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It looks like a bomb has went off. Years worth of mail just scattered all over the floors. I mean every room. Tools, books, the whole house is a mess. He gets angry and will not let anyone help or clean up things believe me we have tried for years. I have considered calling adult protective services just to come look at the home and help move him out of there. He could well afford to go to a nice assisted care facility, did I mention he has a person come in 5 hours a day but will not let her do anything either except run him to stores to buy more things he does not need, I am at wits end as to what to do. Help need suggestions or an agency I can call for help.

I am my cousins health care rep and I will tell you her place was a pig pen to say the least. I told her and the nurses after her rehab, if I was going to be her health care rep she had better clean up her act. I had a meeting with the building manager and told her I want her to do inspections every week for awhile. She hired a housekeeper at my request. Well, I guess that is what it took to get her place clean. Her apartment is clean and neat. She has more company visiting her. I go over with my mom and family to check up on her living situation, and we can actually get through the place and sit down. Be firm, and explain you will get outside assistance if necessary. It worked for me. I also spent 8 hours with family throwing out food from a year ago and other food items. Tough love!
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Reply to earlybird
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So, I totally disagree with everyone that says this is clearly mental illness or dementia.

Some people are comfortable with a lot of mess and stuff, they quite frankly have better things to do. I used to be OCD about keeping my house spotlessly clean, I was actually a prisoner to the whole neat freak situation. What I realized was that my house owned me and I was sacrificing my wellbeing trying to accomplish perfection. No such thing. When I stopped spending every second worrying about stuff, I actually felt better. I still hate clutter and a mess. But I don't have to oil the baseboards to feel like I vacuumed the house.

My mom is a hoarder, like the kind you see on TV and I was scared that I would be like her, still gives me the shudders.

I actually contacted the authorities about this and I was told that they can live anyway they want, as long as they are not in any danger, hypothetical candles don't even get considered. It must be a real threat, like no outside access, newspapers stored in the oven that is used kind of actual dangers.

So, I have to pick my battles. I don't visit at their house because I am not willing to subject myself to what they are all good with.

Oh, I spent 6 weeks trying to clean their roughly 1000 square foot house. I would sort it out, bag it up and set it out for delivery, she would bring it back in, go through it again and keep 90% of what she said earlier could go. I am talking about worn out cloths, empty jars, ruined or broken items, we never did get through the entire house, we did her bedroom, bathroom and kitchen, yeah, 6 weeks to get to the bottom to be able to clean and the authorities said "Her choice." So, her choice, I have mine.

Best of luck just letting this one go.
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rovana Sep 9, 2019
Love your post!  Yes, after I retired from the office, I decided that I would do things I had been wanting to do - and that did not include being a slave to bricks and mortar. Actual safety issues are one thing, but maintaining a museum? Better things to do - life is short.
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My mother is 95 years old and a hoarder. She lives alone in her house and the house is paid for. She won’t let me pick up the house. It’s been this way since my father died 20 years ago. Cops have been to her house and so have EMTS and nobody has halled her out of there yet.I am told by doctors and elder lawyers that as long as she is competent and of sound mind there is not a damn thing I can do about it!!! Nobody can kick her out of that house or make her clean it up if she doesn’t want to!! The law is on HER side, not mine!!!
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Bigsister7 Sep 8, 2019
How does a 95 yr old woman prevent you from taking out a bag of trash when you visit? Is she going to tackle you? One thing to try is to stop some of the junk mail from arriving in the first place.
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You can try calling APS. It's a crapshoot with them. Someone called on my mom, but it was about my brother shouting at her. He got really mad at ME, but I didn't call.

APS will just be the start. If the house is condemnable, it could be condemned and that will leave him homeless--but maybe it would be a little blessing. He will need a lot of help--you may or may not want to be involved.

Moving mother and dad out of their "big house" into the MUCH smaller apartment took us 3 years. Mom cried for 3 solid years, I swear. Losing your possessions against your will is very unhappy for everyone.

Start will APS and maybe have a cog eval done, altho I bet your dad is someone who wouldn't put up with that.

You'll have to get the city involved, you saying "dad, your place is a wreck" is not going to cut it.
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gdaughter Sep 8, 2019
Sometimes something happens that results in an emergency visit...fire dept/paramedics for health reasons, a fall, and then a referral may be made by them related to safety. Hoarding or similar is a huge challenge for everyone.
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Mindys, I see from your profile that your Mom is living in a nursing home. How long ago was she placed? Did your Dad start messing up the house after your Mom had to be moved? Did Mom keep the house in neat order? Does your Dad visit your Mom?
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While my house is not as bad as what you describe - I live cluttered and quite frankly, I know where my stuff is and I resent anyone coming in and moving or organizing for me. For years, my half-bath was my personal space and I did not want anyone cleaning it; it doesn't endanger my health and I have felt secure there for the last 30+ years.

