AIBU to think "Its just a house"

(65 Posts)

First of all this isnt a talk about the rights and wrongs of expecting people to sell their homes to pay for care - tbh I have no clue of the ins and outs of this and this post and the political implications of it, this is soley based of experience of my grandmother who sold her house to move to a home.

She needed more suitable housing and although she doesnt need care at the moment she does need people there to check on her and her needs will increase in the next few years. constantly and she cant maintain a house alone. My dad isnt in the country and neither my sister or I have homes we could fit another adult in plus we dont own our homes so we could offer no stability at all, we have no other family.

When she sold her house everyone was full of how disgusting it was that she had to sell it in order to pay for the care now and in the future (she is 72) and I understood the loss of her house upset her BUT my sister and I were really shocked at the sheer attachement to the house and the fact that it was not just seen as an assest to be used. There was a really clear split between older generation (grandmothers friends etc) and ours (we are in ours 20s).

To me my house is just somewhere to keep my stuff and stop me freezing to death in the winter. I hold no emotional attachement to it and tbh its really hard for me to truley understand the attachement that my grandmother and her friends have to the houses. There is one of her friends for example who I have known since I was a baby she had a wonderful house, but now its is falling apart because she cant care for it either financially or physically, she sits in one room with the fire on rather than heat it properly because she is afraid of the bill. It would make FAR more sense for her to sell it and move, her health would improve etc and yet she doesnt because she doesnt want to leave it. I am not exaggerating when I say I really think that staying in that house will kill her.

I have never owned a house I am not sure that I ever will so AIBU to just not get it? I really dont and people make me feel like a complete freak for not standing and wailing over the loss of a tiny victorian terrace.

MrsKeithRichards Fri 11-Jan-13 09:14:47

yanbu purely because it's how you feel and that is up to you really. However my house is my home, it's not just bricks and mortar. It's a tiny 2 bed ex council house, nothing spectacular at all but it's mine. Well ours I suppose. It's where we eat, sleep and play, make memories, laugh,cry and raise our family. We've only had this house 6 years, it's not our forever home but I love it.

CogitoErgoSometimes Fri 11-Jan-13 09:15:27

"There was a really clear split between older generation (grandmothers friends etc) and ours (we are in ours 20s)."

YABU to not get why there's a difference. Someone who is 70 and owns a house might have lived in the same place 40 years. The house represents security and continuity wheras moving into care is a big upheaval... something older people can struggle with more than younger ones at the best of times. If you're young and renting you might live somewhere different every couple of years or less. It's transient. When you've lived somewhere most of your adult life, brought your children up there, have memories of people no longer with you.... it's a serious wrench. Try to have some empathy.

ArkadyRose Fri 11-Jan-13 09:18:20

Sorry, but you ARE BU. Try living in the same home for 30 or more years and maybe you'll understand. After that length of time and that much personal history, a house becomes much more than just a building - it's a home, with lots of memories. My late ex was dwvastated when he had to sell his mother's house after her death - it was the house he'd grown up in. And it was a real wrench for us to leave our last house, even though it was a rental - because it was where I'd given birth to DD3. You may not have lived anywhere long enough to form an attachment like that, but you really ought to try and have a little more understanding for those that have.

Hassled Fri 11-Jan-13 09:20:21

I think a lot depends on the house, how long you've been there, the memories associated with the house, the good/bad times you've had there etc. And some people are just more predisposed to be attached to objects/things than other people are.

I think I would have agreed with you until we bought our current house - there is always stuff that needs doing to it and we've just poured money into it, but I do have a very strong attachment to it, partly because it's been such a happy house - we've had a lot of good times here. I would sell it to pay for my care if I had to, but it wouldn't be easy.

lynniep Fri 11-Jan-13 09:21:24

YABU. As in what Cogito said. My uncle (in law) was born in the house he lives in (he's 75). It is the constant in his life, and it is his home and his refuge and of course he's attached to it.
Its not just the house - its everything it represents - all the memories in it - the neighbourhood surrounding it - the people - and leaving it indicates that loss of independance which you can't possibly understand. So yes, have some empathy.

