Cherished Memories or Household Hazards?

by Lois Etienne on June 13, 2011

in Senior Health and Safety

Clutter is a problem all too familiar thanks to TV shows like Hoarders.  The issue is not unique to seniors either, but some age-related conditions, such as strokes or dementia, may make that worse. An accumulation of daily junk mail, bills, newspapers and magazines can quickly overwhelm seniors who are struggling physically, mentally or emotionally.

Experts say even seniors who simply don’t know how to part with their possessions are vulnerable.  The risks are many from slipping on loose papers to the threat of fire to mold and mildew. While the source of clutter can be anything from outdated medications to a kitchen full of unused pots and pans, paper is the biggest clutter culprit.

 The Home Instead Senior Care network has a list to watch for in a senior’s home that indicate clutter creep could become a problem. Those signs include:

             1.  Piles of mail and unpaid bills.

            2.  Difficulty walking safely through a home.

            3.  Frustration trying to organize.

            4.  Difficulty managing activities of daily living.

            5.  Expired food in the refrigerator.

            6.  Jammed closets and drawers.

            7.  Compulsive shopping.

            8.  Difficulty deciding whether to discard items.

            9.  A health episode such as a stroke or dementia.

            10.  Loneliness.

 We suggest a three-step plan where you bring in three bins — one for the stuff they want to keep, one for donations and the other for trash.  Convincing clutter creepers to let go can be another challenge. Sometimes seniors just need a little help.

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