I am concerned my mother is a hoarder. What do I do?

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My mother is a healthy 85 year old living in her own home and very active. My concern is that she is a hoarder. Ideas?

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This is so hard and frustrating. I know you must be thinking "where would we start?" As long as she is okay alone, you may not be able to do anything. The hoarding won't go away. If she needs to move to assisted living or something similar, please consider looking for a senior mover who is used to handling these issues. It takes some of the family dynamic out of the process. People don't want to separate from years of possessions. it's very hard.

Carol
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How do I locate "a senior mover"? Could you clarify that term for me, please? We have thought about hiring someone who could come in and sit with her while she sorted some things like recipes as a motivator and companion so the task would be more pleasant, but we live in another state and have not been able to locate any type of company that offers these types of services. We would also like to find someone who would coordinate snow removal, yard up-keep, maintenance and small repairs, but again have not been able to locate someone to help coordinate this in the area where she lives. Do such companies exist? Thanks.
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Hi CJP,
I kind of laughed when I saw this, only b/c my dad is 85, living at home and is a hoarder. There are areas of the house that are fine b/c he knows my Mom will only let him go so far. He has filled up a shed and greenhouse in the backyard. One bedroom, an office and laundry room, My brothers and sisters met this weekend about my parents in general and agree that with the exception of one area, the stuff is just going to stay there til he dies or moves. We'll just bring in a dumpster and throw it all in at that point. He would attach value to everything, even if he has not used it in 30 years, so having him sort through things is just not reasonable.

As far as your other needs, can you go to her church or a near by church and ask for a name of someone that can help with those tasks? Also, my brother in law is a fireman and almost every fireman has a part time job. When I need something done I can usually ask him and he will have the name of another fireman that does that work. They are ALWAYS reasonable and very, very nice. You could call or go to her local fire dept. and let them know what you need. Sounds odd but I know they could help.

Best of luck to you.
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I understand your concerns. My mother is 82, is active, and is a hoarder. She lives in a large house by herself and just continues to add more and more "stuff" to her house and will not part with anything.( She has my school uniforms from 1969.} I have tried many ways to help Mom, but she just does not want to release things. We have had battles over this issue, so I have decided to stick to the most important issues. If there appears to be a fire hazard, I offer help or just handle it. I am giving her a birthday surprise by asking nieces and nephews to help me decorate and organize her large porch. I have found that a surprise present of this type from grandchildren seems to be acceptable to my mother. We never throw away anything that belongs to her and we keep a list of where we put things. I think fear of not having something that is needed is a part of adults who lived through the Depression, and I try to respect this need. I have to say, though, that I get very frustrated and concerned at times over the hoarding situation. I don't know that it is something that can be "fixed" unless the hoarder sees a reason for change. Best wishes!
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My mom does the same thing and has for years. They live in a 2 story (plus attic) farm house, and we will have truckloads to haul away when they are gone. Besides the Depression era frugality, I think in recent years she has saved so many scraps of paper (newsletters, obits, legalese from credit card companies) because she knew her memory was going and she needed these things to remind her.
If she is given some bounded choices and some control in the matter, maybe you can help her sort through some things. I ask Mom if we can discard the unread parts of newspapers since the news is old, but save the obit page for her since she seems to need to read that. If I explain what the information sent out from companies means and tell her why we don't need to keep it, or remind her we can find info on the internet, in her reasonable times she agrees and lets those things go.
When my elderly aunt sold her house after 50+ years and moved to AZ, we were blessed that her realtors helped her sort through her things, hauled some away and helped us put on a yard sale. If you find someone who advertises in senior citizen publications, they may help go the extra mile because they are used to this situation.
Try the Council on Aging (or similar agencies) in your mother's community or county--they should have lists of helpful referral agencies and organizations. Best wishes to you...
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