Hoarding: Elderly OCD?

Elderly Hoarding

We all have parents or relatives who struggle to part with what we think is useless junk. It might be a dull-looking party favor your mother never looks at, but when you pull it out to toss it in a trash bag, she tells you a whole story of a summer fling you never knew about. While the party favor has no monetary value, she becomes visibly upset at the thought of letting it go. This type of behavior is quite normal and alone does not constitute “elderly hoarding”.

However, when your loved one becomes upset at the thought of getting rid of something that has no story, no meaning behind it, or when piles of “saved” items start to accumulate and make the house a hazard, you may be looking at signs of hoarding. Here are a few tips to help you through:

  1. Enlist a cleaning crew.
  2. Set a date it has to be done.
  3. Work room by room.
  4. Assign tasks and develop a system.
  5. Set aside a place for each of the following:
    • Keepsakes and valuables
    • Charitables/donations
    • Trash

Read more about hoarding and the elderly at Care.com.