Lear Blog

The Value Of Geriatric Care

Hoarding

  • April 19, 2018
  • learadmin
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Most of us like to hang onto mementos and have multiples of useful items for practical reasons or collectibles that give us pleasure, but every once in awhile we look at our garage, closet and/or attic and decide it is time to clean out and donate, discard or have a garage sale. When we or a family member can’t discard things that we are not using and have no meaning it might indicate that we are hoarding. For a hoarder getting rid of anything even if it is causing a safety hazard or unsanitary conditions creates excruciating anxiety.

Hoarding can be a symptom of mental illness, dementia, Alzheimer’s Disease, or Diogene Syndrome which can be brought on by dementia, or frontal lobe impairment. Those with Diogene Syndrome show extreme self neglect, domestic squalor, social withdrawal, apathy, an inability to discriminate between trash and something worth keeping along with a lack of shame.

As family members we may think that the best solution is to be proactive. We clean up and organize the hoarder’s home regardless of the hoarders protests thinking once it is done they will see that it was for the best. Unfortunately they will not see it that way and may alienate themselves refusing to accept help or even contact with you. First of all, consult a physician and see if there is a diagnosis of mental illness or dementia. Put together a plan of care with your family member’s physician and professionals who deal with this condition. It is very important to approach your family member with compassion and respect. It takes a great deal of patience and time to deal with a person suffering with this condition. Start small, work on small areas of clutter at a time, and applaud baby steps.

Resources: www.compulsive-hoarding.org / www.childrenofhoarders.com

In Dallas County: ADAPT Community Solutions (Mobile Crisis Team) / Crisis Line: 1-866-260-8000