Overcoming a hoarding situation can be extremely difficult for an aging adult. There is usually a psychological trigger for the hoarding itself and if those needs are still there, cleaning up the hoard won’t correct the problem.
Determine if it’s Really Hoarding
If your elderly family member has a little bit of clutter hanging around, you might start to worry that she’s becoming a hoarder. The key is that a little bit of clutter may be no big deal to help your senior clean up. Hoarding, on the other hand, is far more complicated and can inspire some deeper emotions in your senior.
Therapy Is Essential
There are multiple potential causes for hoarding, but it’s usually related to a deep loss of some sort. The hoarding is really just a symptom of the deeper issue. Therapy with a counselor who has experience working with elderly patients and hoarding can help get to the bottom of the true problem. To truly address the hoarding, you have to get to the root of the issue.
Clearing the Clutter May Come Later
Because of the fact that there are underlying causes, the actual cleanup of the clutter might come later than you expect it to happen. This is usually for the best, though, because treating that underlying issue can make it so much easier for your aging adult to let go of the belongings that were meeting those needs for her.
Consider Getting Help from a Professional Organizer
Clearing out large hoards can be extremely overwhelming, both for you and your aging adult. A professional organizer who has experience with hoarding can make that job so much easier. The other benefit to this is that you’re simultaneously building up an organized system in your senior’s home that works for her current needs.
Remember to Follow up After Cleaning Up
After the cleanup, your senior may need some extra help to keep things operating in an organized manner. This is where having elder care providers stopping in to help with housework and other tasks can be so beneficial. If you’re a long-distance caregiver, this option may be especially comforting for you.
Keep in mind that hoarding situations aren’t as simple as keeping your aging adult from buying more items. There is usually a deeper reason this is happening and that reason needs addressing.
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