Too much clutter in an ageing adult’s home can lead to a number of potential hazards. By staging an organised cleanup, it’s possible to create a safe and easy-to-manage living environment for your elderly loved one. North Coast elderly care experts have a few tips to help you get started.
Set Modest, Manageable Goals
Rather than trying to clear out every corner of the house in a single weekend, break this project down into small, manageable increments instead. Focus on cleaning out one corner, closet, or living area at a time while making high-use and high-density areas your top priorities. When they aren’t rushed through the decluttering process, seniors tend to be less protective of their clutter and less reluctant to let things go. It’s vital to note many of the items you’re trying to toss out could have important memories associated with them, and your loved one may need some time to accept the idea of having to part with them.
Take Plenty of Photos
Take pictures of items before asking your loved one whether or not he or she is ready to get rid of them. Pictures of cherished objects can often evoke the same sense of nostalgia as the objects themselves, and they are also a lot easier to handle and organise. The pictures can be stored on a flash drive, shared on social media, and even printed out and placed in albums.
Create a Storage Area
Your loved one may be adamant about keeping some items he or she is unlikely to ever use again. It’s important to remain flexible, lenient, and respectful of his or her wishes. Make an offer to box things up and label them for easy access later on. Labeled boxes can then be stacked in the basement or attic where they’re less likely to get underfoot. Although this means there will still be a lot of unused stuff in the house, there will be far less clutter to maintain and a lower risk of your loved one tripping and falling in the home.
Discern Between Collecting and Hoarding
Hoarding is quite a bit different from being an avid collector or letting a little normal household clutter spiral out of control. Hoarding is often connected to deep-seated, emotional issues and usually involves the use of nonessential material items to fill an emotional void. For instance, your loved one might start hoarding after the death of a spouse, a child, or a close friend. Unlike having a relatively modest amount of clutter, hoarding disrupts the entire living environment by making it difficult or even impossible to safely navigate a home, use the kitchen or bathroom, or sleep in an appropriate sleeping area. If you have an aging friend or family member who you believe is hoarding, it’s important to reach out for guidance from a qualified therapist or family doctor, and a North Coast caregiver can also provide emotional support when needed. Addressing hoarding is about more than convincing someone it’s time to take out the trash. Your loved one may need counseling services to find a long-term solution that addresses both the clutter and its underlying cause.
In some cases, hoarding and having too much clutter can affect a senior’s ability to eat healthily and maintain good hygiene. If your loved one needs help with tasks like meal prep, bathing, and grooming, turn to Home Care Assistance. We offer live-in and respite care services, and we also provide comprehensive Parkinson’s, dementia, and Alzheimer’s care North Coast seniors can rely on. For more information, call (02) 6646 3527 today.