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5 Warning Signs of Hoarding Habits in Seniors

By Melissa Hill, 9:00 am on

Hoarding is a mental disorder that can affect people of all ages. Recognizing the early signs of hoarding is the most effective way to prevent consequences of the disorder.

Seniors can face a variety of challenges as they age, many of which can be mitigated with the help of professional in-home caregivers who provide high-quality at-home senior care. Oklahoma families trust in Home Care Assistance to help their elderly loved ones age in place safely and comfortably.

If you believe your loved one has a hoarding problem, look for these warning signs.

1. Too Much Clutter

Your loved one may hesitate when getting rid of items, even if the items don’t have any emotional or financial value. Refusing to discard items like junk mail is a common sign of hoarding. Seek professional assistance from a licensed therapist if you notice your loved one is having difficulty getting rid of useless items.

2. Chaotic Organization

Hoarders often have difficulty organizing their items. If you notice excessive disorganization in your loved one’s home, volunteer to help him or her organize it. A refusal to organize cluttered spaces may be an early sign of hoarding that requires a professional evaluation.

If you are unable to remove the clutter yourself, consider hiring a caregiver. Family caregivers sometimes need a break from their caregiving responsibilities. When they need respite care, Oklahoma families can rely on professional caregivers to help their senior loved ones remain safe at home.

3. Unusable Living Spaces

One of the more serious signs of hoarding is an inaccessible room. This may begin in a guest room or spare bathroom, but items may also be filling the living room and kitchen. Walk through your loved one’s home on a regular basis to look for spaces that may hide hoarded items, including basements, attics, and closets.

4. Expired Food

Food hoarding is common among the elderly, especially for those who lived through financially difficult times. Check your loved one’s pantry and refrigerator for expired or unusable food on a regular basis, especially if he or she requests an additional refrigerator to store food. If your loved one seems unwilling to discard potentially dangerous foods, seek help from a professional. 

5. Too Many Animals

Pet hoarding is also common and can pose serious health risks if there is animal waste inside the home. Animal hoarding starts out slowly. Over time, your loved one may adopt so many pets that he or she is unable to care for them. Animal hoarding is usually easy to identify by the increasing number of pets in the home. Taking immediate steps to find treatment for your loved one can prevent serious illnesses.

Early identification and prompt treatment is the most effective way to help your loved one manage OCD-related hoarding for a healthier, happier home. Many seniors with Alzheimer’s experience an increased urge to hoard. If your elderly loved one is living with Alzheimer’s and needs help managing the symptoms, turn to Home Care Assistance, a leading provider of Alzheimer’s care. Oklahoma seniors can rely on our revolutionary Cognitive Therapeutics Method (CTM), an activities-based program that helps slow cognitive decline and delay the onset of Alzheimer’s disease. CTM also encourages seniors to engage with others in an enjoyable way and helps them build new routines to look forward to. Call us at 405-285-4191 today and let us help your senior loved one achieve the physical and emotional wellbeing he or she deserves.