Mothers who say they will NOT be controlled.

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I am the only child to my 76yr old Mother, who although has never kept a clean home, has become a hoarder over the years. Spending addiction on anything regardless of the need. Taking in several animals, even wild animals at any cost.
This might be honorable, as I myself work in rescue, but with the house a mess, and nothing being spent on necessities, her home has been abandoned by Friends and Family who can no longer handle the smell or the mounting storage unit that her entire house has become. She was just bit by one of her cats. Arguments broke as I insisted she see a doctor. She eventually did, but with her spoiled childish attitude that no one is going to tell her how to live keeps me worried and frustrated. Impressed that she can still climb roofs and such, but it's past dangerous. Example. If there was a hole in her ceiling she will decorate and cover with sheets. If she won the lottery, she would not fix the hole, she would just go buy "nicer" very expensive sheets. Mother is not suffering from any clinical mental issues. She is sane. It's a power play. Any suggestions.


Oh no, Amy,

Your mom does not have all her marbles. Hoarding alone is classified as a mental illness now. See

Mom is not just childish; really, her personality and past behavior may be coloring what is happening now, but she is decompensating and making senseless excuses for her lapses in judgement because she does not realize and/or does not want to admit she has lost control. One of the things that happens is that someone who hates to throw things away also starts to forget what they already have and buys the same item over and over again because they like the item and think they need it - not just occasionally, but almost all the time. I saw this happen to my in-laws and one of my aunts - even her daughter did not realize that she was developing vascular dementia, because she could still do an easy crossword and would go to church and socialize a little.

The pubic health authorities have a right to tell any and all of us "how to live" when vermin and filth take over - I suppose that could be a reflection of oppositional defiant disorder, but it is probably more of a smokescreen.
Yes, I have considered everything mentioned. My concern is this behavior started long ago, also stems back from the war when she was young. Trying to get her to understand she doesn't need 4 freezers filled with food just for one person has always been an issue. Whatever it is has always been there, it's just getting worse!
Send her on vacation. Clean the house while she is gone. Get a dumpster, hire a professional to steam walls and rugs. Take before and after pictures.
leave her the hell alone . i aint much of a housekeeper myself but this is how i want to live and i dont need a snivelling welfare- to- work - loser - tw*t , home caregiver , blowing me her opinion of how it should be .
thats an elders worst nightmare .
Amylee, my parents were hoarders. When I came here the freezer and refrigerator were overflowing with food -- some of it 20 years old. The counters and cabinets were stacked to the ceiling. The table was covered. The dining room was crowded with boxes. Three rooms were barely passable, and that was after a hired hand spent a day cleaning out the hoard. A few weeks after I got here I faced the task of starting the de-hoard. It was a lot like the shows on TV. My mother had so much anger and anxiety that it almost defeated me. Strangely enough, after I started clearing things out, she became more cooperative. I think seeing the free space could have been its own reward. There are still two hoarding strongholds, but I don't worry so much about them.

I hope your mother will be like mine. Mine was mega-controlling and angry when I started cleaning, but changed fairly quickly. I would advise to try to get past the anger phase and see how it goes. Start with the things you think she will be most likely to let go, e.g. canned goods. And good luck!
im not a hoarder , im a minimalist and if somebody were to touch my fork id flip the hell out . theres only one in the house and it isnt lost thank you .
i have a polar pop cup too . seriously , dont fk with it .
Captain you are no hoarder and I am not much of a great housekeeper either. No time. Too much frustration when my whole weekend goes away into catching up laundry or cleaning the bath or the kitchen and its trashed the next day. My son thinks I am a hoarder and I might be if it weren't for recycling and Goodwill - I don't believe in throwing stuff out that can be re-used. BUT - here's the deal. My house does not stink, I don't let any mold grow anywhere, there is no place so cluttered we can't get to it, and we only have bugs when my son leaves old dishes and pizza boxes with food in his room and complains he does not want us in there to clean. And until last week when my son DID something with it, I knew where our duct tape was. There is a gray zone, and you and I are well on the good side of it, and it sounds to me like Amylee's mom is on the other side. Stenches that run people off and ceiling holes patched with tablecloths are beyond what I'd consider just idiosyncratic decorating ideas. Just my $0.02.
I agree with Captain, leave her alone. I too am a minimalist ... I've shopped at thrift stores for some 35 years ... and I'm not such a great housekeeper (kind of academic with 2 dogs and four cats in the house). Year 3 in this tiny old house and I'm almost finished sorting, trashing and getting gone what I don't use or need, however any materials or items that might be repurposed or used for another project go into the garage/shop. Growing a large garden this year, canning and getting chickens come spring. Planting some fruit trees and I want to learn how to make bread and wine. Returning to a simple lifestyle.
I'm not above picking stuff off the side of the road either. That's where the windows for my DIY greenhouse came from.
There are good points above from people who have been in your shoes. I'd take that into consideration.

I'd also read about how hoarding, which is a mental health issue, may go hand in hand with other things like dementia. And that if that is the case, relying on your mom to see the light, get on board, change her ways or accept change may not be likely. Not through her fault, but the brain's inability to do it.

People with mental health issues may say any number of things, but they often can't be taken seriously if it's the illness talking. I would imagine that based on the things she's doing, it would be difficult taking much of what she says seriously. Her grasp on reality may be very skewed. So, saying she won't be controlled, would not deter me or really influence my decision.

I suppose that I would try to work with her as best you can taking these excellent tips above into account and see how it goes. If it doesn't work, then I suspect that stronger steps would be needed and that's when it gets messy and outside help may be needed.

So, we all are controlled by something, even if we are not mentally impaired. There are ways to protect her from herself, if certain requirements are met. It's just a matter of the time, energy and effort involved.

I wonder if it would matter if we asked the hoarder, "How are we going to get this place into a safe condition? Will we do it the hard way or do it voluntarily?" It may not matter though, because they may not be capable of appreciating how that is possible.

Keep the conversation going (or start a new one)

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