Follow
Share

His home was hording conditions when he became ill. He brings home trash and food he's found in the trash. He tries to hide it from us but we are on to him. Dr. has spoken to him of the health concern but will not stop obsessing about trash.

This question has been closed for answers. Ask a New Question.
Find Care & Housing
Adding to my previous comment. Because my mother lived in her neighborhood for 45 years, she was somewhat protected by people who recognized her daily garbage collecting habit. Others thought she was a harmless homeless person. Some well-meaning sympathizers would even help her carry the heavy garbage bags to the door. When I decided to take control, I nicely but assertively told them to stop. (I think some people even used her to get rid of their own garbage.) They stopped. Pstiegman is correct that some people born during the Great Depression, Holocaust survivors and others who have known very lean times may become hoarders. My mother was bitter after a divorce and later lost three children. I suspect any of this could have triggered the hoarding and dementia. My mother is someone who would NEVER accept professional counseling. One time a construction worker saw her collecting garbage and phoned the police. I'm sure his intentions were good. A neighbor alerted me that she was two blocks away and I rushed there to find my mother being questioned by an ambulance EMS worker. When I tried to explain, the EMS worker took inside the ambulance and asked if she was being abused, deprived, etc. I stood outside nervously knowing that my mother might answer yes to anything. Fortunately the EMS worker allowed me to take her home. That was another "Aha moment" when I knew that I could not continue to indulge the hoarding to spare my mother's feelings and avoid arguments by simply tossing her garbage when she was asleep. The law and Adult Protective Services could have become involved with serious consequences. I write because I have been through so much, and empathize and sympathize with the writer. As she has aged (a fairly physically strong 93-year old) my mother is less argumentative. I HAD to take control. This role reversal is the hardest thing I've ever done in my life. I've been her sole caregiver for eight years. Every single day is a challenge. Just when I think I've got one strange habit under control, she develops another. I make another adjustment. Do what you have to do for YOUR and your FIL's situation. I do not believe there is a one-size-fits-all answer for anybody. Bless you.
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

Children born during the Great Depression of the 1930's are deeply imprinted with the deprivation they survived while seeing others die. They hoard whatever they can, the fear of starvation has never left them. You should ask the police to keep an eye out for him, and possibly have him taken in for a full neuro-psych evaluation.
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

My mother did this for years. When I relocated to be her caregiver, at first I'd stash the trash in a closet and then put it out for garbage collection when she was asleep. That went on for two years until I just could not take it anymore. My back ached from hauling trash. Buying insecticide, disinfectant, contractor bags, bleach, etc. was expensive. I feared that some mean person would hurt her or she pick up poison or an infected needle. She collected anything and everything. I decided I had to take control regardless of her feelings because, supposedly, I was the sane one and I was letting the tail wag the dog. I no longer allow my mother outside and created a nice space for her in the backyard. She'd go through the garbage there, completely ignoring the flowers. In the house she'd stash discarded food scraps from the kitchen garbage can. I have since moved garbage cans so she doesn't have access and put a lock on the door. Yes, it's odd having a kitchen garbage can in the foyer, but that's how I have to function. My mother used the excuse that her doctor wanted her to walk for exercise. Her sole purpose was to collect garbage. All I am saying is that if your FIL does not have access to garbage he cannot hoard. If my mother were allowed outside today, she would resume her hoarding. My advice is that you make this situation work for YOU -- the sane one. If you do not take control you will slip into your FIL's insanity and depression. (Watch the TV show "Hoarders" and you will see that some of the children of hoarders become hoarders themselves, depressed and antisocial.) Wishing the best of luck!
Helpful Answer (2)
Report

There are medications to control obsessions and unless he used to work for the CIA, hoarding is an illness that can be helped. Get him help from a psychologist who specializes in hoarding.
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

Hard to stop. If there is a pattern; where he does this early in the day on trash day, etc.; maybe divert him by taking him that morning to senior center or other activity. Maybe he can be a morning "mall walker" where you drop him off at the mall or some other elder is willing to pick him up.

You might also enlist a few neighbors that you know and trust to watch out for him and then walk out and give him a gentle "scolding" that scares him away from going thru their trash anymore.

Lastly, maybe therapy might help; but that is a long term process anyway and likely not a quick fix for you. Your other option might be to purchase (with his funds) a small shed for outside that he can keep all his "treasures" in. Then make sure you go thru it occassionally to purge (when he's not looking) especially any food that might draw pests. At least it will be out of your house.
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

My husband was a hoarder for years - it was probably an unrecognized early symptom of his dementia. However, he can no longer be left unattended so he is not bringing in new things. However, the house is still cluttered with many useless things he would never throw away, including empty pill bottles, bills from 10 years ago, etc. These days when he is at his day program or sleeping, I take large leaf bags and throw lots of useless stuff away. As long as he doesn't actually see me doing it, there is no problem because he really has no idea what he has.
Helpful Answer (3)
Report

How about filling some trash cans in your own back yard with clean 'stuff'. You can use magazines, newspapers, cardboard, etc - but include some treasures for him to find. You might find some things at a thrift shop, or if he doesn't remember what he's got you can reuse things he has collected in the past. This will hopefully satisfy his need while keeping him safer and at home.
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

This question has been closed for answers. Ask a New Question.