Hoarding is characterized by the excessive acquisition of belongings and the inability or unwillingness to reduce large quantities of objects that inundate the living area. It’s important to determine whether or not their senior loved ones are hoarding because the compulsion increases the risk for falls, exacerbates pulmonary and other health issues, and increases the potential for isolation due to embarrassment or reluctance to allow others into their homes. The following are five types of hoarders to watch out for and how you can help.
The proud hoarder is someone who refuses to admit or acknowledge that they may have a problem. They may rent storage space to hide their obsession with accumulating objects or will simply stash items in an off-limits area of the home to avoid confrontation. When confronted, the proud hoarder will brush the accusation off by saying that they’re simply collecting or saving items for a rainy day.
An embarrassed hoarder is often desperate for help, but getting rid of the clutter is an elusive goal that appears to be unattainable. This type of hoarding usually begins with an emotional trigger such as the death of a spouse, retirement or depression. Although embarrassed hoarders understand there is a problem, they are often too ashamed to reach out for help.
The accidental hoarder does not usually have a long history of hoarding. Instead, clutter has accumulated due to changes in physical, mental or caregiving status. This type of hoarder is usually open to assistance in achieving tidiness and maintaining the order in their homes. Most accidental hoarders are seniors who cannot look after themselves and require live-in or hourly home care in Sacramento.
You’ll notice that the compulsive hoarder holds onto useless and worthless items such as junk mail, newspapers, broken things and items that no longer serve any purpose. This type of hoarder often argues with family members regarding the excessive amounts of trash they accumulated. It’s not uncommon for compulsive hoarders to say that they are “recycling” or “repurposing” these items.
Obsessive-compulsive hoarding is often accompanied with an anxiety disorder that spurs the repetitive behavior of collecting random objects. This type of hoarding is driven by fear of contamination or superstitious thoughts. The individual may show no interest in the hoarded items, yet he or she is compelled to procure them regardless. In this instance, hoarding habits are often related to a specific type of object such as cleaning products or food.
How to Help
It is important to remain nonjudgmental, highly sensitive and caring when broaching this sensitive subject with your loved one. Hoarding can hinder the use of living space and limit activities such as sleeping, cooking, cleaning and moving freely through the home. Emotional attachment to the objects greatly exceeds the desire and inability to dispose of them. An important step for helping your senior loved one is identifying hoarding. From there, it’s important to seek professional help from a licensed psychiatrist to help your loved one understand and overcome this condition.
Often times you can help your loved one by hiring a trusted Sacramento elderly care provider to maintain his or her home. Home Care Assistance provides flexible live-in and hourly home care to help seniors with everything from housekeeping and laundry to safety monitoring and meal preparation. Call us at (916) 706-0169 today and let us help your loved one achieve the physical and emotional wellbeing he or she deserves.