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Wednesday Workshop – How to Manage Hoarding in the Alzheimer’s Patient

Wednesday Workshop – How to Manage Hoarding in the Alzheimer’s Patient

How to Prevent Hoarding in the Alzheimer's PatientPicture this…your mom or dad live in Florida, and you live out of state and have not been able to visit, although you do talk on the phone all the time. Perhaps you’ve had a nagging feeling afterwards that something wasn’t quite right. Then one day you get a phone call…maybe it was a fall, or perhaps a bout with pneumonia, and they had to go to the hospital. So you come to Florida to help, and when you walk into the house you see…

Newspapers everywhere, and a narrow aisle to walk through between the stacks…

Piles of unopened boxes with labels from “Home Shopping Network”…

Kitchen counters covered with leftovers and fast food wrappers…

You’ve just discovered your loved one is a hoarder.

Hoarding is a form of obsessive compulsive disorder, or OCD. Hoarding behaviors are usually established early in life, but are often kept in check by a spouse or other family member. Hoarding is not caused by dementia, but an otherwise mild hoarding instinct can be transformed by the disease as confusion or suspicion take hold. And this is increasingly being seen as a major problem by discharge planners and case managers, as well as mental health professionals and law enforcement.

At ElderCare at Home, we frequently find ourselves working with families, discharge planners and case managers to identify problems and develop strategies to manage behaviors. And one important feature of our Homecoming Program is to evaluate the safety of the home environment, and work with other professionals to address problems such as these.

I often talk with social workers at hospitals and skilled nursing facilities about the importance of getting a professional to evaluate and inform them about the conditions their patients will return to. And our experienced team of care navigators know the community resources that may be needed to help ensure a safe environment.

Take a few minutes to watch this video that was produced by the Alzheimer’s Care Resource Center on how to manage hoarding in the Alzheimer’s patient and remember to reach out to us anytime at 800-209-4342