Why Do Some Seniors Hoard Things?

Some people are just naturally messy. They don’t always pick up after themselves, leaving piles of old magazines or newspapers lying around. And, some people like to collect things. They might have enormous collections of an item they enjoy, like a room full of figurines. However, sometimes being messy and collecting things goes beyond what is normal and healthy and becomes hoarding. Hoarding disorder can occur at any age, but according to the Mayo Clinic, it happens more often in older adults.

What is Hoarding Disorder?

Hoarding disorder occurs when a person cannot bring themselves to part with items that they think they need to save, even when those items have no use or value. The idea of getting rid of something makes them feel anxious. As a result, they end up saving huge amounts of items, many of them useless.

The home of a hoarder can become so filled with the stuff they save that a person can scarcely move through it. There may be only narrow paths for walking through the house. Every surface in the house could be covered in stuff, including the dining table and kitchen counters. When the house is full, the older adult may start storing stuff in the garage or outside.

A person with hoarding disorder may not realize they have a problem. Because of this, treating the disorder is often difficult. However, treatment is available. While it can be very intense, the treatment can help your aging relative to see how their behaviors are harmful.

What’s the Difference Between Clutter and Hoarding?

It can be hard for family members to tell if their older relative is simply messy or if they have a more serious problem. Some of the differences between clutter and hoarding are:

  • Someone who is messy can still use their rooms for their intended purpose. For example, the dining table isn’t so covered that they can’t eat at it and there’s nothing being stored in the bathroom.
  • Clutter can be cleaned up to a reasonable level to allow for visitors.
  • Items the person collects are either useful, valuable, or have meaning to them.

If your aging relative shows signs of hoarding, it’s important to talk to a doctor about how they can be helped. However, if the problem is merely clutter, home care can help to clean it up. Home care providers can offer cleaning services on a regular basis to keep the senior’s home from getting too messy. By cleaning up clutter, home care providers can help to prevent falls that may occur if the older adult catches a toe on an item and trips.


If you are considering hiring home care services in Hooper, UT, for an aging loved one, please contact the caring staff at Seniors Helping Seniors of Ogden, UT. Call today 801-821-4535.