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Caregiver Training Blog

It’s not Hoarding – It’s Just Clutter!

Topics: Hoarding

Hoarding and Elders WebcastWhen does the clutter become a problem of hoarding?  One certain indication is when the clutter becomes so overwhelming that the person is unable to function adequately. It can affect a persons’ health, family relationships and certainly their socialization in a community. This can be especially troublesome with hoarding and the elderly.

People may hoard objects for many reasons, says Michael Tompkins, PhD, a psychologist and co-author of Digging Out: Helping Your Loved One Manage Clutter, Hoarding, and Compulsive Acquiring. These include:

  • An intense emotional attachment to objects that others see as trivial -- or even trash. They’d feel a sense of major loss if they had to throw this stuff away.
  • A sense that many items have an intrinsic value, like others might see in artwork or driftwood.
  • The assumption that an item might be useful someday, which compels them to save far more than ‘the drawer of hinges, thumbtacks, string, and rubber bands that many of us keep.

Hoarding is a complicated issue, one that even Dr. Thomas Weiss, Geriatric Psychiatrist, had to do extensive research on before his presentation on mmLearn.org.  He notes that hoarding, specifically in the elderly, has been given a diagnosis called Diogenes Syndrome.  Find out if you or perhaps someone you care for has these tendencies to hold on to unnecessary stuff!  You do not want to miss this fascinating presentation, Hoarding and Elders, a video webcast from mmLearn.org.