Sometimes I Feel Like a Piece of Bologna

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Cleaning Out

While at Mom’s last week, we focused on some safety issues. If you’re a Gen Sandwicher, you might want to check these next time you visit your parents.
We cleaned out the pantry and freezer. Mom is a Depression child, and still has a Depression mentality. She shops at the dollar store and is always picking up “good deals” on sale. However, her appetite isn’t what it used to be, so she eats far less than when her husband was living at home. In fact, she still buys foods that he liked but that she won’t eat. Her pantry was packed with expired foods and many things she knew she’d never eat, and most of the food in the freezer had freezer burn. We gave items that were still good to my sister and brother. Unfortunately, we tossed a lot.

We cleaned out expired meds. She still had a lot of prescription bottles from my step dad. Many of them were years out of date, as were many of hers. Her mobile home park has a recycling program where they dispose of some and send others overseas. I’m not sure about this, but hopefully it’s managed by a pharmacist.

We started cleaning out her closets. Here again the Depression mentality was prominent. Mom has clothes in at least three sizes, all co-mingled in the closet. Many of them were worn out years ago, but “you never know” when she might need them. She wasn’t willing to part with much, but we did get rid of two pair of bright orange pants and some sweaters that are now too heavy for her frail frame. This will be a progressive task, but we did free a little space for her and put together a few new combinations for her.

Many of our parents have a tendency to hoard “just in case.” It’s hard for them to let go of their “stuff.” I think that in addition to the Depression mentality, letting go of stuff reinforces their frailty and mortality. Of course, I should talk. I’m not eager to part with my stuff either.

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2 comment(s):

Good ideas, all of these. Whenever my mom is out of the house for a day, I grab a trash bag, fill it, and take it home to throw away! Old coupons, magazines, flyers, junk mail, tissues everywhere. I found a bag of my dad's old, old shoes in a closet I was cleaning out for a caregiver. The shoes were worn out with the soles peeling off. I made them disappear. Old blankets that are so old they're deteriorating. A pillow that was just a lump of old stuffing--pfft! replaced with a fluffy new one.

The old Depression mentality of "making do" is one that leads to a pile up of old, barely useable stuff. And the meds, you're right to check all the dates and names--some of my deceased dad's meds were still in the cabinets!

By Blogger Sandy, at 11:24 AM  

Sandy, great ideas. Doesn't she miss anything or is the mess too big? Thanks for weighing in.

By Blogger Pat, at 8:22 PM  

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