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Hoarding Help from New Horizons In-Home Care’s Oregon Home Care Experts

woman with cardboard boxes

Find help for a senior struggling with hoarding issues.

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.

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J. M. May 4, 2020

Eugene, Or Client
The people I've worked with have been so straightforward and honest. They really care about how it's going. The caregiver is very understanding, knowledgeable. He can see ahead and makes some suggestions. I can leave if I need without the least bit of worry. He is really proactive, I know he cares and trust him impeccably.

Pamela V. April 9, 2020

Eugene, Or Client
I like how nice the caregivers are. The office staff is prompt on getting somebody out here when it is needed and the caregivers make me feel better than what I am. They are willing to do anything I ask of them.

Barbara W. February 2, 2020

Corvallis, Or Client
We are happy to have them because they do well. They come when they are supposed to and do what they are supposed to. They do things that we didn't know we needed. They assess the situation well and plan for the right care. They are very dependable and thorough and are very friendly and helpful. We're very satisfied.

Candice S. April 1, 2020

Salem, Or Client
They are very helpful and on time with things. They do what they say they are going to do. They will talk to me and help me when needed. I don't have to wait forever to pick up my calls and they are quick to get back to me. It has been positive.

Sharon R. April 01, 2020

Salem, Or Client
The caregivers will do anything that we ask of them. They have been very convenient. and are able to be here and do things for us that we cannot do.

O.H. February 14, 2020

Eugene, Or Client
The caregiver they sent me is awesome. People in the office staff are friendly and they know what they are talking about. The case manager, is a wonderful person and she knows her job. If I need something, all I have to do is call them.

Mary B. April 01, 2020

Eugene, Or Client
It has taken a great load off of our shoulders, especially mine. It has helped my health as well and gives my husband some social time. They are really good at scheduling around our schedule and are matched very well to his needs. We always recommend them to others who need care.

Denise B. March 02, 2020

Salem, Or Client
My caregiver is wonderful. I wish I could have more time. They do so much for me that I can't do for myself. They spend a few minutes to talk with me and be social. They are very open, caring, patient, outgoing, understanding, and kind people. If I need help with anything they will always help me. They are so helpful. I don't know what I'd do without their services.

Gail P. February 13, 2020

Florence Or,
The office staff found the right person for us. They check in regularly. What we need is someone who could do the cleaning and we have that. I like the fact that they have provided the kind of assistance that we needed. The caregiver we have is excellent.

Barbara N. February 12, 2020

Eugene, Or Client
They are courteous, respectful, and serve good food, and do everything we ask. They did all of their duties and everything was done in a timely manner. They were very helpful.
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