Even though many people start developing hoarding habits as teenagers and young adults, some of the symptoms might not become apparent until later in life. Once seniors live alone and their professional responsibilities fade, they can lose control over their compulsive actions. Catching the early warning signs of hoarding can help family members and caregivers come up with comprehensive plans to help their aging loved ones.
- A Strong Urge to Save Meaningless Items
The most obvious sign of hoarding is having a difficult time throwing items away when they’re no longer needed. For example, your loved one might start keeping stacks of old newspapers or collecting food containers. If you suspect your loved one is starting to hoard, suggest tidying up the house instead of simply tossing out the old items he or she isn’t using.
Some seniors may need help with daily activities and housekeeping tasks. The type of elderly home care seniors need can vary. Some need assistance a few hours a day, while others require more extensive around-the-clock assistance. At Assisting Hands Home Care, we tailor our care plans based on each senior’s individual care needs, and the plans can be adjusted at any time.
- Difficulty Letting Go of Personal Possessions
Many seniors enjoy going through old personal possessions, but there may come a time when their actions seem compulsive. In addition to hoarding useless items such as newspapers, they might want to keep old clothing that no longer fits. Seniors who aren’t comfortable throwing items away or selling them might consider handing them down to family members or friends.
- Distress at the Thought of Getting Rid of Items
After family members or friends bring up the idea of getting rid of some items, many hoarders will immediately become defensive. When this happens, take a step back to prevent the situation from escalating. Aggressively approaching the problem could make your loved one more defensive.
- An Unsanitary Living Space
Caregivers should consider seeking professional help for their loved ones if their parents’ living areas are no longer sanitary and there are immediate health risks. Unsanitary conditions are dangerous, and they could also result in huge city fines due to pest infestations or danger to pets. Many towns have hoarding task forces sponsored by local health agencies that will step in and order a cleanup. While this might distress your loved one, his or her physical safety should be your primary concern.
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 in-home care. Potomac families trust Assisting Hands Home Care to help their elderly loved ones age in place safely and comfortably.
- Other Compulsive Behaviors
Hoarding can be a symptom of other mental health disorders that lead to compulsive behaviors. This includes a fear of going outside or the refusal to eat anything but one specific meal. As soon as you notice any other unusual behaviors, contact a mental health specialist. Therapists who specialize in treating hoarding behavior often host weekly support groups and counseling sessions to uncover the underlying causes.
The longer hoarding continues, the more difficult it becomes to stop, so don’t wait to reach out for help. Whether you need respite from your caregiving duties or your aging loved one needs 24-hour home care services, Potomac, MD, Assisting Hands Home Care can meet your family’s care needs. Our dedicated caregivers are available around the clock to provide transportation to doctor’s appointments, ensure seniors take their prescribed medications, and help with a variety of tasks in and outside the home. Call us at (301) 363-2580 to create a customized in-home care plan.