A hoarding senior who needs a walker is not a safe combination. As hoarders age, the clutter can make a senior fall. It can be practically impossible for an emergency crew to extract a fallen senior out of living room that is piled high with paper, extra furniture and trash. I know of a senior in my former senior living community that was wedged in between tiny pathways of books, magazines, unopened mail and clothing.
A friend of mine is dealing with a senior hoarding situation. Her father-in-law can only navigate through four rooms and has to climb over stuff to get into his bed. This gentleman is 98 years old with dementia and requires a walker.
Recently he injured his leg on a lawn mower that was in his living room. (You can’t make up this stuff.) More trip hazards included extension cords laying on the floor and throw rugs. Whenever his son tries to get rid of stuff the dad refuses. So there are three sofas in the living room and none are accessible. The son bought his dad a new flat screen TV and VCR. The new gifts were duct taped on top of the broken TV and VCR. When the dad received a new recliner for Christmas, it was positioned next to the old run down model. Every attempt to declutter is met with an irate senior who refuses to part with anything.
He should not be in this cluttery filthy home with a walker. A daughter is enabling him by bringing him groceries and medicine. There are piles of crap everywhere and you can barely make it from the chair in the living room to the kitchen.
Hoarders do vary. Some have the kitchen counters covered with expired food items. Green stuff is growing in the refrigerator. It’s a sickness. You cannot correct the problem by cleaning up for them once or twice. You can help make their environment safer on a temporary basis. But hoarding is an illness and they cannot stop until you get to the root cause of the hoarding. You cannot project your common sense on them.
Is your parent a hoarder? My mom collected bags and napkins. When I cleaned out my mom’s home, she literally had 17 black trash bags filled with bags. Wow! Have you had a hoarder move into your senior living community? What happened? Were they able to downsize their stuff?
Photo by Melody Komyerov.
With experience as both an industry expert and a loving daughter, Diane Twohy Masson is passionate about helping seniors find the retirement community that fits their price range, lifestyle, and needs. Her new guidebook offers a proactive approach to navigating the complex maze of senior housing options. It will help you understand the costs and consequences of the various possibilities, from home care to independent living, assisted living, group homes, memory care, and skilled nursing-care facilities.
“Your Senior Housing Options,” will be coming soon to Amazon.com. If you sign up for my weekly newsletter on the right side of this blog, you will be notified when my new book becomes available. Check out my new website: Tips2Seniors.com or please follow me on Facebook.
Diane Twohy Masson is the author of “Senior Housing Marketing – How to Increase Your Occupancy and Stay Full,” available at Amazon.com with a 5-star rating. The book is required reading at George Mason University as a part of its marketing curriculum. Within this book, the author developed a sales & marketing method with 12 keys to help senior living providers increase their occupancy.