Seniors with dementia sometimes collect or “hoard” things to manage stress or maintain what they perceive as order in their lives. At other times, hoarding happens because of memory issues or a preexisting love of collecting that’s no longer controllable. Regardless of why your senior loved one with dementia is hoarding, there are some ways you can handle this behavior.
Be Gentle When Bringing It Up
Realize hoarding is a compulsive behavior related to changes in the brain caused by dementia, although it can sometimes be temporary. Should you feel the need to bring it up, do so in a way that’s gentle and kind. If your loved one is still able to process reason and logic, you may be able to convince him or her to thin out his or her collections with this approach.
Focus on Harmful/Problematic Hoarding
If your loved one is hoarding things like tissues or knick knacks, this is more of an annoyance than anything serious. Instead, focus on hoarding behaviors that could be potentially harmful or problematic. You might need to do this by:
• Being more diligent about medication distribution and storage if you’re noticing pills being stashed away
• Switching to online bill paying for your loved one if he or she is hoarding mail and not paying bills
• Regularly cleaning your loved one’s fridge if he or she has a tendency to hoard food that can spoil
• Clearing clutter from pathways within the home
Older adults with dementia may have difficulty managing daily tasks safely. Caring for a senior loved one can be challenging for families who don’t have expertise or professional training in home care, but this challenge doesn’t have to be faced alone. Family caregivers can turn to Barrie Home Care Assistance for the help they need. We provide high-quality live-in and respite care as well as comprehensive Alzheimer’s, dementia, stroke, and Parkinson’s care.
Be Deceptive for Your Loved One’s Own Good
Even if hoarding isn’t immediately dangerous, it can get out of control over time, especially if closets are filled and various containers are overflowing. In situations like these, you may be able to discreetly thin out your parent’s collections. Doing so could avoid confrontations and other negative emotional reactions.
Provide Constructive Alternatives
Some forms of dementia are believed to be associated with frontal lobe deficits in the brain that result in a need for more stimulation to maintain focus. If this is the case for your loved one, you might be able to divert his or her attention with similar constructive or productive activities. Possibilities include:
• Organizing cupboards and drawers
• Labeling or sorting through family photos
• Collecting ingredients necessary to make various meals
If your senior loved one has been diagnosed with a serious condition and needs help with tasks like meal prep, transportation, bathing, and grooming, reach out to Home Care Assistance, a leading provider of homecare services families can trust. We also offer comprehensive care for seniors with dementia, Alzheimer’s, and Parkinson’s.
Suggest Creating Memory Boxes
Turn hoarding into an activity with some meaning by encouraging your loved one to create memory boxes using what he or she collects. This way, things can still be organized in some way, and you can keep track of them while providing care.
Secure Important Valuables
When seniors with dementia hoard, they sometimes do so indiscriminately, which may mean family members suddenly find themselves missing credit cards, jewelry, cash, and other valuables. If this is something your loved one does, get into the habit of securing anything valuable. If you’re concerned about family heirlooms and other valuables that can’t be easily stashed or stored, you may also have to lock certain rooms.
Talk to Your Loved One’s Doctor
If hoarding is seriously affecting your loved one’s quality of life, talk to his or her doctor. Some older adults with this dementia-related issue respond well to antipsychotics, antidepressants, and similar medications that may minimize compulsive behaviors.
Certain age-related conditions can make it more challenging for seniors to age in place safely and comfortably, but Barrie live-in care experts are available around the clock to help seniors manage their health. Whether your loved one is living with dementia or is recovering from a stroke, you can trust the professional live-in caregivers from Home Care Assistance to enhance his or her quality of life. Reach out to us at Home Care Assistance if you need compassionate, professional home care for your loved one. Call one of our dedicated Care Managers today at 647-970-3803 to learn about the high quality of our in-home care services.