The emotional side of cleaning for caregivers is often intense. What are the next steps of transitioning an elder parent into your home?
Listen: Emotional Side of Cleaning
Watch: Emotional Side of Cleaning
Hey there, I’m Angela Brown, and this is Ask a House Cleaner. This is a show where you get to ask a house cleaning question, and I get to help you find an answer. You can find this and 400 other answered questions in this series on our YouTube channel.
The Emotional Side of Cleaning
The emotional side of cleaning and what no one tells you. Today we have a woman who is part of our network and she’s been helping her elder mother move to her home. She is going to be caring for her elder mother for the rest of her mother’s days. So, she wrote in, and I would love to share with you a continuation from a show we did a few weeks ago.
She says, “Thank you so much for answering my question. It’s been tough, but my mother finally moved in this past weekend. So, yay! Super excited about that. I’ve given her a great looking entire floor of my home. She had two homes in two states and an overabundance of possessions. So many bedding sets one house had room for nine to 11 people to sleep, and 11 cookbooks, which again, it took her about an hour as she paged through each one to determine which she wanted to bring.
She brought six with her. And she mostly doesn’t cook anymore. She’s a great painter so she came with her paintings, which we will find room on the walls to hang as many as she likes that are presentable. But also, she brought additional dozens and dozens of frames and mats for future paintings, and she hasn’t painted 10 or 12 years.” You see where this is turning into a small problem.
Cleaning for Elderly Parents is Very Emotional
She says, “I would also like to say that she’s almost 80 years old and she’s always kept things immaculate, and her thinking in keeping these things was that she would eventually give them to her kids.
Well, I explained gently that though we appreciate the wonderful thought, we’re all in our late 40s and 50s and we have established lives now, so many that include cookware and furniture and all the stuff that comes with living. Well, it’s been very emotional for both of us.
I’m not ready for this responsibility. I’m sad to say I was great with the way things were prior and I feel forced into this new life by guilt and pressure from my siblings and their wives. Lots of layers to unwrap. Thanks for addressing this topic, and from the comments I know I’m not the only one.“
Kids Have a Sense of Responsibility to Their Elderly Parents
So, this was interesting to me for a couple of reasons. As our parents get older, there comes responsibility and an expectation sometimes. That as children we have the skills, ability, finances, resources, patience and the compassion to care for our parents. If that is not the case, now is time to have that conversation with our other siblings.
Now, I love the fact that this woman is so caring and so giving she has agreed to have her mother come live at her house. But right now, and the mother’s only been here since the weekend, there is already an enormous burden that’s on this one person who at 40 or 50 years old is in the prime of their life.
I don’t know what kind of business they run and I don’t know what their family responsibilities are. But for you to clear out an entire floor of your house so that your mother could be comfortable, I mean, God bless you.
Giving Your Parents Comfort is Amazing
That is amazing to give the mother that kind of comfort and care. And then to replace the designs on your walls and the decorations with her paintings and make her feel completely welcome. I mean, God bless you. That’s amazing and far beyond the call of duty. Now, you did mentioned in this that you have other siblings and their spouses.
And I would love to know what the conversation is with those other siblings and spouses. Is mom coming to stay with you for a period of time or will she be here for the rest of her life?
There are families that they rotate the parent so that the parent gets to visit and spend adequate time with each kid before the end of their life. But the burden becomes so huge when someone goes from not having a full caregiving person living with them to suddenly this is a full time.
Parents Needs Increase as They Grow Older
And as parents get older, their needs and their responsibilities only increase. So, right now you’re feeling guilty by this particular scenario, and I did hear the words, this was emotionally trying for both of you. Because her going through all of her things and wanting to keep her things and hang on to them is a serious situation, especially to go from two houses to the floor of one house.
So, there is a lot of downsizing, and I can tell that has already happened. So I’m interested to hear the continuation of this story, and I do want to encourage those of you that are in the same type of situation that you use this time right now to have conversations with your living parents about the stuff that they have and how it’s going to be displaced or dispersed once they are finished with it.
My Family Has Been Having Family Reunions
Now, I know that since COVID my family has been having family reunions every Sunday night via Zoom. And I’m super excited about that because we are a large family. I’m one of 19 kids, and so it has given us a chance to reconnect with each other, even though we are all across the United States.
But we too have been having these end of life conversations with our parents and with each other about what are the next steps, because I don’t want one person to have the burden or to feel guilted or to feel responsible
That needs to be negotiated and dealt with by all the members of the family.
You Don’t Want One Person to Be Fully Responsible
And so, I don’t want one person to be fully responsible. I want everyone to take responsibility. So, I would love to hear the rest of the story, because I don’t want you to go for the next, I don’t know how long does mom live, another 15, 20 years? Which is possible.
People are living older and longer now, and it is possible, but that is a huge expense and a huge just reconnoitering your entire life in order to make mom comfortable. And I love the fact that you’re willing to do that. I’m sure that your mother is also blessed by your kindness and your generosity.
But I do want to make sure that you still have a life as well.Resources
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