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Younger-Onset AD or Other Dementia
I want to clean the living room and can't - need ideas
I am looking forward to having visit from 2 friends I have not seen in 20 years. Having this visit planned gave me a reason to battle the shingles and UTIs and life in general. To be relaxed I need that room cleaned.
We have a small house, the living room is half kitchen. My vacuum quit sucking (did the whole exam of hoses etc but beyond me or Keeper to find cause). I can wash dishes in sink. I stand there and look at junk, papers on every table, stuff I am STILL trying to "give away" or sell (never going to happen).
Keeper is working 3 nights a week and has been on dog duty since the ice covered the roads.
I have tried bringing boxes in and just taking stuff similar and putting it into boxes, but the boxes stay there, and then paper bags with 2 shirts in them - meant for ??? or my feeling of impending poverty makes me want to try to sell stuff on eBay.
I thought I cleaned the bathroom, it took me hours, but then I see I missed so much - what was I doing?
Was certain the reality of having visitors and wanting them and us to be comfortable would be enough to do this. I have been afraid to take a GABA pill again because it makes me very active and then my back pain knocks me off my feet for a week.
Canada has mentioned the difficulty and frustration of wanting to do what we used to, and not being able to do much of anything now except type and watch tv. Typing is about as fast as my thoughts, speaking is much slower than my thoughts.
I want to be relaxed about this because I love these people and I want to lessen my fear of being around people.
What model vacuum and manufacture name do you have?
Visitors? I don't have visitors. My home is not suitable for visitors. I do have things boxed up. There they lay, in boxes. I don't even know what is in those boxes.
I have an idea which works only for desperate circumstances, because things will probably become worse. The idea is to throw everything into large trash bags and put them in another room or on the porch or in the back yard. Use the lawn and leaf bags, because they are thicker than the regular kitchen trash bags.
Since your temperature is below freezing, things should keep and not deteriorate for a while. Of course, do not put food or perishables into the bags. But know that once you put things into bags, you can never find them again.
There is a new concept that I just discovered on Youtube, called Swedish Death Cleaning. I don't like the term, but it's about cleaning out one's home before death, so that the family left behind doesn't have to do it. At a certain age, most of our accumulations, we don't need any more. I'm getting rid of this stuff, by hook or by crook.
Hugs to us both, Alz+! I believe we are in the same place.
Putting everything into bags is a pretty good idea, Iris. It clears the room, and if years go by and you never miss any of it, then you really don't need it, much less see it again.
Leave it to the Swedes to come up with a depressing cleaning method, but they gave us Ingmar Berman, a depressing film maker, so I guess it fits. I suppose it's where you rid yourself of all those embarrassing items you don't want your family to know you had.
What works for me, Alz, is to watch an episode of Hoarders or Extreme Cleaning on Youtube. I am then inspired.
Make a list of items needing doing, like the list below and tick off each item as you do it. One thing by one thing. If you let it all whirl about your head in one big chunk, it will block you; so one thing at a time, and check it off a list.
Try not to overthink it. Just declutter the surface, that is all that is needed for the short visit. Hiding things is a good way to go when time is short.
You will not have time to go through papers, that will overload you; much of the following, you can do a day or few days before company arrives. So . . . .
- Take one large plastic bag and put ALL papers and mail into it and stuff it in a closet. You can go thru it later.
- Take another large plastic bag and stuff all clothing into it and stuff it into a closet too.
- Take a third large plastic bag and stuff all other "stuff" into it as well as old magazines and newspapers, and put it into the closet.
- Get a can of pledge and spray and dust living room, the house will smell clean and good.
- Kitchen: If you have a dishwasher, you can hide a multitude of dishes in it.
- If you do NOT have a dishwasher, go ahead and get Mr. Keeper to help you by washing dishes.
- If you not NOT have a dishwasher, and you suddenly have dirty dishes and pots before company arrives, HIDE the dirty dishers and pots in your oven; they will never know. NOTE: Just be sure to take the stuff out before you light the oven.
- BATHROOM: Guest may have to use restroom. Use toilet bowl cleaner and brush morning they are to arrive. Two minutes.
- Swift wipe out of bathroom sink and quick wipe off of countertop - you can use papertowels if you wish. Two minutes.
- Put out clean towel for hands
- If there is clutter in the bathroom, put it all in a large plastic bag and hide it in the closet. You can take it out as soon as company leaves.
- Put a new roll of toilet paper on the roller
VOILA! You are done!
