Alzheimer’s – putting Mum into a nursing home

This post is not about the pain and trauma of finally putting Mum into a nursing home 10 years after she was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease. No post would could ever be long enough to write about that. It would take a book……and even that would only touch the sides.

No, this post is about stumbling upon something that eased the emotional burden of emptying out my parents’ house to sell it.

There are 5 of us ie 4 brothers and me. When we finally put Mum into care, we decided that we would each take whatever we wanted from the house and what was left, we would donate. Because I am the only daughter, and I play the piano, things like the grand piano and Mum’s jewellery were automatically offered to me. There was no issue. The problem was, I wanted everything. And I mean EVERYTHING! The jewellery and piano were all well and good but it was other things that really choked me up, like Mum’s flour sifter and egg cups we’d eaten off as kids. And cake tins that Mum was given at her kitchen tea. Old recipes torn out of Womens Weeklys. Old sheet music. It was the junk that I really wanted. All the bits of Mum that made Mum, ‘Mum’.

Now, I could have had anything I wanted. My brothers didn’t get it but would have happily let me take every book, knitting pattern, rolling pin and stick of furniture I wanted. They didn’t care. But you see, you can’t. Or at least, I couldn’t because I have no where to put it. How do you store a whole house of furniture and a lifetime of keepsakes in an Inner West home? It’s impossible. I looked into storage amenities and realised that it is just not an option. It’s exorbitant. I guess that’s the price you pay for living in Sydney.

So, I took more than I can fit in and left the rest. And I don’t want to know what happens to it. My bothers and I agreed that I should stay out of the equation from here on in…….my emotions were just thwarting the whole process.

Anyway, one of the many boxes that I now have on my lounge room floor has Mum’s wedding dress in it. I wasn’t sure where or how I would store the dress given that my own wedding dress already consumes a huge amount of storage space.


And then by chance, when I was at the Craft and Quilt Fair, my friend Wendy pointed out the Angel Gown Program stand. Have you heard of this program? The Neonatal Intensive Care Unit Helping Hands is an organisation of volunteers who craft baby gowns for mothers who tragically lose their babies in hospital. These volunteers hand make the most exquisite little gowns, some no bigger than doll’s dresses, from donated wedding dresses and gift them to families who lose their baby.

I will donate Mum’s wedding dress, secure in the knowledge that she would have loved that. Mum, a practical person, adored babies and hated waste. What a lovely thing to do with her wedding dress…………..and I feel just a little bit better.


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