Wednesday Workshop – How to Deal with Problems of Hoarding in Memory Loss
Hello and welcome to Wednesday Workshop. One of the definitions at Dictionary.com for the term “hoarding,” is as a verb, meaning “to accumulate for preservation.” For most hoarders, their intent is to preserve their things for their lifetime!
Maybe it has been a while since you visited your aging father at his home and things just aren’t quite as you remembered. He has stacks of National Geographic Magazines in one room, his garage is spilling over with every tool, and loads of laundry are lying around waiting to be cleaned. Why has he been keeping so many things and how does he not notice the clutter and disorganization?
Elderly people can easily develop hoarding habits because of the long years of accumulation and the lack of discarding old items. Typically a strong attachment has been made with their belongings and letting go creates anxiety and a feeling of loss. These feeling cause items with little to no value to become highly important, adding to the already cluttered home. The mental and emotional characteristics of hoarding may also be diluted with memory loss and confusion.
Older people may become confused with an abundance of mail and bills, which either needs to be paid or shredded. This responsibility is often neglected because of lack of knowledge or memory loss, creating mail clutter and vulnerability to identity theft. Not only is senior hoarding difficult mentally and emotionally, it can also become physically dangerous.
Elderly people need to pay close attention to minor clutter in their homes in order to live in a safe environment and avoid hazards. Hoarding and simply forgetting things can create dangerous situations which include the following:
- Unsafe pathways to walk through causing a higher risk of falls
- Consuming expired food
- Difficulty being reached or escaping during an emergency
- Accumulation of combustibles creating higher risk of fire
- Hoarding makes cleaning very difficult causing higher risk of disease
- Infestation of pests due to lack of home maintenance
- And Structural damage to the home
When it comes to hoarding, seniors may easily overlook the health and safety hazards because of their mental instability and denial of the problem in the first place. It is important for family members and caregivers to assist with organization and downsizing. Assistance can be provided by bringing bins or trash bags that will either be for trash or donation, as well as setting items aside to be kept and organized. Sometimes just a little help is needed in order to get the process started.
To learn more or to speak with us here at the Alzheimer’s Care Resource Center
Feel free to call us at (877) 760-9199 or email us below. Thanks for watching today’s Wednesday Workshop and we’ll see you again next week!