They are coming to see YOU, not your house; it will be a lovely meeting and all will go well.
Alz+, sometimes we big time worry about things that may never, ever happen; it is all a worst case scenario in our minds. That is catastrophising . . . the worst almost never happens; let go of the imagining what could go wrong and just go with the flow.
NOTE: Vacuum cleaner, did you check to see if the bag was overfull? That will cause the machine to not clean.
Did the hoses get checked all the way down for a possible blockage?
Can you hear the motor when you turn it on? If not, then there may be an issue with the motor.
Are any belts broken and need replacing?
If worse comes to worse, can you borrow one from a neighbor?
AND . . . WHY NOT CONTACT HOSPICE AND SEE IF THEY HAVE ABILITY TO GET SOMEONE TO COME IN AND DO THE JOB OR HELP YOU.
OR . . . . pay a little bit to someone from church or senior center who will be willing to come in and clear the decks.
Let us know how things go; I so hope you see your friends; it is nice to reconnect.
Iris - I read the article on Swedish Death Cleaning and I do understand the principles, the label is a bad translation from the Swedish which is more a reference to acknowledging our mortality, accepting it, and leaving less work for survivors.
Jo C - I had not read your response yet when the hospice nurse came yesterday. She came right after Keeper had blown up at me because of my anxiety about the clutter and mess - which distresses me everyday, NOT just because of visitors. I hate messy house, always had my houses in order while Keeper just resists cleaning up and goes nuts over me cleaning (not that I can do much anymore).
The Dyson animal vacuum has videos and articles and online support but like 1000 other people's comments about the sudden death in a Dyson there is no cause to be found.
The bag system. The anxiety over doing this is very extreme so I am going to put it off but keep it as something I will do.
Hospice nurse told me "don't be anxious". OK. I could not even look her in the eyes I am so distraught. The issue is still coming to terms with having a terminal illness and "what could have been". The holiday season is always a time for mourning in me, trying to accept that.
Unforgiven! Hoarders - I do watch those shows for inspiration!
It is actually surface clutter in small living space, the Pledge idea I like because of the smell and feel. The paper issues are mostly husband's habit of spreading them out on every surface until there is no more surface, and then demanding they stay where he put them so he can find them. He gets agitated more easily than ever and I suspect it is partly his own health decline which he refuses to acknowledge.
Just realized cleaning up around him means a backlash which is on top of the other anxiety.
Meditate on the peace of an empty hotel room. I really am excited under the anxiety to be with my friends again, having the room tidy will allow for that.
Great ideas as usual.
Iris - if you tell me to get a waterpik I will, otherwise I refuse.
Alz+, I'm all about making our lives easier and more comfortable. I'm not going to tell you do or don't, but if a water pik can make your dental hygiene easier for you, it sounds like a good idea. I actually have one, but it is buried amongst my piles, if not in one of my storage units.
I keep reminding myself that the disorder is a result of the disease, not because I want it this way. This thought makes it easier for me to get rid of stuff.
From the Flylady: "You can't control clutter; you have to get rid of it!"
Oh, yeah, Flylady? Just get rid of it? Not so easy to do when you live with someone else. Flylady can go take a flying leap.
"Don't be anxious" is about as useful as telling a person to control their stress. Stress is stressful because you can't control the stressors most of the time.
PS Bagless vacuums will stop working when their filters are too full of dust. I learned this with my Oreck. It takes a good disassembly and washing, but it might solve the problem of the dead Dyson.
I have one further suggestion, Alz. Do one surface at a time, put everything on the floor to clean table tops or vacuum upholstered furniture like hassocks, chairs, and the sofa. Put everything back in place in a much neater way, like all papers in a neat stack, blankets and throws folded up, and any garments returned to the bedroom closet. You may be surprised how much neatervthings can look. Better yet, if it's Keedper's paperwork, have him help you. There is nothing in the US Constitution that says it's a woman's exclusive job to clean and tidy up.
I have a spouse who goes ballistic if I lose a precious coupon from the kitchen counter or throw away a crumpled bag that might possibly be repurposed. Half of the time when I save it, it turns out to be trash anyway, in which case I ask why it was tossed into a corner when the wastecan was even handier. I rarely get a good answer.
I think I gave some clothes to a woman I like who works at the pool I go to. I folded a blanket.
that is about it.
excellent suggestions, and I meant to take a GABA last night but forgot, it was prescribed at 100mg for shingles pain and I discovered it made me zipped up like Aricept and could clean the living room in 2 hours.
got word my friends got flu and might have to come another time, but still maybe will come. This has been a retraining to become happy about people I love coming to visit...and as HorseLover said, time to accept things as they are again.
