If your elderly family member has collected a lot of things over the years, it might be time to try to clear some space. This is especially true if she needs more room for things like a walker or if she’s unsafe to move around in her current configuration.
Be Careful because Stuff Has Meaning
You might be tempted to race in there with garbage bags and just start tossing things. But that might be the wrong approach. Your elderly family member may have sentimental ties to a lot of the belongings that she’s collected over the years and that makes culling those items that much more difficult. She may even have plans for some of the things she’s holding onto, even if those plans don’t make sense to you quite yet.
Sometimes the Meaning Is a Lot Deeper Than You Realize
When you’re dealing with the meaning behind items your elderly family member is hanging onto, though, there might be more to it. Mortality gets tied up into belongings for a lot of people and dealing with her collected items may force her to think about things she’s not quite ready to think about. This can often be behind her resistance to deal with some things.
There May Be Valuables
Whether she’s right or not, your aging family member might believe that the items she’s collected over the years are worth a ton of money. Sometimes that’s not accurate, but it can be really difficult to convince your senior of that fact. You might need to investigate some items further with a neutral third party before she’ll come around.
Find a Compromise
Safety is the biggest concern and if your elderly family member won’t part with some of the items that are taking up space in her home, you might need to work with her to find a compromise. Renting storage space can be an option, as can finding new homes in the family for items she’s particularly attached to. Sometimes this can help because she’s able to know now that those items are going somewhere that they’re appreciated.
Guard the Progress You Make
When you do make progress, you’re going to need to work hard to keep it. Whether your elderly family member is a true hoarder or not, she’s going to need some help. It’s possible that having home care providers coming in regularly to assist with light housekeeping will be enough for her to learn to appreciate the newfound space. They can also let you know if they’re seeing anything that indicates she’s collecting new items.
Your senior might have collected some of the items she loves over a long period of time, so try to be patient as you help her clear them away.
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