Thursday, March 30, 2017

How To Help Your Family Not Be Mad At You When You Get Old Or Die

There's an easy way to keep our family from wanting to wring our necks once we get old and can't
take care of ourselves or we die. One or the other is going to happen so deal with it now.
What to do? Clean-up our mess before we can't do it anymore.

Most important, create a folder or binder with important information and keep it updated.
Finding out who your doctor is, what medications you take, and who, what, where you
owe bills can be so time consuming to the family in an emergency or case of death.

Those birthday cards you received and kept in boxes for 30 years...toss them.
Trust me, your family won't sit around reading them when you are gone.

Old bills and statements. Anything over seven years old...shred/toss them.

Clothes and shoes you haven't worn in years...donate them now.

Make notes on the back of old photos. Your family may have no idea that a photo
is of your gr-gr-gr-grandfather who was famous. It may end up in the trash.
Share your photos with family now so they don't have to decide what to do with
that huge crate of photos you've got stashed in the garage or closet.

Those knick-knacks on the shelf may have value but the family might think they are
something you won at a carnival. Make sure you let someone know what is valuable
in your house. Better yet, write it down and leave the list with other important papers.

If you have jewelry or valuables that you want to pass on to someone, think about giving
 it to them when you are alive. It will have so much more meaning to them knowing you
 wanted them to have it then to receive it after you are gone. At least write a note indicating 
what you want someone to have if you don't want to part with it just yet. 

If you have to give up your independence, try not to complain about everything.
Life is hard during any transition, so give your family a break if they are doing their best.

Try not be stubborn and to listen when it comes time that family starts telling us we 
can't live alone anymore. It's hard to let go of independence, 
but it's harder on the family when they are forced to make the decision for you.

I can imagine most of you can add lots of other ideas to this list so feel free to add 
what-to-do and what-not-to-do in the comments. 

Thanks to all of you who wrote supportive comments about caring for elderly parents/grandparents.
It's been a rough few months for my mother-in-law (and us), but she's slowly improving.
She feels bad that her broken hip has thrown our life into a whirlwind of chaos and change, though
 there really isn't anything either of us can do to fix that. She needs us so we are there for her.
She's been a wonderful mother, mother-in-law, and grandmother throughout her 90 years!

My hubby and I alternate and travel back-and-forth to help her. He spends way more time
with her than me and is doing a good job of it. It's been amazing to see all that he's had to do.

She's totally moved into assisted living and we've been working hard to get her condo
painted, and windows, flooring, countertops, and sinks replaced. We were lucky it wasn't just needed some extra tender loving care to get it more up-to-date.
Even the Monkey Boys helped get her moved in to her new apartment.

As for sewing, it feels good to sew a little as time permits. It's such great therapy!

Here's to growing old or dying with dignity and grace!


  1. Great post. I think we both have been experiencing this same situation. Mine is now compounded. We had started to streamline. Sometimes it is overwhelming. I have stories.....

  2. Love the post. This is something that Senior service offices should be offering information and help on. Sometimes an elder will listen better to someone outside the family. Even something we need to do when we have families - don't think to leave all this until you are 'old'.

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  4. I've been dealing with the fallout from this for the past 18 months. My mom apparently thought she'd forever live independently and that THINGS made your life worth living. The hardest part is that she still has Rules for what I can and cannot dispose of, even though she will never be in the position to see her "treasures" again.

    The title says it all - I am sorry to say it, but my feelings toward my mother have changed (and not for the better).


  5. Oh my gosh, this post is awesome, we have all learned in the past few years what it means to go through stuff of deceased family and friends homes. Wow, it makes me want to grab a trash bag right now! I want to donate as much as possible. We all have too much stuff.....still trying to convince Mark.

  6. Good advice. I've already done so, and as difficult as it was at the time, it feels good, now. My life now fits in a 5x5 storage unit, and most of that is scrap fabric and sewing books!

