Living Just Got Easier

When Clutter Becomes Hoarding for Aging Adults


Has anybody seen Mom’s cat?

I knew we were facing an obstacle when it took 20 minutes to find Mom’s cat.  We were visiting Mom for the weekend, and after we arrived we noticed that her closest companion Felix wasn’t anywhere to be seen.  When asked where he was, Mom replied “I haven’t seen him today but he’ll be around.”


We began looking around for Felix, and after searching and calling out for 20-minutes we discovered that we were facing a much bigger issue.  Looking in bedrooms and spare rooms that we normally don’t look into, we found that Mom had been holding onto things to the point that it was becoming unsafe for her.  One room was filled with newspapers and magazines almost to the point where you couldn’t walk into the room.  When asked, Mom replied that she simply did not have the time or energy to clean these rooms up and didn’t want to bother us.

Realizing that Mom’s collecting could easily turn into a much more unsafe living situation for her, we decided to stay longer than the weekend to help her get organized.  We started to question what more we could do?  


According to an article shared through a National Institutes of Health newsletter, the following 4 tips can help with approaching the topic of hoarding with a loved one.

  • Try to be gentle, calm and patient when bringing up this topic. It may take several conversations before the person agrees to work on the problem.


  • Try not to start an argument! Arguing can make matters worse.



  • Suggest joining an online support group. Often individuals who are afraid to share their struggles may open up when they realize they’re not the only one. A great online support group option is East TN Support Group on Facebook.


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Written collectively by our team members: Kim, Samantha, Dawn, Doug, & Kipp.

Tags: relationships, dementia, cleaning, in home care, clutter, hoarding

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