Hoarding is a form of obsessive-compulsive disorder that makes people feel like they need to collect or hold onto an excessive amount of possessions. Though hoarding is often confused with being untidy, there are a few distinct behaviors that characterize this mental illness. When caregivers suspect that their loved ones have a hoarding problem, it’s important to check to see if they exhibit any of these five warning signs.
1. No Regard for Sanitation
Hoarders will not throw items out even if the items are collecting dust, spotted with rust and mold, or even decaying. As the hoarding progresses, seniors may find it difficult to clean, which is why it becomes easier for them to prioritize hoarding over maintaining a sanitary living environment.
2. Things Are Not Organized
Since most hoarding is not functional, items are not organized or stored in an orderly fashion. Things begin to be placed in random stacks of unrelated items rather than being grouped with similarly functional objects. You may find entire rooms filled with random items that serve no useful purpose together.
3. Home Is Not Functional
The stacks and piles of hoarded objects often overtake the main functional areas of the home. A hoarder may start using appliances and furniture to hold hoarded items instead of using them for their intended use. Additionally, these items take up so much space that it’s nearly impossible for seniors, family members, and respite caregivers in Altamonte Springs to navigate from room to room.
4. Seniors Become Defensive
Most hoarders recognize that their behavior is not common and this frequently leads to a sense of shame and defensiveness. If you bring up the conversation of hoarding or purging of the hoarded items, a hoarder often becomes agitated and defensive.
5. Removing Objects Causes Panic
Hoarders are faced with a compulsion to keep items just in case they may one day be useful. If you just start taking away hoarded items, your elderly loved one may become nervous or angry. In order to avoid a breakdown, it is best to take things slow when getting rid of hoarded items.
Initially, you should contact a psychiatrist to help your loved one realize the source of his or her hoarding tendencies. Additionally, you can turn to a trusted Altamonte Springs elderly care agency like Home Care Assistance to help your loved one maintain a safe and functional household. Our highly trained caregivers help seniors with all manner of daily activities including cleaning, laundry, personal care, and more. Call (407) 232-7155 today and let us customize a care plan for your loved one.