If not properly addressed, hoarding poses a significant risk to seniors who are unable to come to terms with this life-threatening issue. In the event of a fire, many elderly adults are not rescued in time by firemen due to excessive clutter. It is also not uncommon for floors to collapse under the weight of hoarding debris.
Health hazards in the form of unsanitary materials and mold that is not visible due to clutter endanger seniors with hoarding problems. In many cases, hoarding services must deep clean a residence after the surface debris is cleared away.
If your loved one would benefit from senior hoarding cleanup, it is important to bring up the topic in a way that resonates with them. Follow these 5 tips for talking about hoarding cleanup with your elderly loved one.
1. Be Empathetic Regarding Your Senior’s Hoarding
When beginning a hoarding cleanup, do your best to keep the situation positive. Highlight the promising aspects of your senior’s situation, home and life.
Senior hoarding cleanup is never a smooth, predictable process. Many individuals have an underlying psychological disorder that manifests itself as hoarding, so they may need to seek treatment. Counseling is often necessary to help your loved one build their coping mechanisms and envision what their new life may be like once their home is in order.
2. Focus On A Hoarding Cleanup Action Plan
In conversations with your loved one, let them know which items should be removed from the home. Emphasize that these items will continue to be “safe” when they are taken away, even if they are thrown out, because your senior may have grown attached to clutter that seems inconsequential.
3. Avoid Being Negative
Your senior may already be discouraged about their home given its state of uncleanliness. The hoarded items are important to your loved one, so you should do your best not to be judgmental about the items themselves.
4. Do Not Move Items Without Permission
Your loved one must be involved in the hoarding cleanup process so they don’t feel a loss of their power and senior independence. Ensure they understand how the process is going to be executed and do not remove clutter without permission.
Additionally, counseling is often necessary to help your loved build their coping mechanisms during the hoarding clean-up and help them to reduce future hoarding behaviors.
5. Help Your Senior Understand The Consequences Of Hoarding
Most hoarding situations are a fire hazard. The fire marshal may condemn your senior’s home if there is not room for a firefighter team to get through the clutter. In order improve your senior’s safety, many hoarding services work with the city. Whether shrubs have grown up to the windows, or the inside of a home has excessive debris, the city must be made aware of fire hazards.
Let your loved one know that if their hoarding is not resolved, the city may implement orders for cleanup or it may condemn the house. In order to remain at home, your senior should be convinced that cooperation is vital.
Hoarding is a serious risk for both your loved one as they live at home and their support network when family comes to visit. Help your senior restore their house to functional use and improve their quality of life by beginning the hoarding cleanup process.
Geriatric Care Managers often specialize in elderly hoarding issues and are able to guide you as you speak to your loved one about cleaning up their home. It is advisable to choose a hoarding service that is sensitive to your loved one’s needs during this distressing time.
Interested in learning about whether your senior would benefit from other geriatric care services? Discover important facts about choosing a long-term care plan.