  7. Carol you and Hubby are wonderful to even step in and take care of all that needs doing. This post is very much needed by so many of us...and yet we wait. Having a Will and a Trust does not ensure that things will be done as you may have wished. It is a good idea to give while able to do so. The ugly "family" vulture/s will take over if allowed to do so. Take care of yourselves as well so you can keep taking care of Grandma and Grandkids. You are now part of the sandwich generation. I know I have a lot of "work" to do to prepare for the final chapter of my life. Blessings...<3

  8. Great advice Carol.My husband and I are kinda elderly so we have already done a lot of these things. Face it--you just never know when your time is up. One thing I have done with my pictures is this. I made my grandsons a photo album and placed pictures of my husbands and my family, our children, and the grandchildren in there. I put names,how they were related,and any other info I could think of.That way, they have some idea of who is in our family. I have already given away all my "good stuff". I found out it is not that important to me and I don't miss it anyway. The rest of the stuff is "junk" so they can do whatever with it. (Except my fabric and sewing stuff. I plan on taking that with me. LOL

  9. Boy she looks good for 90. Glad to hear things are getting a little better. I agree with everyone else, this is a good post. It's made me think a little more.

  10. I think we can all relate! These are all good points.

  11. All such good advice. We are moving across the country next week so we have been downsizing and decluttering for months now. I told my children they were lucky, now they wouldn't have to do this. You are right. We should let go of some of this stuff. We don't really need it. I'm glad you are making it through this with your mother-in-law. I know how hard it is. Good luck to you.

  12. All good points Carol, you are making me think about what is important to hang on to. We just did this with my Grandma a couple years ago but it is so easy when it's your things to just let it go until "later" just so easy to tuck it away "in case" for later...

  13. Have already been through this with two sets of parents. Sooo many photos thrown away because no one knew who was in them. I keep telling my daughters what is important/valuable but i guess I should write it all down. I have done pretty good about decluttering but have a ways to go. My DH, whole other story....he's a "collector" of scrap metal (he welds) and I am afraid the girls will be mad, very mad at him if he dies. I don't want that to happen but not making much headway. Sigh
    Hang in there Carol. All the best to you and your family.

  14. My sister is still dealing with our mother's stuff when she died in October. It is a long and hard job, plus mom was a bit of a hoarder which didn't help. Sis got the job because she lives in the state mom lived in. My sister said after dealing with all the stuff, it made her want to go home and clean and purge stuff. She found out after she nearly got the house cleaned out that there is a service that will do it all for you. They set aside any important papers and things, but the rest they have an estate sale, so you don't have to do it all yourself. Something to look into if you need or want to when the time comes. Thanks for this post Carol.

  15. What a wonderful, smart, caring post! thanks for the reminders. mary in Az

  16. Carol, this is good advice and oh my, I have been living this out the past 4 years, or is it 5 years?
    I have learned a lot.
    I do not want to leave my kids with a huge pile of stuff, and you are right about what is valuable and what is not. Hubbs and I did all the work for mom and dad, and sold their house in Maryland (ugh) and oh my.
    I am so happy that things are getting settled. It is a very hard transition for them. I know I tried so hard to take the burden away from them, but oh my.
    Happy Friday

  17. This is hard-won wisdom, Carol. Thanks for sharing it! I'm sure this post will be referenced by many for a long time.

  18. My mother taught me how to give away items and downsize to nothing. She was diagnosed with ALS. From that moment, she started giving away all her treasured items. By the time she died- a mere 9 months later- she had very few items left. My father did not have to wonder who got what, because it was already given to the person she wanted it to go too. She took care of business right a way. I miss her. It was sad to watch her do the process. I wish I did not have a lot of her glass stuff. Looking at it is a constant reminder of her, and how, and why I have it. But I do know she did not want to leave her things as a burden for people to deal with. We all accumulate too much stuff anyway.
    But, I think I want to give my stuff away while I am well. Then it will have good memories attached to it for my family.

  19. You are giving me a lot to think about! We have downsized my Mom when she moved in with us but still so much stuff! That maybe I should think of these things for us too! Thank you and sending prayers your family has been through a lot! Hugs my old friend!

  20. My mom never kept an extra scrap of fabric, while I have to keep every tiny piece! My sisters are the same way...I don't understand how we turned out to be 'hoarders' while she always kept her stuff to a minimum. So when she passed away in 2015 it was a breeze to go through her stuff. No fighting over stuff, and we all got precious mementos from her. I'm going to have to figure out how to make it easy for my kids, too...


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