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Why Seniors Hoard and How to Help

By Kevin McClarren, 9:00 am on

Hoarding is the compulsive acquiring of things and the inability to discard anything. Often, places to eat, sleep, or cook are compromised and this can lead to unsafe living conditions for the person hoarding. Leading Warren home care provider, Home Care Assistance, looks at several common reasons seniors hoard and how to address the issue.

Reasons for Hoarding

1. Memories.

As a person ages, he or she can be reluctant to throw out items that remind them of happy times in the past. This can be an item of clothing worn during a particularly special birthday, newspaper clippings, concert tickets, etc.

2. Loneliness.

Many seniors experience loneliness, especially those who live far from family, and they begin to surround themselves with physical items as a replacement for real interactions. If this is the case for your senior loved one, consider a caregiver in Warren who can provide regular companionship.

3. Fear.

Some seniors who live alone begin to fear they will not have everything they need unless they stockpile now, or they worry about what could happen if they let go of things (like years of grocery receipts). This is often caused by financial anxiety.

4. What to Do

Family members and friends who notice a loved one has begun hoarding should address the issue as soon as possible. Allowing the hoarding to continue too long can cause more emotional harm to the senior when you “clear the clutter” than if you address the problem quickly. Start by speaking with your loved one’s physician. They can provide you with resources, including professional help if needed.

You also may want to consider having a caregiver check in on your senior loved one several times a week, or daily if necessary. The presence of another person in the house will alleviate feelings of loneliness and seclusion. Caregivers can also monitor hoarding tendencies and help with things like sorting newspapers or organizing mail.

A caregiver can also provide the senior with ways to organize the items they have in their home so they’re able to see that they have everything they need.

Find Help

The longer hoarding continues, the harder it becomes to stop, so don’t wait to reach out for help. Home Care Assistance in Warren has caregivers who can help your senior loved one stay organized, happy, and healthy. We have caregivers available who can meet your loved ones needs, in addition to caregivers who are specially trained to provide live-in care, Alzheimer’s care, and in-home Dementia care in Warren. Every caregiver can assist with light housework, like sorting through the clutter and organizing, cooking, transportation, and, most importantly, our caregivers provide regular companionship. Give us a call at (908) 450-9400 to schedule a free in-home consultation.