Getting used to the reality that a senior loved one may need help at home can be difficult. Even more challenging is speaking frankly about the need for home care with the senior and getting him or her to accept that assistance is needed. If you have spotted changes in your loved one and you’re sensing the need to start talking about home care as a possibility for maintaining safety and independence in the home, try these conversation starters to broach the topic in a delicate, non-confrontational way: Continue Reading →
Do you know an older adult who struggles with hoarding? Is the situation becoming more and more challenging to manage? Are you worried about the senior’s safety?
Compulsive or pathological hoarding, also known as disposophobia, is a great deal more involved than simply collecting or living with clutter. It is an extreme accumulation of items, regardless of whether or not these objects have any use or value. The idea of giving away or getting rid of any of these items, even if they’re trash, leads to extreme anxiety and stress.
At New Horizons In-Home Care, we recognize that senior hoarding leads to a number of difficulties. An excess of objects in a senior’s home may lead to issues with hygiene – both in the home itself and with personal hygiene if cleaning facilities are blocked. Extreme clutter can exacerbate social isolation, resulting from the senior’s shame about the state of the home along with his or her inability to clean up enough to go out. And, the clutter may raise a significant safety hazard. Clutter can cause falls, damage home foundations, and block exits in the event of an emergency.
Helping someone who has problems with senior hoarding is a challenge. Older adults who hoard attach an exaggerated degree of value to the belongings they own, regardless of how worthless they may appear to others. Getting rid of anything at all can be tremendously painful.
If a senior you love is struggling with hoarding, these tips can help get things under control:
Never judge the senior. Although it may be difficult, if the senior does not feel judged, she or he may be more inclined to work with you on the hoarding issue. Avoid statements such as “What a mess!” or “How can you possibly live like this?”
Use only encouraging language. If you see progress of any kind, no matter how small, such as a pathway from one room to the next that is wider than it was before, point out to the senior how proud you are that the area is less dangerous now. If you notice a trash bag ready to be taken out, tell the senior that this is excellent progress. Whenever there is an opportunity to offer a compliment, do so: “I can’t imagine how hard it was to fill that trash bag. I’m so pleased that you were able to do that.” You can even point out the nice things in the home, such as a pretty painting, or a unique knick-knack.
Never argue. Those who hoard have their reasoning, and arguing will often lead to them ending the discussion. You do not have to agree with what the senior says, but by arguing, the person may become defensive, moving further away from a solution. If an argument is imminent, it may be time to take a walk around the block or call it a day.
Realize that some things are just too important for the senior to part with. When cleaning up a home, it is essential to bear in mind that not every single item has to go. Most of us have certain possessions that are especially meaningful to us. Acknowledge and accept this.
New Horizons In-Home Care, the Oregon home care professionals, understand firsthand what hoarding can do, and our knowledgeable care staff know how to help. We offer a full range of in-home services that include friendly companionship to help older adults feel accepted and socially involved. Contact us for a professional in-home consultation and to learn more about how we can help a senior you love.
“I definitely do NOT need to move to an assisted living facility!” This is a common sentiment proclaimed by many older adults, even when they begin to struggle with managing tasks at home independently. And who can blame them? Home is where we all feel safe and secure, and older adults are no exception. They’re familiar with where everything is located and they enjoy following their own particular routines. They may have friends and family living nearby, who add to their quality of life. Nonetheless, if you are beginning to feel concerned that a senior loved one’s safety at home may be compromised, it may be time to look into help at home.
The questions listed below, courtesy of the Oregon home care experts at New Horizons In-Home Care, will help you determine whether your loved one is as safe as possible, or if the senior might benefit from some additional assistance at home:
- Has the older person lost weight unintentionally within the past few months?
- Can she manage grocery shopping and planning and preparing healthy meals?
- Does she practice safety in the kitchen, such as remembering to turn off the stove?
- Has she been complaining about the way food tastes?
- Is she drinking sufficient amounts of water along with other fluids throughout each day to prevent dehydration, particularly during the warmer summer months?
- Is the senior properly keeping up her personal hygiene?
- Can she manage the tasks of laundry, bathing, grooming, and using the toilet appropriately?
- Does the senior take medications?
- Is she remembering to take them exactly when and how they are prescribed?
- Can she read and understand medication labels, and does she know what each medicine is for?
- Is she physically able to swallow pills, or otherwise take them as recommended (for instance, creams, liquids, crushed or broken pills, etc.)?
- Is the home free of clutter, which can present a tripping and falling hazard?
- Could the older person call for help if she were to fall?
- Are there grab bars in the bathroom, and are handrails on stairways attached securely?
- Is there adequate lighting to allow her to safely get up during the night to go to the bathroom or kitchen?
- Have you seen any cuts, bruises, scrapes, or burns that could have been caused by a fall or another unexplained accident?
- Is the kitchen clean and safe for preparing food?
Emotional, Cognitive, and Psychological Issues
- Does the older adult appear to be depressed or anxious?
- Is she remaining socially active as often as possible?
- If she is religious, is she attending services or programs that are of interest to her?
- Is she enjoying hobbies that have interested her in the past?
- Is she having memory problems? Unusually loud or distressed?
- Are her financial matters in order?
Discovering the answers to questions like these might seem daunting, but New Horizons In-Home Care is here to help. Our knowledgeable Oregon home care team can assess your loved one’s situation and recommend solutions, offering you and your loved one peace of mind. Our expertly trained and experienced home care staff can provide a wide range of home care services, including companionship, light housekeeping tasks, preparing healthy meals, and so much more.
Contact us at 541-687-8851 in Eugene, 541-752-9059 in Corvallis, 503-400-3000 in Salem, or 541-997-8115 in Florence to request an in-home assessment, and find out how our expert care staff can provide the help at home needed to keep seniors safe and thriving.
Alzheimer’s Association caregiver support groups are conducted by trained facilitators and are a safe place for caregivers, family and friends of persons with dementia. These groups help caregivers develop a support sys-tem, allow members to exchange practical information on caregiving challenges and possible solutions, and talk through issues and ways of coping, as well as share feelings, needs and concerns. They are also a place to learn about outside community resources.
See attached pages for a complete listing of our caregiver support group in Lane and Douglas counties.
April 1, 2019
Making Your Home Safe for Loved Ones With Alzheimer’s
If you are becoming the caregiver of a loved one who has Alzheimer’s, you know you need to make some changes. One of the first places you’ll need to start is your home. Use these helpful tips to help make your home safer and more secure for your loved one Continue Reading →
Apr 26, 2018
Advice and Accessories to Help You and Your New Dog Start Strong
Have you always wanted a reliable exercise buddy who’s always eager to join you for a long walk and never has scheduling conflicts? If so, you could be a perfect candidate for a canine companion Continue Reading →
Sleep Disturbances in Patients With Dementia
Often, patients with dementia experience poor sleep. At the same time, patients who are diagnosed with some sleep disorders are more likely to develop the symptoms of dementia.
Sleep Disturbances Common in Dementia Patients
Sleep difficulties are frequently experienced by dementia patients, including Continue Reading →
Life passes us by quickly and before we know it, our children have grown up and we have gotten older. Becoming an elderly person means having many additional needs that need to be addressed that aren’t a part of being a younger person. This is where we get into “Geriatric care.” Geriatric care is defined as Continue Reading →