Apply Now
RSS Feed Print
Selling mom's house....feeling guilty
Posted: Wednesday, June 22, 2022 4:06 PM
Joined: 11/5/2021
Posts: 7

I moved my mom from NY to SC to live with me in September 2021.  In NY she wrecked her car at 1am which caused this move.  Since living with me she has improved, but has been diagnosed with moderate Alzheimer's.  I decided to sell her home in NY as we haven't been there since I moved her down.  She doesn't want to or know that she is living in SC.  She thinks she is "visiting" or taking a vacation here.  I understand it is better to redirect and not talk about things she can't do.  It is really hard selling her place knowing that she thinks she is going back there.  She asks to be taken home and I always have an excuse as to why we can't go... but it is starting to get harder and harder and she is getting more demanding to go home..  On a positive note, I did get top dollar for the home.  As I am concerned about the overall housing market I was happy I was able to get and offer on the place.  
Just wanted to post this to see if anyone else has gone through something similar.  I feel like maybe I did this too soon, although I don't expect her to live there again.  Was thinking maybe I could take her back to visit friends.  She misses her friends, but then she doesn't remember after friends or family come to visit her.

Posted: Thursday, June 23, 2022 2:34 AM
Joined: 8/24/2020
Posts: 257

Hi, Jessi. Sadly many of us have gone through what you are, including the feelings of guilt. You have to keep reminding yourself that selling your mom's house and moving her to SC was in her best interest. You're doing what you need to do in order to care for her and protect her. 

And you should get kudos for selling your mom's house as quickly as you did, and in a good real estate market too. Many families hold onto mom or dad's house for years, unable to bring themselves to clean it out or sell it. It's a very tough thing to do. 

I sold my mom's house two years ago, and even though she's in memory care and is in late stage 6, she still demands that I take her back home. Tonight in fact she grew quite upset to remember that I sold her house--something she hasn't remembered in over a year. She kept insisting that she wanted to buy a new house with a basement rec room and built-in bar and what did I do with all her wine glasses? Diverting her wasn't working too well because she kept circling back and growing increasingly upset at the memory that I had sold her house. 

It's hard, it's really hard to dismantle the props of a frail elderly loved one's well-loved, hard-earned life for their own good. Yeah, the guilt is there, but I have to remind myself that she needed the money for healthcare and memory care, and I would have been negligent had I held onto the house. 

Posted: Thursday, June 23, 2022 5:56 AM
Joined: 3/6/2017
Posts: 3648


You'd think it would feel good to be doing right by a parent, but sometimes it just doesn't. As POA, guardian or conservator you have a responsibility to act to protect and manage her assets wisely and have honored that well but still there will be a sadness around going through the motions of dismantling a LO's life. 

It might help to reframe this as something dementia-- not you-- took away from her. Or perhaps as something you do for her rather than to her. 

I didn't feel much around selling mom and dad's primary residence. My mom is still living and she officially made the decision with me doing all the work to prepare it for sale and cull through their things. It was dad's dream house and a testament to his disregard for all opinions but his own. I was fortunate to find an offer although it didn't live up to his fantasy of it's value. I felt much worse selling their little place in Florida because my mom really loved spending the cold winters there but it just wasn't safe anymore. By that point dad thought he was in Florida most of the time, so it didn't matter so much on that front.

May flowers
Posted: Thursday, June 23, 2022 8:01 AM
Joined: 4/9/2021
Posts: 513

When we moved my in-laws near us, we sold their house of 50+ years, it was hard on them as well as their children as it was their childhood home too. In hindsight, it was the best thing - my MIL had undiagnosed cancer and got here in the nick of time for us to care for her, and get things set up for my FIL with dementia.

You’re doing the right thing, IMO, as hard as it is (((Hugs)))


Posted: Thursday, June 23, 2022 11:13 AM
Joined: 1/31/2021
Posts: 59

I'm going through this right now. My parents have been in AL for a year, and there is absolutely no way they could go back to the house, even with 24 hour carers. The market is starting to slow here so we made the tough decision to put the house on the market. Now I need to wrap my head around getting rid of clothes they will never wear again (fancy business suits, strappy cocktail shoes, literally 200 pairs of knee high nylons...).
Posted: Thursday, June 23, 2022 11:30 AM
Joined: 5/5/2021
Posts: 137

To be honest, after my experiences the past ~ 18 m and reading on this site, I would go a step further and simply not tell her. Agree that she is just visiting. Yes, she can go back soon.  The right answer is the one that brings the most comfort.

This is because with dementia, wanting to go home is really one of the symptoms they experience, not a decision they are taking-and even PWD who actually ARE  home often demand to - that’s why they elope.


