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Elderly parents

Disposing of clothes when relative in care home.

24 replies

Tarmaced · 07/09/2023 14:26

I have a relative moving into a care home, their spouse has asked me to help sort/clear their clothes.

This is ok to do isn't it? Feels a bit (lot) weird disposing of stuff before they've died... 🤨

OP posts:
Mosaic123 · 07/09/2023 14:40

If you give them to a charity shop then at least they are doing someone some good.

Realistically do you think the relative would be able to wear them in the future?

Maybe it really upsets the person who lives at home to see them hanging up?

You could offer to store them if you are concerned ?

User562377 · 07/09/2023 14:45

It is a weird thing, you're right. We had to do it for my gran, pack up her whole house to sell to pay her fees, so clearing everything out while she was still alive. It was the strangest thing. I think it would have been easier if she had been dead but I'm sure that would also have been hard.
It has to be done though. Just do it respectfully and what else can you do?

saraclara · 07/09/2023 14:52

Does the relative have capacity? If so had she agreed to the disposal of her property?

I have a similar problem, in that my mum had been in a care home for 12 years, but is still mentally capable. She has a vast amount of stuff in storage which she refuses to let us get rid of. It's costing a fortune though and she had very little money left. She's not seen the stuff in all that time and certainly doesn't need it.

She was a borderline hoarder and most of it is worthless. My brother has been desperate to get rid of it all, but so far I've said that morally, we shouldn't. But I'm coming close to agreeing with him.

Tarmaced · 07/09/2023 14:57

No capacity, no POA. Has (had) a bit of a shopping addiction I think. It's clothes/accessories.

OP posts:
Puffwiththegreeneyes · 07/09/2023 15:13

Can the person who's items they are give you permission to do this?

Really, you shouldn't be removing their things without permission/ POA/ permission of person with POA but in reality, who is going to know/ care/ do anything about it?

helpfulperson · 07/09/2023 15:22

I've kept a box of my mums stuff with a small selection of clothes from different seasons and a couple of posh dresses so we can swop her wardrobe out throughout the year.

flyingsaucersandjellybeans · 07/09/2023 15:24

Tarmaced · 07/09/2023 14:57

No capacity, no POA. Has (had) a bit of a shopping addiction I think. It's clothes/accessories.

Sorry but would think you need POA for finance and health and well-being as your relative doesn't have capacity I think you apply to court of protection and POA can be awarded

SkaneTos · 07/09/2023 15:55

I agree with previous posters about treading carefully about clearing the clothes.

I work in a care home. I want to mention some other things about persons living in care homes and their clothes.
It might be a good idea to look over the person's clothes, since sometimes they have new needs when they reach that stage in their life. They might need softer clothes that are really comfortable and easy to put on.
(But of course still in their own style. And you don't neccesarily need to buy new clothes, there might be really good options among what the person already own).

Sometimes people who live in care homes get dressed in bed, with the help of care workers. Therefore some kind of clothes work better than others.

Good, comfortable shoes!

If there is incontinence in the picture, you have to think about that too.
Sometimes accidents still happen, even with great care workes and good adult diapers/pads/other products. When there are accidents, it's good if the person has more than two pair of trousers etc.

And, of course, let the person be involved in the process.

MereDintofPandiculation · 07/09/2023 16:07

flyingsaucersandjellybeans · 07/09/2023 15:24

Sorry but would think you need POA for finance and health and well-being as your relative doesn't have capacity I think you apply to court of protection and POA can be awarded

No, PoA can only be given by a donor with capacity. Once they’ve lost capacity, the only option is deputyship, a much longer and more expensive process

Katmai · 07/09/2023 16:10

flyingsaucersandjellybeans · 07/09/2023 15:24

Sorry but would think you need POA for finance and health and well-being as your relative doesn't have capacity I think you apply to court of protection and POA can be awarded

The op has said that it is the relative's spouse who has asked for their help in sorting things out.

If someone's husband or wife no longer has capacity and has had to go into a home, then surely their spouse must have some say in what happens to all their things.

saraclara · 07/09/2023 16:23

Yes, if the person in the care home no longer has capacity, then her spouse is entirely within his rights to dispose of things she no longer needs, and with OP's support.if she chooses to help. Which in her place, I would.

whatsappdoc · 07/09/2023 17:45

The spouse is a bit eager! She hasn't even gone in yet. I'd tell them they should leave it for a few months because she might decide she wants an item that's been disposed of, also changing seasons etc

Unless she's a candidate for 'Hoarding Alive' of course then go for it.

whatsappdoc · 07/09/2023 17:46

Just realised I have assumed the person going into the home is female.

Jeffjefftyjeff · 07/09/2023 17:50

what would they have wanted if they had capacity? If they lived their partner very much and wouldn’t want them upset then maybe that will help with emotions.

note that the care home my friend went to had to wash clothes frequently and at a high temperature so make sure to factor in enough spares for wear and tear.

Tarmaced · 07/09/2023 19:16

Unfortunately none of the person's clothes would suit a care home situation; she was extremely glamorous for her age & wore very smart, stylish fitted clothes.
She has no concept of what she's wearing now, which is nightwear 24/7.

She's bedridden & incontinent 😔 & although the care home say they'll encourage her to sit in a chair in the Day Room, she may refuse to co-operate.