I think people do vary in how attached they get to property.

When DP and I left our first house as a couple, we had spent 17 years there. We have good memories, etc. But I left without a backwards glance.

I get attached to some things, but not property. To me they are only homes because of the people/things in it.

BackforGood Fri 11-Jan-13 09:24:23

You are and you aren't.
Logically, yes, "It's just a house", but when you invest a huge amount in it - not just the money but then the time and upkeep and alterations over the years, it becomes a home, and that's different.
Many people will have memories of children being born there or relatives dying there, and can feel it's like leaving that era behind.
For older people though, it's HUGE to acknowledge that they are no longer the person who runs the family, but they are now the person who "needs looking after", and that is all tied up with the idea of "giving up your home" as much as losing the bricks and mortar.

HecatePropolos Fri 11-Jan-13 09:24:40

I don't understand it either. I know that a lot of people really get emotionally attached to stuff. I don't know why they do, but I know that they do and that it's really important to them.

and I don't think you need to understand why someone feels the way they do in order to support them. so just give them a little sympathy and listen to them talk about it all. cos it matters to them.

but personally - I'm with you. A pile of bricks that keeps the rain off your head grin you take your memories with you wherever you go. They're not dependent on you being in the place where you were when the event that you remember fondly happened.

We're currently buying a house. It's rubbish, but represents a mortgage monthly payment less than half the rent of the identical house we are living in opposite.

YorkshireDeb Fri 11-Jan-13 09:28:44

I understand what you think & what the "older generation" think. But what does your grandma think? If she's happy to sell her house & sees it as an asset then YANBU, if she's upset about waving goodbye to a lifetime of memories then you are - simply for not being more sympathetic to her situation. However, whether or not you're being unreasonable probably doesn't change the situation. x

Flobbadobs Fri 11-Jan-13 09:30:07

I can see where you're coming from but YABabitU. When my grandma had to go into sheltered accomodation she was incredibly upset to sell her house despite knowing that she would be better moving. She had raised 2 children there, it was the last house my grandad lived in before he died and the place was stacked full of memories.
The good news is that now she is genuinly happier, healthier and more relaxed where she is now. Any repairs needed are done for her whereas before she had the worry of sorting the workmen out etc. she has a warden on 24 hour call just in case, she's closer to family, it's only a small flat so much easier to keep clean - the positives have been endless for her. Hopefully your grandma will settle just as well as mine.

MrsLouisTheroux Fri 11-Jan-13 09:30:13

It's the difference between having a house and creating a home.
A home is where people/ families live their life and create memories. Hence the attachment.

Merrylegs Fri 11-Jan-13 09:33:32

It depends on where you are moving to and why.

If you are moving from one house to another house but with the same set up - ie you are moving with your family to a bigger house or a house nearer a job or whatever then that is a lot different than moving from a house to a care home.

Because that is a completely different way of living.

So it's about the change of lifestyle also, and ultimately choices and control being taken away from you, even though it might be more manageable long term.

expatinscotland Fri 11-Jan-13 09:34:37

YANBU.

I dont mean that I havent sat and sympathised with her - of course I have! I wouldnt say this to her!.

She seems sad but she is only moving a few streets away and so the area will be the same. Once it was all sorted she was relieved I think. It was hard for her sorting through her stuff with the result I have box after box of things she couldnt bear to get rid of but couldnt take. We are moving soon (landlord given notice) and I am hoping she will agree to let me sort it before then.

curiousuze Fri 11-Jan-13 09:39:43

YABU to claim you 'don't understand' about being attached to a home. I think you do understand you just don't agree, and are being weirdly superior and sneery about it (eg claiming people are 'wailing'). I find it hard to believe that you can't empathise at all - haven't you ever felt a connection to a place, like a village, town or anything? If you could never go home again would you just say 'oh well there are other towns with houses and shops, what's the big deal?'

