Having a lot of belongings doesn't necessarily mean that your elderly family member is a hoarder, but it could mean that she's on her way, especially if she won't get rid of some of those things.
Hoarding is a complex situation that can involve behavior that is difficult to understand. Your elderly family member might collect specific items, such as cookware or dolls, even if she doesn't use those items at all. Unfortunately, hoarding can also include holding onto items that don't make much sense, such as trash. The bottom line is that if your senior is hoarding, it's likely to be a big problem for her and eventually for you. Your elderly family member might not let you in to her home, much less senior care providers or other people who could help her.
Pathways Get Clogged
Safety is one of the biggest concerns that most caregivers have about hoarding because often pathways get clogged because there is so much stuff. Your senior might start out by stacking items so that there's a hallway of sorts, but eventually the hoarded items may simply become one giant pile. This creates a massive tripping hazard or items could fall on your senior.
It's Difficult to Keep the Space Clean
Beyond general safety, it's important to note that hoarding makes cleaning difficult and eventually impossible. This is because the sheer volume of the hoarded items is massive. Your elderly family member may have plumbing problems in the kitchen or bathroom and be unable to get to these fixtures in order to even determine what's wrong.
Pests Become a Huge Problem
There's not much that pests like much more than piles of items that they can hide and forage in. Your elderly family member may insist that she doesn't have a pest problem at all, but if there are a lot of hoarded items stacked up, there's no way to tell for sure. Rats, roaches, and other pests thrive in that sort of environment, unfortunately, and that means health problems for your senior.
The House May Become Inaccessible at All
Eventually the problem can become so severe that your senior can't maneuver in her home at all. And anyone who comes to her home, such as emergency professionals, won't be able to maneuver in the home, either. This is a serious issue that you and your aging family member need to get a handle on as quickly as possible.
If your elderly family member has a serious issue with hoarding, you may want to talk with her doctor as well as a mental health professional. Dealing with hoarding can take lots of time and therapy to get to the root cause, but it's worth it to help your elderly family member feel secure and safe again.
IF YOU OR AN AGING LOVED-ONE ARE CONSIDERING IN-HOME SENIOR CARE IN RIVERSIDE, IL, PLEASE CONTACT THE CARING STAFF AT BRIGHTSTAR CARE OF LA GRANGE. CALL TODAY 708-551-2500.