In any case, she will need easy to remove clothing I imagine.
Some of her tops will probably be able to be used but most of her clothes will be impractical.

OP posts:
EmotionalBlackmail · 08/09/2023 20:27

I'd tread a bit carefully. In my experience they have little concept of how much stuff they've left behind to sort out and then make random requests for things you'd never have thought of!

Is there a way of boxing up the clothes into categories and hanging onto them for a bit in case of requests?

We found it was pretty safe to get rid of things like bed linen and kitchen equipment (which probably doesn't apply in your case as there's a spouse still in the house) but things like books, clothes and pictures did get requested.

givemeasunnyday · 08/09/2023 21:35

When my DM moved into care I asked her what clothes she wanted bringing to her - she replied "Everything". Even though her room had massive wardrobe space, she had enough clothes for every elderly women in town at home - some never worn. I took her a selection and gave the rest to charity - she never asked for any of them and was happy with what I gave her. When she moved to another place as the first one closed I had another sort out - once again, there was no comment.

Separates are best, if they spill food/drink then only the top needs changing. Also, the laundry is likely to ruin anything which needs special care so not much use in having those sort of clothes.

If the spouse has asked for help I would do it.

trulyunruly01 · 08/09/2023 22:32

I'd box everything up rather than dispose. You're right, it seems disrespectful somehow.
However, even if she is likely to remain in nightwear, she may appreciate some cardigans, socks, a soft pashmina or two, or perhaps a favourite scarf. You'd be surprised at the comfort some small it3ms can bring, even if she doesn't recognise them specifically.

PermanentTemporary · 10/09/2023 10:30

I've had to do this and it was awful, though the relief when it was done was enormous. In some ways there was an easy out as DM gained so much weight once her iron self control around food was gone that she needed a complete new wardrobe.

I would say it is very important that the spouse at home gets to be able to live a life they can bear. So I think clearing the house is very important if they want that. Being surrounded by the clothes that their partner can't use any more must be very hard.

From a legal point of view, she doesn't have capacity to decide whether to keep them, so what is in her best interests? Only the people who know her best can really say that, but I'd suggest paying out for storage of everything may not be in her best interests. You're thinking in terms of keeping some of her familiar tops which is good, and I agree about some accessories too. Maybe keeping perhaps three complete favourite outfits, so that (sorry) they are available for dressing her after death?

AffIt · 12/09/2023 20:03

SkaneTos · 07/09/2023 15:55

I agree with previous posters about treading carefully about clearing the clothes.

I work in a care home. I want to mention some other things about persons living in care homes and their clothes.
It might be a good idea to look over the person's clothes, since sometimes they have new needs when they reach that stage in their life. They might need softer clothes that are really comfortable and easy to put on.
(But of course still in their own style. And you don't neccesarily need to buy new clothes, there might be really good options among what the person already own).

Sometimes people who live in care homes get dressed in bed, with the help of care workers. Therefore some kind of clothes work better than others.

Good, comfortable shoes!

If there is incontinence in the picture, you have to think about that too.
Sometimes accidents still happen, even with great care workes and good adult diapers/pads/other products. When there are accidents, it's good if the person has more than two pair of trousers etc.

And, of course, let the person be involved in the process.

This is a lovely and wise post, thank you @SkaneTos

Mum5net · 13/09/2023 12:59

Not the best photo, but we added storage into the care home room to accommodate spare clothes in the box above the wardrobe. We ended up with two boxes. which took extra T-shirts and scarves etc . We also added a little IKEA unit. However, we had to take 80 % of clothes to be recycled. I’d say it certainly made a more pleasant and upbeat experience sorting when she was alive.

Disposing of clothes when relative in care home.
Mum5net · 13/09/2023 13:06

I should also add that we kept a £10 IKEA folding chair slipped in the tiny gap between the wardrobe and the wall which only we sat on. It meant we didn’t have to sit on a provided care home chair.

Appleofmyeye2023 · 13/09/2023 13:12

flyingsaucersandjellybeans · 07/09/2023 15:24

Sorry but would think you need POA for finance and health and well-being as your relative doesn't have capacity I think you apply to court of protection and POA can be awarded

You can’t apply for attorney if the person has no mental capacity to sing the LPOA. You go a slightly different route called a “deputy” - you have to apply for this and office of the public guardian will only advise this is extreme circumstances. The big difference is that it requires a huge amount of oversight continuously by the office of guardianship, and that also comes with annual fees . (For instance you have to submit an annual report to OPG ) . It is not something you want to do unless there are no other alternatives. Personal welfare deputies are only appointed in very extreme circumstances, financial deputies are more common for obvious reasons. It usually has to go to a court hearing and that too is expensive

sadly, the hard truth is that unless you have set up POA whilst you have mental capacity it is very hard for your nearest and dearest to put it in place retrospectively. Not impossible - but complex and costly.

https://www.gov.uk/become-deputy/fees

Deputies: make decisions for someone who lacks capacity

How to become and act as a Court of Protection deputy - eligibility, responsibilities, how to apply, fees, supervision and when your deputyship ends.

https://www.gov.uk/become-deputy/fees

GETTINGLIKEMYMOTHER · 23/09/2023 13:35

After my aunt with dementia died in her very nice care home, staff asked whether we could please leave her clothes, even rather faded nighties, because they had residents with very little money and no relatives to buy them anything. 🙁So it might be worth asking.

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