How to Help Older Adults with Hoarding

Maybe you’ve heard of the television show “Hoarders.” It’s a show that takes a deeper look into a mental health condition that makes people collect and keep items that have no use or worth. Though many people find the show interesting, the condition is far from entertaining for family caregivers who deal with older adults who are hoarders.

What is Hoarding?

Home Care Rochester NY - How to Help Older Adults with Hoarding

Home Care Rochester NY – How to Help Older Adults with Hoarding

People with hoarding disorder have difficulty parting with items because they believe they need to keep them. People with the condition may save all sorts of things, including old newspapers and magazines. Even thinking about getting rid of some things can make them feel distressed and upset. Hoarding can be triggered by traumatic or life-altering events, like the death of a loved one, job loss or retirement, or some other loss. It can also be caused by depression or anxiety.

Why is Hoarding a Problem?

The accumulation of items can take over the person’s living spaces, leaving them with only narrow paths to navigate through. For older adults, the clutter can pose a risk of tripping and falling, which could cause a serious injury. In addition, the items may pose a fire hazard or collect dust and mold spores, which can affect physical health.

Hoarding can also impact relationships with family members and friends. Other people may avoid visiting the person because of all the stuff piled around. Or, it can cause strain when someone tries to convince the hoarder to get rid of items.

What Can Be Done to Help?

It can be difficult to help an older adult who is a hoarder because they may not see a need to change or that their behavior is harmful. Psychotherapy can be helpful in getting the person to see that they have a problem, identify their feelings, and work toward corrective behaviors. While professional help is an important part of helping hoarders, there are also ways family caregivers can support them at home, including:

  • Encouraging them to stick to the treatment plan.
  • Enlisting the help of professional organizers or cleaning services once the person has accepted the need to declutter.
  • Help to get the older adult out of the house to see other people and prevent social isolation.
  • Make sure they attend to personal hygiene.
  • Take small steps. Clean up one area at a time and then move on to the next.

Once family caregivers and medical professionals have helped an older adult to deal with hoarding issues, hiring a home care provider can help them to stay on the right path. Home care in conjunction with family caregivers can help to keep the home clean and ensure the person stays engaged with other people, which may protect against hoarding behaviors.

Sources:  https://myageingparent.com/care/care-options/how-to-help-older-people-with-hoarding-problems/

https://www.psychiatry.org/patients-families/hoarding-disorder/what-is-hoarding-disorder

https://www.webmd.com/mental-health/features/harmless-pack-rat-or-compulsive-hoarder#1

https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/hoarding-disorder/symptoms-causes/syc-20356056

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK235613/

https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/hoarding-disorder/diagnosis-treatment/drc-20356062

If you or an aging loved one are considering Home 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.

John Hunt

John Hunt

I am the owner of Caring Hearts of Rochester, LLC.

At Caring Hearts of Rochester, the well-being and genuine health of others is our greatest concern. We are committed to providing first-class person-centered care and services for our clients and patients so they may enjoy independence and relaxed comfort in their homes or residence of choice.

At Caring Hearts of Rochester, our caregivers are the most significant members of our team. They are devoted to delivering our service commitment to others.

We honor values of honesty, trust, integrity, respect and dedication. Caring Hearts of Rochester promotes a caregiving atmosphere where independence is supported, successes are attained, and a healthy culture of care is offered.

Caring Hearts of Rochester is built on a foundation of core values and dedication to client happiness, quality of life and peace of mind. Our commitment is to service excellence, personal growth, and accountability.

What makes our caregivers different?

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John Hunt