So great, Tybee and rosarugosa, that you are so thoughtful about how to help your parents deal with their "stuff" as they experience dementia. I'm realizing that figuring out how to deal with my stuff can be extremely stressful even with a sound body and mind. It must be extremely stressful when you know you're having trouble remembering things.

    I donated 4 books to the library and another 24 items to Goodwill. New total for month: 142.

  10. #30
    Senior Member JaneV2.0's Avatar
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    I'm not demented (and barring something like stroke, I doubt I will be) but I use hanging racks because the closets in this house are worthless--tiny, dark, and cramped.

    I continue to add to the donation pile, which is getting pretty large. I suppose it's time to deliver.

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