It is not that I don't know how to clean or what it looks like, but just stare at it and can not get going to clear a table to put papers in a pile. It sounds ridiculous, impossible, but this happens a lot.
also I am more free functioning when I am alone.
the anxiety is about failing a test that does not exist, about lost chances, forgetting to mourn so I can move forward.
Iris said "the disorder is from the disease", so showing the disorder is scary because I want to pass for how I used to be, in a tidy home. What an insight! Straight to my heart, yes. Having people in my home and seeing it is chaos is showing them my illness. oh my god!
these are the perfect people for me to learn to relax around. when they are eventually able to come I think I will for first time in many years be open to it being wonderful, not try to cover up my condition.
it isn't the crime it's the cover up - somehow that relates to something!
I am crying now so I must be getting closer to the truth.
Still would love a clean tidy house just because but the anxiety is from hiding my illness, shame. where has my compassion for myself gone?
ps: the vacuum
the filters have been washed and dried, there is no blockage, I bought a new one online.
Now once I get new one assembled ( ! ) the other will work so I will have 2.
Thank you for responding, all of you. I am having a good cry realizing I was trying to cover up the effects of my illness by cleaning the house.
kind of wish I could learn something besides more humility once in awhile. thinking living in a small place with some help might be a lot better than I ever imagined. Bill is so smart about this stuff, and Mimi and Iris and Llee. I understand now some of the reasons why he went to live apart from his wife.
I was going to say, Alz, that with your friends you can show them your real self as you are now, not impossible perfection. I know how you feel, because my mother is on hospice now, and I have to learn not to knock myself out cleaning for the home health aides. They're supposed to take a load off me, not put on extra. Your friends want to see you, not House Beautiful.
Of course, if Gaba turns you into a ball of domestic fire, that's good to know. I should try some of that.
The Flylady has been a Godsend for me and thousands of other people who struggle with disorganization in the home and discouragement and depression. She promotes routines and breaking tasks into smaller tasks in order to have accomplishments, among great other advice. The Flylady has a great deal to do with how I am able to keep my head above water in my current condition and not give up in despair. To me, the Flylady is to disorganized people as Mother Teresa is to the poor. It breaks my heart to read about her being disparaged. This is the third time in a week that something I posted to be uplifting and encouraging has been attacked.
Iris, You are loved and revered here. Granted, not everyone will agree with everything you say but that is a reflection on how they are processing things - not on you. Please keep in mind that most all here appreciate you and the words of wisdom you share. I have learned a lot from you, Iris! You are a valuable resource to both the MIPs and CGs who come here. Many hugs to a very special, caring, compassionate, wise woman - you!!!
I understand unforgiven's point about not being able get rid of someone else's clutter but oh, how I wanted to.
Who is Flylady? I think I need her....right now. I too am looking around and making decisions on what stays and what goes. On the thinkpad is my mother's grand piano. I do not play. Why not have it enjoyed by someone who does.
There are many decluttering methods but I value the Flylady because she eliminates GUILT and works on depression and despair, no matter how severe your situation is nor how many times you are dealing with the same mess. I can't tell you how invaluable she is! She is a LIFELINE to the desperate (me)! Her website is busy now, because it has grown over the years. She starts with shining your sink. One can start there, and follow the baby steps at www.flylady.net. I signed up for the daily emails; for me that is easier than following the website.
I am home alone. My friends could not come, socked with the flu.
I missed that help before, just saw it in a post tonight so I marked it here and will check it out.
Keeper went with his mother to visit his kids so I am home alone with the dog and puzzling over this weird effort of 5 weeks to organize my house or a room or a table top in order to be comfortable having people come to hang out awhile.
Iris said the clutter and disorder are reflections of my sick brain, which seems so obvious but I did not grasp that before. It also represents the lack of help from my CGvr in that regard. He does not have the need or the impulse to reorganize a room. I want to quit trying to make him want to.
Having Alzheimer's is so strange. I feel buffered - like my left eye is fading out but I don't mind it like a normal person would. I have tingling going down one leg from old spine but I still walk the dog and can kind of "forget" about it. So I hope that indifference ? to pain and itching and stuff increases.
