Hoarding behaviors tend to increase in people with dementia. Some seniors might have always had a tendency to hang on to their belongings, and the changes in their brains due to dementia can cause them to do so even more. Other seniors may begin to hoard objects in an effort to combat their fears of loss of control. Hoarding isn’t only messy, but it can also put seniors at risk for serious injuries and illnesses. These five strategies can help you address dementia-related hoarding without hurting your elderly loved one’s feelings.
1. Focus on Safety First
You might have the ultimate goal of clearing out your loved one’s home. However, you may need to plan the cleanup in stages. Starting with safety issues means you may not throw items away at first. Instead, you might move a pile of clutter from the staircase to a safer place in the home. This initial stage helps you keep your loved one safe while giving him or her time to adjust to the idea of someone moving his or her things around.
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 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.
2. Be Kind but Firm
The discovery of an accumulation of garbage or piles of clutter might leave you feeling disgusted, but it’s important to remember this is a sign of cognitive decline. Don’t blame your loved one for the mess. Instead, offer gentle reassurance that you’re merely trying to make it safer to age in place. If your loved one is in an early stage of dementia, you might be able to reason with him or her about what to do with specific objects. If not, you may need to begin handling your loved one’s things when he or she isn’t around.
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 home care services Rocklin, CA, families can trust. We also offer comprehensive care for seniors with dementia, Alzheimer’s, and Parkinson’s.
3. Create a Memory Box or Junk Drawer
People with dementia may respond better to cleanups when they have designated places to store their memorabilia. Pick out a memory box or junk drawer and let your loved one know he or she can keep personal things there. Having a special place to store sentimental belongings can give your loved one the sense of control he or she may be craving.
4. Make Sure Valuables Are Secure
Seniors with dementia may sometimes hide objects they deem to be valuable. For example, your loved one may conceal his or her checkbook in a strange place, such as under a mattress. Your loved one might also try to squirrel away jewelry, cash, and credit cards. If he or she has begun to do this already, choose a safe place to store these items. A lockbox in the home could help you keep essential items secure so you can find them when they’re needed.
5. Reduce the Inflow of Clutter
One of the biggest challenges with hoarding is stopping it from happening. You’ll need to continue to monitor your loved one’s environment, but you can also stop some clutter from making it into the home. Try intercepting junk mail and other forms of paper that can begin to build up quickly. You can also ask family members and other caregivers to be cautious about gifts and shopping trips that could bring more clutter into your loved one’s home.
Certain age-related conditions can make it more challenging for seniors to age in place safely and comfortably, but Rocklin 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. Call us today at (916) 226-3737 to learn about our high-quality in-home care services.