Helping Seniors Declutter Their Homes

Convincing parents to downsize can be a real challenge. Getting rid of clutter may be exciting to you, but decluttering for seniors can feel more like a time of loss. While planning downsizing for elderly parents, remember that each item represents an important part of their history or family legacy. With that in mind, here are some decluttering tips for seniors and some ideas that can help you manage elderly hoarding behavior.

Why Seniors Hold on to Items

Clutter is a common problem among the elderly. If you want to help your loved one downsize, it’s important to understand how hoarding starts and some of the reasons for geriatric hoarding. Elderly hoarding syndrome tends to occur because of the following:

  • Some hoarders have Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder
  • Letting go gives them the impression that they’re much closer to their death
  • Many don’t understand that letting go does not signify a loss but creates more room for safer living
  • Most of the items that people decide to hoard represent a strong sense of history and legacy
  • Loneliness and fatigue that make seniors choose to hold on to items

Steps to Take to Begin Helping Your Loved One

You need to have a plan when you want to help seniors declutter their home. Here are some steps that work:

  • Go around the house and take inventory of all the cluttered areas.
  • Make a list of what you think will need to be done.
  • Separate areas that your loved one may be able to handle on their own like their cedar chest or clothes closet.
  • Read through your list and rearrange the areas in the order you’d like to tackle them.
  • Get the support of other family members — some may be willing to keep some of the items to preserve the family legacy.
  • Consult an antique dealer in your community to know the prices of some of the old items you can sell.
  • Get help from a professional organizer if you notice your loved one seems to be obsessed with hoarding their belongings.

Tips for Talking to Loved Ones

If you feel your senior loved one wants to hoard their stuff, you need to approach the issue in a subtle and gentle way. These tips will help you make your loved one feel good about giving their stuff away:

  • Let all trusted family members and friends be around when you’re helping them clear the clutter.
  • Ask others to share nice memories about some of the items so the process will be less stressful.
  • Have a trusted advisor on senior issues help you decide what to give up and what to take along to an assisted living facility.
  • Let a professional address the fears and anxieties your loved one may have about their new home.

How to Deter Behavior If Hoarding Starts

Complete the following steps if you notice hoarding:

  • Help your loved one deal with loneliness by getting a caregiver or home assistant.
  • Reduce fatigue for your elderly loved one since it triggers hoarding and clutter.
  • Enlist the help of a professional organizer if the stuff is becoming too difficult for your loved one to handle.
  • Encourage your loved one in a caring and loving way to work with you. They can gradually organize and give away some of their stuff.

How Senior Home Care Can Combat Clutter

Pulling a professional in can help your loved one overcome their hoarding behaviors. Trained home caregivers can easily detect elderly hoarding syndrome. They can help their clients organize items in closets and other ideal areas. Home care professionals can also show seniors the dangers of hoarding and how it can negatively impact their health and well-being.

Contact CareGivers of America Today

CareGivers of America has expert home caregivers who know how to help the elderly avoid or overcome hoarding. In addition to helping organize the home, they also know how to encourage the elderly and their children to declutter for health and safety. Take the next step and learn more details about our special home care service.