OK. Also it may seem weird that I react so well to one person I have never met (Iris) and now want a waterpik but I was almost suicidal when I came to the boards and she answered my grief and fear everyday for years, and she was always right. This does not happen without divine intervention and yet she became my mentor, a sister mother best friend confidante counselor.
I have been helped by so many of you, and yes about finally getting the hospice nurse has seen worse than my house and does not care unless it got dangerous and it is not. Sheesh. For someone who does not want to waste any more hours I sure seem to do that a lot.
to a happy-even-if-messy home!
I brought myself a Roomba for Xmas! Thinking about a water pick!
When I vacuum I can't muster up enough motivation to dust and de-clutter so I'm hoping while Roomba is vacuuming I may dust and de-clutter.
My brain (notes about what I need to remember and paperwork) is laying all over the coffee and kitchen tables!
Roomba still sitting in the box for several weeks. UGH!
This is my attitude today (this minute):
I could not get my vaccum to suck and Keeper went over everything twice too so I ordered a new one, on big introduction sale and no need for filter cleaning and it arrived within days.
So buying a new vacuum is the same as using it now. Ha! Keeper put it together and I can see it. It does not clean automatically like your roomba but it might.
Can you tell I took a GABA last night? happy happy happy and not interested in cleaning as I have the house to myself and a Packer game at noon.
life is good enough for a few hours. savoring it.
Thank you for your kind words, BethL. So many have helped me here; I want to be able to help others in return.
I shined my two sinks today! This may not seem like much, but it is a big deal to me. Those who know the Flylady know what I'm talking about. I managed to do three hours of work around my home today, including cleaning the counters, the stove and the microwave, gathering the recyclables, cleaning the bathroom, and working in the closet and a dresser drawer. I have a disease in which one of the symptoms is lack of initiation to carry out tasks. How could that be a disease symptom? Isn't that just laziness? Some people think so and have told me that's what they think. I can't explain it. I just know I have it. But today, for three hours, I didn't have it. I'm so happy!
Thanks, Ilee! You probably already know about this. Like some cluttered people, I have great anxiety about discarding. There is an anti-anxiety technique in which you take baby steps to confront the task you are anxious about. Each time you will learn that the anxiety that you feel will not hurt you; then you can continue and progress in the task. I can't think of the name right now, but I discovered it on the internet.
I am of two minds; one mind says that the clutter is like uncut diamonds, and I must save them because they might be valuable. The other mind says these are not diamonds but stuff laying around that I don't need and that's taking up space. That's where the anxiety comes in. Diamonds or stuff? Even the stuff I know is useless and trash I have a hard time releasing. Why, oh why??? As I am typing this, I can feel my heart rate rising. Just thinking about discarding is scary for me. But I'm going to keep on attacking this dilemma. BTW, the psychologist that I worked with for over a year was of absolutely no help in this matter. She didn't even see it as a problem.
Iris - I have those hours now and then too when I can clean.
Cleaning sinks - how wonderful when they shine! My efforts would be halted if anyone was watching me but since Keeper is usually occupied with reading or something else I can do what I want. Old shampoos that I can't throw away is wiped inside bathroom sink and tub and left over night. It smells god and in morning I take a wet rag and wipe it off and rinse - clean.
I have spent hours unintentionally meditating on the stare and sit aspect of this condition. There seem to be many layers. Will I need it? Do I know someone who needs it? Can I sell it? and so on. And on.
Then it is a control issue. Then it is just too much work.
Today the house is mess and I have 50 plans to fix the problems and no intention of following through. I am moving towards leaving for a month or 2, staying at home of my kids' father.
My mind is not able to convey what I want right now but maybe later.
Jfkoc, I went to Goodwill yesterday and purchased a nice, heavy blanket. I don't know where my own blankets are.
Alz+, I never thought of the stare and sit mode as being a form of meditation. Good insight.
I had a Eureka moment this morning. The stuff I am holding on to represents my past and it is keeping me from living my life now. The fear that I have about discarding is because the stuff cues my memories, and my memory is so weak that I am afraid to do anything that will render it weaker. But, as you said before, there are some memories that I don't want to remember. I don't have access to my past memories anyway, because they are buried within the piles and I don't even see them or think about them. I have to choose between my old past and my current life. I have to choose my life now, because I am stuck in quicksand (figuratively) and I feel I am going under. It's that serious. I can't go on the way things are now. Things must change. I must change.
It's surprising to me because fear has not been a part of my life in the past. But I do have fear about my memory. I have to meditate on this.
YEA, Ilee! You go, girl! Keep it up!