How To Fix Hoarding Disorder In Our Elderly

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How To Fix Hoarding Disorder In Our Elderly

 

It is a disorder pretty complex in nature. And haunts majority of our elderly parents. It is a disease which is yet to be fully understood by health professionals. However, with whatever the medical community has stated. Hoarding disorder is spells of compulsive behavior. It comes in many forms: shopping, gathering clutters, searching or acquiring. Such a condition brings along safety issues at home. Both for our elderly and their caregivers.
Hoarding disorder was unknown. Until the American Psychiatric Association included this condition as a separate illness. And documented it in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual – 5, with a hope to improve awareness.

Understanding the disorder

It is a condition where our senior loved one develop a habit of acquiring clutter all around them. They believe that the things they are gathering will be useful to them sometime in the future. As a result, they do not allow anyone to dispose of any items and end up creating a total mess around them. Seniors may even say that they hold sentimental value to the things that they have gathered. Whatever the case, it is a serious issue. And can have serious consequences, if not controlled at the right time.

Risk factors of hoarding disorder

Hoarding disorder can be a sudden development. Or may gradually develop over a period of years. The following are risk factors for hoarding disorder:
  • Social isolation. Identified as one of the major risk factors for hoarding disorder. Seniors who have the habit of hoarding are usually socially withdrawn. The lack of interaction with family and friends. Often cause our seniors to become stressed and depressed. This then further causes them to hoard unusual and unwanted things.
  • Alcohol abuse. Research has assumed that about 50% of hoarders are suffering from alcohol dependency.
  • Family history. Hoarding disorder runs in families.
  • Life events. Unfortunate life events often are a major cause of stress for our elderly loved ones. This then leads to the development of hoarding disorder.

How to tell if your elderly loved one has hoarding disorder

Before you label your senior loved one to be a hoarder. Hoarding disorder is completely different from the simple act of collecting things. In order to recognize someone with a hoarding disorder. Look for the following signs and symptoms:
  • Collecting random items that are of no use.
  • Showing displeasure when someone asks them to dispose of these items.
  • Showing obsessiveness towards shopping and collecting things.
  • Not allowing any family member or friends into their living room.
  • Lack of space inside home due to the collection of clutter everywhere. Unhygienic conditions inside room and bathroom. Kitchen appliances appear to be dirty.
  • Keeping too many pets in the home than they can actually care for.

Consequences of hoarding disorder in elderly

Hoarding is a common problem amongst the elderly population. Not realizing the seriousness of the issue is one of the major mistake caregivers make. Hoarding disorder is a major issue and can have grave consequences. Talking to your loved one is going to be difficult. Addressing the problem is a priority to prevent further deterioration of mental health.
 
Therefore, keeping in mind the well-being of your senior parents. Seeking professional help is most important. Doctors might advise medications, to begin with, in combination with cognitive behavioral therapy. However, it is not wise to expect miracles to happen overnight. Positive change may take months or even years to happen.

Tips to fix hoarding

Meanwhile, caregivers can follow some of the tips. To fix hoarding disorder in their elderly loved one:
  • Talk to your parent. It is necessary to discuss with your parents about the problem of hoarding. If they are ready to give in, it is best to offer help.
  • Seek permission. It is important for you to take the permission of your parents before you throw out anything. Even meaningless things may have sentimental value and you need to respect it.
  • Start the program of clutter clearing at a slow pace. If you wish to accomplish the mammoth task at one go, then it would do more harm than any good for your senior loved ones.
  • Formulate a crew. You need to formulate a crew for the cleaning process. Without the help of a crew, it is almost impossible to take up the task.
  • Schedule a date. This is going to be a more difficult task than actually cleaning up an entire mess. However, this needs to happen. So, schedule a date and time to take this on.
  • Take up each room one by one. You cannot expect to clean all the rooms at one go. The best idea would be to take each room at a time and begin clearing up the clutter.
Hoarding disorder can go unnoticed in the early stages. However, recognizing the signs and symptoms in the early stages can go a long way. in timely initiation of treatment.
How To Fix Hoarding Disorder In Our Elderly

1 thought on “How To Fix Hoarding Disorder In Our Elderly

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