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Seniors and hoarding is a more common problem than you may realize. Referred to as Diogenes Syndrome or Senile Squalor Syndrome, seniors who may have never lived in hoarding conditions can become affected; changing the lives of everyone involved.

Seniors and Hoarding - Why?

There are a variety of possible reasons why an aging parent or loved one starts hoarding.

  • Income - Being on a fixed income, money may not be as plentiful or accessible as when they worked and could trigger hoarding out of fear of not having certain materialistic items they're used to having, anticipate wanting, or need.
  • Sentimental Attachment - Seniors may look at many items they own or saved as a way to keep memories around them; attaching sentimental value to 'things'.
  • Physical Decline - The physical inability to clean and the pain that could be involved if they do attempt cleaning is a very common reason for senior hoarding to begin.
  • Frontal Lobe Disorders & Dementia - FTD or Frontotemporal Disorder creates various degrees of dementia that can cause certain symptoms (lack of socialization, depression, lack of hygiene, confusion, etc) that can lead to hoarding actions. Studies estimate that 15% of senile hoarding syndrome is related to FTD/dementia.

Caring for Seniors Who Hoard

There are a number of ways to approach and deal with seniors and hoarding. Utilizing a service such as Senior Living Experts can be an option that offers an unbiased third party that can present alternative solutions to help remove them from their current unsafe conditions and lifestyle.Options can include:

  1. assisted living - Because the hoarding is most likely being caused by a condition that will eventually require some type of intervention (dementia, disabilities, declining health, income limitations) the idea of moving to an assisted living facility can be quite appealing to everyone involved; especially when presented to the senior in the right way. Moving to a place that offers a variety of caregiving options, along with socialization, plus clean and inviting surroundings in a new environment can be a positive change.
  2. Caregiving - Bringing in professional caregivers can be an option, but only if the hoarding hasn't already become out of hand. Early intervention with family and friends to declutter and then bringing in a caregiver who can help the senior keep themselves and their home clean and presentable can be an option that rids the home of hoard while helping to maintain safe and clean surroundings.
  3. Professional Cleaning - In some cases, if the hoarding isn't addressed early enough it can result in the need for professional hoarding cleaning services & advice to bring the home up to safe & sanitary conditions; however, cleaning alone doesn't address the high probability of the hoarding problem returning.

The dangers of hoarding can be life threatening for anyone, but especially for seniors; creating unsanitary conditions and obvious fall risks. Seniors and hoarding needs to be addressed before the problem becomes too overwhelming for everyone involved. Photo by misteraitch

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