That said, I don't have dirty clothes and/or dishes all over the house and I do my laundry, wash the dishes, put out my trash, etc. I'm 67 and have noticed that a lot of people in my generation are just not "neat-freaks" like other generations.

A dirty house will not take away a single day of my life and a clean house will not grant me an extra day of living. I'm not looking to share my space with anyone now that my DH is gone - and if he could make it to almost 97 in my cluttered home, then no one else has the right to tell me how to live.

P.S. You don't say how old your father is.
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LoopyLoo Sep 8, 2019
Many people use clutter to feel safe. It’s a barricade of sorts, feels like a covering so the person doesn’t let others truly “see” them. Not wanting anyone to be near it or help sort it is another way of saying “go away, I don’t want you here”.

Absence of clutter is not being a neat freak. It’s respect for yourself and your home. Clutter and dirt just says “I don’t care!”. I love and respect my home, husband, pets and myself too much to let us all live in chaotic surroundings.

My house isn’t sterile... sometimes there’s pet hair on the floor, dust on a shelf, sometimes laundry piles up. Even so, if I had unexpected company coming, it would take at most 30 minutes to get the house fresh and nice.

No point in keeping what I don’t need or use or love (sentimental value items). I do not keep old papers or bills, old medicine bottles, old magazines. It’s not hard to do if little steps are done every day.
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This sounds like a hoarder situation - this is the hill he's going to die on (figuratively speaking). He's maintaining his sense of autonomy?

But there may be a difference between eyesore and danger. If it's "only" an eyesore, there may be nothing you can do about it (unless the mess is spilling out to the yard and it violates a local code).

Different states and municipalities have different rules or ways of determining if a housing situation is dangerous enough for intervention (e.g. declaring a dwelling condemned, or forcibly moving a person out). Maybe a first step is to look into your area's definitions of uninhabitability. If dad's house doesn't fit the definition, then as offensive as you might find it, there may be no way to enforce a change.

It sounds like this has become an entrenched battle of wills over a long period of time. What would happen if you stopped fighting him about it and let him live in his mess? (Just a hypothetical to consider.)

Sometimes letting go of a battle like this is wonderfully liberating for both parties.

Just a thought.

(Obviously, it would also be worth attempting to get a neuro and/or mental evaluation, but that could be a fight in and of itself.)
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Reply to Kittybee
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He is a exhibiting hoarding behavior, something that's not uncommon in the elderly. Hoarding is usually triggered by a trauma but in your dad's case it might be from dementia. If I were in your situation, I would consult with a counselor who specializes in hoarding to help you get practical guidance. You won't solve it by cleaning it while he's out...this will make him extremely angry and he will just continue to hoard. He may even go to the curb and bring back in what was just taken out, not matter how disgusting it is (I know as I cared for someone with this disorder). You will waste time, money and emotion doing this. It is unsafe, unsanitary, and unfair to his neighbors if his junk starts appearing in his yard. And he is burning through his money buying stuff he doesn't need. You don't want it to get to the point where neighbors start to complain and the city condemns the house. Then you will be in crisis mode and have very few options and a lot of stress. Better to deal with it now. Good luck!
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Reply to Geaton777
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I’m in agreement that he’s probably a hoarder, and I have no suggestions for that other than what has already been offered by far-wiser Aging Care posters. What caught my attention was the person who comes in for five hours a day!
What is this person doing besides getting paid?
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Bethcares40 Sep 8, 2019
If one of my staff did not clean a client's home at least to safety standards, there would be an in home evaluation and some serious changes made. Any agency would document the situation and action would be taken!
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My father...he was a hot mess. He lived in one state and I another, when I would go visit him I would clean his house, he would trash it again. I put my foot down made him hire a house cleaner..oh great! I would pay her every month, she would go to his home, he wouldn't let her in, said it didn't need to be cleaned. When he died it took me 3 weeks to get it cleaned out, then the repairs started and they were major. I stayed in a hotel, no way that I could sleep there!
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shannonbrown3 Sep 8, 2019
Hey DollyMe. Looking back I realize my mom was a hoarder her entire life. She was the oldest of 3 children (5, 3 and 1)when her mother died. Her traumatic life's event. After my parents divorce I took care of the house (9) b/c she had to work. When I married and left home, my younger brother took over. She remarried and my Pop kept the house until he died 16 years ago. Thats when the hoarding consumed her life. For most of the next 10 years she collected and spent her way into chaos. The "stuff" eventually made her house unlivable. It wasn't until I actually saw that TV show Hoarders that I realized what my family was dealing with.
Now she has been diagnosed with Alzheimers and is living with my husband and me. Over the last 1 year, 8 months, I have slowly emptied her house. She doesn't know that her precious "stuff" is gone. Oddly enough she has never once asked to go back to her house to "get something". She has not been inside her house since Jan 2017.
I do not allow her to hoard here. She's tricky. I found I have to take the trash and recycling outside or she will rummage through it.
I also tried housekeepers, etc but she would not allow them in.
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