Understanding and Helping Seniors with Hoarding Issues

Concord home care

Learn how to help loved ones with hoarding issues.

Keeping seniors safe at home is the goal of our Concord home care team, and there are often sensitive issues that can cause safety and health problems in the home. Hoarding is a delicate, psychological issue that affects many senior loved ones, and oftentimes, people do not understand or know how to deal with hoarding properly.

Helping a loved one with hoarding issues means helping the person understand how his or her problem interferes in living the life he or she desires. This can be a powerful motivator, especially as it pertains to being able to live independently. Our Concord home care experts offer these sensitive solutions to help.

  • Don’t be judgmental: Like anyone else, people with hoarding issues are generally not receptive to negativity, and comments like “What a mess!” or “Who lives like this?” won’t help, and may even make the person more ashamed and depressed.
  • Help the person get motivated: When communicating with a hoarder, use language that reduces defensiveness and increases motivation to solve the problem, like, “I’m glad you’ve kept things out of the way to prevent slipping and falling.”
  • Highlight the person’s strengths: Everyone has strengths, and your ability to notice these strengths helps forge a good relationship and paves the way for resolving the hoarding problem. For example, say something like, “I see that you can easily access your bathroom sink and shower.” “What a beautiful painting!” “I can see how much you care about your cat.”
  • Be attentive to meaningful objects: While a box, lamp, or other object may seem like junk to you, it means something to the person who has kept it. Attention to objects with sentimental meaning or memorabilia from past experiences and life events can help you establish the trust necessary for continued work addressing a hoarding problem.
  • Focus first on safety and organization of possessions and later work on discarding: It will eventually be necessary to discuss cleaning out the person’s possessions at some point, but start small and work on safety, health, and organization at first.

If your senior loved one is struggling with hoarding issues, Hillendale Home Care’s Concord home care experts can help. See our full California home care service area. Contact us to learn more!