Helping a hoarder is not easy, especially if you’re a family caregiver who is helping your aging adult deal with a variety of issues at the same time. Here are some concrete steps you can take.
Talk to Her about What’s Causing the Behavior
The very first step is to talk with your elder about what is happening. She may not fully realize what she’s doing, especially since hoarding can really sneak up on someone who is deep in the throes of the condition. Remember to approach the conversation in a loving and open manner without accusations.
Work with a Professional
It’s always a good idea to talk with your elderly family member’s doctor about what could be contributing to her hoarding situation. Sometimes the loss of good health can create a hoarding response. Finding a counselor trained in helping elderly adults deal with hoarding is also a very good idea. In addition, a professional organizer can help quite a bit.
Give Her Tools to Help Her Stay on Track
As you start to make progress with your elderly family member’s home and belongings, find ways to help her to stay on track. For example, she might benefit from having elder care providers come in a few times a week to stay on top of the fridge contents and household tasks. Look for other ways that you can help your elder with her unique situation.
Remember This Is an Illness
Many family members look at a hoarding situation and see it as disorganization or slovenly behavior. But it’s more than that. Hoarding is at its core a mental health illness and you have to remember that when you’re trying to help your senior to get better. Like any illness, it has to be managed effectively.
Stay Alert, but Don’t Nag Your Senior
Even when you start to feel as if your elderly family member’s situation is completely better, she can experience a relapse. More loss or other triggers that tend to trip her up can come along at any time. It’s important that you stay alert for signs of a relapse, but that doesn’t mean that you should nag her or make her feel bad if she starts to backslide a bit. Make sure that you’re getting her the help that she needs in order to get back on track.
Hoarding can be a difficult problem to resolve, both for you and for your elderly family member, but it’s definitely possible. Stay positive and remind your elder that you love her no matter what else is going on.
If you or an aging loved one are considering Elder Care Services in Rochester NY, contact the caring staff at Caring Hearts of Rochester today! Serving Rochester, Pittsford, Greece, Webster, Canandaigua, Fairport, Perinton, Penfield, Brighton, Henrietta and surrounding communities. Call 585-245-0134.
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