Flobbadobs Fri 11-Jan-13 09:40:02

5dcs that was the sticking point for my grandma. Once the boxes of stuff was sorted (which took weeks!) things got much easier for her.
Just a tip - I found that my grandma kept saying "you take this, I won't use it but I want to keep it in the family". Constantly. Just take it even if you'll end up putting it in a cupboard. It helped her to know that things were going to a good familiar home I think.

curious actually I do feel like that about towns. We moved alot when I was a child and we have moved when we needed to when adults (we moved from Kent to the North West a few years ago simply because we wanted a bigger house and they are cheaper up here). Towns are pretty much the same. I do feel sympathy for her.

MrsLouisTheroux
*It's the difference between having a house and creating a home.
A home is where people/ families live their life and create memories. Hence the attachment.*

Not always true. As I posted earlier, I have some very good memories of our previous house. But no attachment to the actual house. No attachment to this house either, but it's very definitely a home where people (including me) are happy.

valiumredhead Fri 11-Jan-13 09:46:46

The thought of leaving my house makes me break out in a sweat and nearly cry just thinking about it!

lljkk Fri 11-Jan-13 09:48:38

I am like you,OP. You know it's not a permanent part of your life, the coziness can be recreated elsewhere if wanted.

Adversecamber Fri 11-Jan-13 09:48:52

YABU because they are your feelings not hers and you are obviously not as attached to your house. I would hate to move house, I am very comfortable with my surroundings.

My Aunt will not leave her six bedroom house, she is almost 90 and in ill health, her DH died in the house and it is a link to him. We would actually prefer her to die than have to leave because we actually think the stress would kill her and would rather she just slip away in the house she has an attachment to than go through one of the final major things in her life in obvious distress.

squeakytoy Fri 11-Jan-13 09:53:33

yabu. I was very upset when I had to sell my mums house after her death. She had lived in it for 50 years, I had lived there for almost all of my life, and even though I was married and living 200 miles away when it was sold, it was still a wrench to have to do it. I knew every creak on the stairs, could walk around it blindfolded and it was my family home.

MoreBeta Fri 11-Jan-13 10:04:17

YANBU at all.

The older generations need to sell their houses to pay for their care. Simple as that. Emotional attachment is no excuse. The older generation need to take more responsibility and stop acting like the most selfish coddled generation they are. Dont give me the 'I fought in the War and I paid for the welfare state nonsense either'. Anyone who is under the age of 80 never went near fighting in WWII and they certainly never paid enough tax or NI to pay for their pensions and benefits and they enjoyed the biggest boom in property prices and huge tax breask to buy their homes the younger generation will never see.

There was a very good debate on Newsnight last night on the ever spiraling cost of paying older people their pensions. Stanley Johnson (Boris Johnson's father) was on and very sensibly pointed out that the younger generation cannot be expected to pay for pensions and other benefits while the older generation sit in houses that rocketed in value whilst refusing to sell them. Opposing him were several old women saying they were 'entitled' to a well funded pension plus winter fuel allowance plus all their ther benefits.

There are a significant number of old people around where I live in big houses sitting in squalor in one room freezing and frightened to put their heating on and without enough money or physical ability to look after their houses. Will they sell to make their lives easier or make way for a young family? Will they hell!

Sorry but I have no sympathy. My FIL died recently and we begged him and MIL for the last five years to sell and move to sheltered accomodation. Now he is dead my MIL is alone and panics every time a light bulb fails which she cannt reach to change herself. She HAS to move for her own good.

My parents bought a 6 bedroom house in the middle of the country to retire to - stupid is how I would describe it and now they are getting old and in failing health they are increasingly isolated and my mother is worried but my father will not move.

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now