Thursday, October 27, 2011

Hoarding and the Elderly

Senior Thursday


Hoarding is the name given to behavior that is characterized by:
• The acquisition and failure to discard a large number of possessions that are useless or of limited value
• The accumulation of belongings to such a degree that they impact functioning and/or preclude the activity for which the space was designed; for example-- a bed cannot be slept upon or a tub cannot be used for bathing because they are used for storage
• When the quantity of items creates a potential hazard or puts people at risk

Hoarding does not begin suddenly. It takes years for items to accumulate to such a degree that they constitute hoarding. Some believe that hoarding increases among older adults as compensation for accumulated human losses. Others believe that hoarding only seems to be a bigger problem among the elderly because they have had more time to accumulate. As more and more cases of extreme hoarding in older adults come to light, hoarding among the elderly is being recognized as a significant problem.

Hoarding becomes a greater problem as individuals age. Floors in hoarders’ homes are normally covered with debris, and as balance and mobility decrease, the hoarded belongings become a significant risk factor for falls.

Most older adults have multiple chronic conditions that are impacted by hoarding as well. Medication compliance among hoarders is poor because pill containers get lost under mounds of clutter and pulmonary conditions are exacerbated by the dust. Frail older adults may be unable to receive needed assistance because most home care agencies will not provide services in hoarding situations until the unsafe conditions are remedied.

If you know an elderly person living under these conditions, call Prima ByDesign, Inc. (847-955-1822.) We can help declutter the senior's home, and perform a Senior Safety Home Assessment. Help prevent accidents.

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