Posted: Thursday, June 23, 2022 2:05 PM
Joined: 11/5/2021
Posts: 7

Thank you all for the responses.  It really helps to hear that people have been through this or are going through this.  It is really too much for me to maintain the house in NY.  Over the winter, it lost power for 3+ days and the temperature was 1 degree.  I try to keep that in mind, that it is too much for one person to manage currently with my mom living with me full time.

@Fairyland - I agree that I will plan to not tell her about the sale and see if I can continue to "delay" a trip back home.

Sending hugs and love to everyone going through this!  You all are doing awesome!

Posted: Thursday, June 23, 2022 3:51 PM
Joined: 9/21/2017
Posts: 1298

JessiJ wrote:
  She asks to be taken home and I always have an excuse as to why we can't go... but it is starting to get harder and harder and she is getting more demanding to go home..
 Was thinking maybe I could take her back to visit friends.  She misses her friends, but then she doesn't remember after friends or family come to visit her.

Well done on the house sale.

On the "I want to go home", I've found that when PWD say they want/need that it is more they want a      feeling        of safety and contentment that home brings-- not the brick and mortar or modern drywall/plastic water pipes that is a physical home. Toss in that their brains seem to time travel backwards and it gets messy.

Some wonderful caregivers even drove their loved ones hundreds of miles to every "old" home their PWD  ever lived in and nothing gave comfort -- the physical location wasn't the need that they craved.

Dr Natalie and Teepa videos  say it better than I, but when she says "I want to go home" say "yes that is a nice place what do you like about it" or just distract with something you know she likes where she is.

I wouldn't go back for a visit, you've got the travel and disruption to deal with to get there for something that may not be recognized anymore.  And , like you said, won't be remembered.

 One of my PWD says "home" is a place they left over 60 years ago--and they don't remember their recent home of 40 years.


Posted: Thursday, June 23, 2022 7:43 PM
Joined: 4/7/2019
Posts: 376

That's great that you were able to do so well when you sold your mom's house. Definitely a big plus. For what it's worth, I don't think you did it too soon.  And in my experience, she'll probably forget a lot of those friends who she doesn't see. Or, at least they'll be on a far back burner in her mind. The only friends my sister talks about are the ones who come to visit her or who call her.  It makes me sad for her, but I also know there isn't anything I can do about the progression of the disease.

I think the "going home" part and the guilt are things most of us as caregivers have had to delicately handle. My situation is the same as yours. In my sister's case, I've sold, given away, thrown away, almost all of her extraneous stuff.  It was all stuff she'd never use again, like specialty clothing, or just extra clothing. And, like with Suzzin -- 200 pairs of nylons! Peggy had about that many, still in unopened packages. Maybe it was from a nylon club or something?  When I was clearing out her storage space (that she'd had for like 20 years), I'd open up one box after another, and there were always 10-15 pairs of nylons in them.  Was weird ... The plus side was that the storage space, and the monthly fee are gone.

Even though the nylons were weird, her other things weren't, and I felt very, very guilty in getting rid of them. This was all Peggy's stuff, some of it I remembered from childhood (okay, maybe I didn't get rid of 100% of her stuff), and I really felt like it should be her decision whether or not to keep it all.  But of course she can't make that decision, so I had  to do it.

As for her condo, this happens to be the latest loop she's in. She wants to live on her own again in a condo - with five cats. I'm breaking out in hives just thinking about it. I do what Victoria suggests - "yes, your condo was so cute, it was right by Chili's, right?"  Then we move on to discussing all aspects of food (redirection complete!).

Posted: Sunday, June 26, 2022 8:30 PM
Joined: 5/25/2020
Posts: 389

I found it hard making this type of decision for my husband, because we would always have discussed these things together, pre-AD. I'm in no way making light of your situation, but it made me think of something that happened with DH. I had brought him home from MC, for what we thought were his final weeks. Our (wonderful) live in carer had mentioned one day that if ever I had clothes I may no longer need, that she sent a container every six months to her home in Ghana. I suggested she look at DH's, and she took everything, except for 3 or 4 things I wanted to keep.

All good, I thought - saves me bagging everything for Goodwill, plus she gets more things to send. Fast forward a few weeks and DH was suddenly much more lucid, getting out of bed, etc. I fell into the trap of thinking maybe he really didn't have AD (we hadn't known it was that) and I thought: "He's going to be so mad when he completely recovers and he realizes I've given away all his clothes."! 

I was really feeling terrible about it! Those 3 days turned out be the surge people often get towards the end, and he died 3 weeks later. But when I see the couple of shirts of his that I kept, hanging in my closet, it does give me a chuckle.

× Close Menu