Hoarding can become more prevalent as someone ages. Seniors may hoard for a variety of reasons. One such reason is dementia, which can reduce a senior’s reasoning abilities and make it harder for them to understand when it is time to let something go. As hoarding can start slowly, it is good to be aware of the signs of hoarding early so that you can start to protect your loved ones from the dangers of the condition.
Changes to Health Situations
Hoarding is sometimes preceded by an illness or injury. If your loved one has recently had an injury, it is good to be alert. A health issue that limits mobility can also contribute to hoarding as seniors may start out being unable to keep their living areas neat and tidy. Housekeeping services are essential during this time to prevent trash from accumulating.
Seniors may hoard mail and paperwork as they are afraid of accidentally throwing away something important. Working together with your loved one to create a filing system for them to organize their personal papers can help alleviate some of their worries. Caregivers can help by speaking with seniors about what documents are necessary to save and what can be discarded. They can also help seniors to scan and save important materials through digital means to reduce the amount of paperwork from accumulating.
Loneliness is a common cause behind hoarding, as seniors who feel isolated may cling to belongings that bring back memories for them. You can talk to your loved ones about other ways of preserving memories, such as starting a scrapbook, or ensure that they get enough companionship and socialization to help them feel less lonely. Conservatory At Alden Bridge provides a welcoming retirement community for seniors to have a robust social life while maintaining their independence.
Cluttered Living Areas
On a practical level, hoarding increases the risk of injuries, especially fall-related ones. Having your loved one experience a fall in an area that should be easily accessible may be a warning sign as it shows that they might have blocked out that area with clutter. Visiting your loved one regularly can help you see if their living areas pose any risks to their safety.
Keeping Expired Food
Food is another item that is commonly hoarded, especially for seniors who fear that they might not be able to get to the store if they need it. You can help by checking your loved one’s kitchen for expired foods or signs that they have been buying more food than is necessary for them. Here, having a caregiver or someone to ensure that they always have their needs met is vital for seniors as it provides them with reassurance that they do not need to hoard food.
Keeping Seniors Safe from Hoarding
There are various reasons why seniors may hoard. It is important to remember to treat them with care and compassion when this occurs, and to be vigilant about their safety and mental health if you notice the early signs of hoarding. As loneliness and isolation are key reasons behind hoarding, it is important that seniors get enough socialization so that they are not only physically but mentally healthy. An active lifestyle that keeps seniors busy can help them enjoy their golden years to the fullest.