Hoarding is never an easy subject to discuss, and it can be even more challenging when a senior has dementia. The cognitive decline and memory loss caused by dementia may make a senior behave irrationally and hoard massive amounts of belongings. Hoarding can make an environment unsafe, but forcing your aging loved one to throw everything out can cause a lot of distress and frustration for everyone. Here are a few things you can do to address the problem as sensitively as possible.
Understand the Cause of the Hoarding
It’s important to think about why your loved one may be hoarding in the first place. Learning about the cause of the hoarding can help you find ways to handle the problem better and be more sympathetic to your loved one. For most seniors with dementia, hoarding is a compulsion brought about by anxiety. Hoarding helps seniors feel like they have control during a stressful time. Many associate objects with comfort and memory, so having a lot of possessions can help them feel like they’re retaining memories better. Some seniors may hoard compulsively because they feel bored or restless.
Target Safety Concerns First
Piles of food and food wrappers can lead to rats, mold, and mildew, while stacks of paper or clothes can be fire hazards. If there are piles or stacks of objects more than a foot or two in height, there’s also the risk of these large stacks falling and trapping your loved one. If there are any problems like this in your loved one’s home, they need to be addressed immediately. For seniors with mild dementia, talking about the problem and offering your help can be effective. Be patient and gentle, and avoid sounding like you’re shaming or judging your loved one. If your parent is in a more advanced stage of dementia, you may need to remove these objects while your loved one is gone to avoid upsetting him or her.
Older adults with dementia may have difficulty managing daily tasks safely. Caring for a senior loved one can be challenging for families who don’t have expertise or professional training in home care, but this challenge doesn’t have to be faced alone. Family caregivers can turn to Rowlett Home Care Assistance for the help they need. We provide high-quality live-in and respite care as well as comprehensive Alzheimer’s, dementia, stroke, and Parkinson’s care.
Distract with More Interesting Activities
Due to changes in how the brain handles information, people with dementia often crave stimulation and excitement. The rush of getting good deals online or thinking about how to repair furniture they find in trash heaps can encourage hoarding behaviors. Find a better distraction by setting your loved one up with tasks like sorting a button collection, labeling old pictures, or painting a picture.
If your senior loved one has been diagnosed with a serious condition and needs help with tasks like meal prep, transportation, bathing, and grooming, reach out to Home Care Assistance, a leading provider of senior care families can trust. We also offer comprehensive care for seniors with dementia, Alzheimer’s, and Parkinson’s.
Build a Memory Box or Collection Display
Many caregivers report hoarding becomes more manageable when they give their loved ones places to store their hoarded objects. Select a large sturdy box and help your loved one decorate it before carefully arranging his or her favorite objects in it. This activity can help your loved one engage in the hoarding compulsion without destroying the living space.
Certain age-related conditions can make it more challenging for seniors to age in place safely and comfortably, but Rowlett 24-hour care experts are available around the clock to help seniors manage their health. Whether your loved one is living with dementia or is recovering from a stroke, you can trust the professional live-in caregivers from Home Care Assistance to enhance his or her quality of life. Reach out to us at Home Care Assistance if you need compassionate professional home care for your loved one. Call one of our friendly Care Managers today at (972) 722-7833.