During an individual’s golden years, hoarding can become an issue. Even if someone has been a particularly organized person their entire life, older adults can still have trouble with hoarding. Fear of poverty, depression, dementia, and more can all combine to result in senior hoarding. Psychologically, it could be an attempt to hold everything together, and the desire to do so is too intense to ignore.
Unfortunately, dangerous situations can result from cluttering and hoarding. We’re going to offer some strategies that could help prevent your loved one from getting into a hazardous hoarding situation.
Who Becomes a Hoarder?
Are certain people more at risk of becoming hoarders than others? If risk factors are identified ahead of time or right away, you’ll stand a better chance of working with the person doing the hoarding to take control and beat the desire to hoard.
Older adults may start hoarding if they live with mental impairments or physical impairments. As an example, if your loved one has received a dementia diagnosis or been the victim of a traumatic brain injury, following either of those, they may start hoarding.
Safety Should Be Emphasized
To prevent falls, your aging loved one needs clear pathways through which to walk. The residence of your loved one may have become unsafe due to hoarding. Their safety is at risk and this should be referred to in a discussion with them when “stuff” starts to accumulate. If there are things your loved one absolutely needs stored, help them to find a storage building or other safe location.
Some retirement age individuals have a hard time keeping up with housework. They may suffer from mobility issues, a recent injury, etc. They stop cleaning because it’s too hard and eventually they get used to the clutter.
If you are able to assist your loved one with housekeeping, all the better. If you don’t have time, consider either finding a friend, relative, or hiring a professional to help them keep their home a bit tidier and more organized.
A Cleanup Schedule
Get your family together and make a plan. One way to stop hoarding is through a group effort and a cleaning schedule. Throughout the year, set up specific dates when friends or family members can help with housekeeping.
Talk to your loved one about how much other people might enjoy some of the things they no longer use and that donating them would benefit all parties concerned. Possibly some family heirlooms could start being passed out to assist with decluttering, as well.
If hoarding becomes too much of an issue, and you’re having a lot of difficulty dealing with not only the mess but your loved one in the process, do not hesitate to contact a professional for assistance.