Compulsive Hoarding Complicates Senior Living Transitions

By Michelle Seitzer / Posted on 31 August 2011

Across the nation, there are approximately 2 million people struggling with a compulsive hoarding disorder, according to a post from About.com’s senior living guide, Sharon O’Brien.

Defined simply by the Mayo Clinic as the “excessive collection of items, along with the inability to discard them”, this complex disorder is often closely linked to depression, both as an impetus to hoarding and a direct effect of it.

Compulsive hoarding by and large leads to extremely unsafe and unsanitary conditions in the home. Seniors in fragile health are especially vulnerable: as falls are a leading cause of injury and death for older adults, and extreme clutter in the house greatly increases that risk.

O’Brien shares that although there is no cure for hoarding, several treatments may alleviate some of the symptoms.

Families preparing to assist a loved one with a senior care transition may be overwhelmed by the process if they know/find out that the relative or friend is a hoarder. As a move to home care, hospice, assisted living or any other new housing arrangement is already a major change in and of itself, having to downsize and consolidate possessions further complicates the experience for an individual who suffers from compulsive hoarding (and for the family/friends supporting them through it).

If you or someone you know is facing this challenging situation, consider/suggest working with a senior move manager (SMM). To learn more about SMMs or to search for a professional in your area, visit NASMM.com.


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