Once your elderly family member begins hoarding, you may find that you need to take some action before the situation becomes too bad. These tips can help.
Make Safety the Biggest Priority.
Big hoarding situations make your elderly family member’s home incredibly unsafe. In fact, there may be spots that are so packed with items that you can’t even find a path through them. Let your senior know that safety is your biggest priority in cleaning up her hoard. She may still believe that there are other reasons, but reiterate that safety is the primary concern.
Create a Path First.
The first step is likely going to be creating a path that your senior can safely use in her home. It may have been a while since that has been possible for her, so she may not remember what that’s like. From there, you may need to tackle each room separately so that you can get to everything.
Do Not Exclude Your Senior.
Many caregivers make the mistake of taking over completely. The problem with this is that your senior can start to feel as if you’re removing all control from her. Make sure that you talk with her about what is going on and how she’s feeling about the cleanup. Keep her involved when you’re determining which items are staying and which are going. At first, this might be a slow process.
Once an Item Is Leaving, it Needs to Go.
When your elderly family member finally determines that an item is leaving, it needs to go right away. If possible, you might want to schedule cleanup days around garbage pickup days or arrange for someone to take items to the dump or to wherever else they’re going at the end of the day. Many times hoarders will go back through the trash or donated items and bring hoarded items back into the house after everyone has gone.
You Might Need to Bring in a Specialist.
Because hoarding is a psychological illness, it might be necessary for you to bring in a therapist to help your elderly family member deal with what’s happening. She may not fully understand her own reasons for her behavior and therapy can help tremendously.
Many people who hoard go on to rebuild their hoarded items. If you can get to the bottom of the root cause, it might be easier to avoid this problem. Hiring elder care providers can help you to stay on top of cues your senior might give off that she’s about to start hoarding again.