Your senior’s home might have always had an abundance of things in it, but does it seem as if her home is bursting at the seams now? It’s possible that she might have too many things for her to be safe at home.
What’s Causing Her to Have So Much Stuff?
There is usually a reason for someone to have a lot of stuff. If your elderly family member is collecting things because they have some sort of meaning for her, she may have more of some particular items than you think. If she’s holding onto items “just in case,” there may be other issues at play. She may also be holding onto things that make no sense, items that you would literally consider to be trash, for reasons that are hard to understand. You may need to dig in and see what your senior has and why she has these things.
Look at the Systems Your Senior Is Using
Your senior may be using some very specific systems to manage her daily tasks. In a severely cluttered home, she might not have any systems or the ones she does have might not make sense to you. Helping her to adapt or to create systems that work for her can make a bigger difference than you think. For instance, if she’s keeping items just in case, encourage her to have a place for those items so that she can find them when that situation arises.
Give the Clutter Some Boundaries
Stuff that doesn’t have boundaries quickly takes over your senior’s entire home. That might be what you’re already dealing with in this situation. It’s time to figure out what those boundaries are. For safety purposes, your aging family member needs to have a clear path through her home and she needs to be able to access all of the vital areas of her home. If someone needed to get to her, such as a paramedic, the home needs to support that. Let her know the new boundaries for the clutter and work together to get everything within those boundaries.
Bring in Some Help to Maintain the Clutter Boundaries
It’s possible that your elderly family member is going to need some help maintaining those boundaries. Often simply keeping those areas clean and neat can do the trick. But if your elderly family member finds that level of physical activity to be difficult, you may need to rely on elder care providers to help you to tidy and to clean your senior’s home.
If your elderly family member has a true issue with clutter, she may need to talk to a therapist about what that means for her. They can help her to assess her relationship with things and find ways to have a healthier interaction with the items she owns.