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If your Senior Won’t Let go: Tips to De-Clutter a Hoarder!

February 01, 2011 By: admin Category: If your Senior Won't Let go: Tips to De-Clutter a Hoarder!, Tips for Seniors and caregivers


Hello again!  For fifteen years, the Home Instead Senior Care® franchise network has been devoted to providing seniors with the highest quality care in their own homes, and to arming families with the information they need to make the best decisions about caring for aging loved ones.


In this last article of a three-part series for the Women’s Independent Press, Home Instead Senior Care would like to remind you that caring for a senior includes being attentive to your loved-one’s surroundings.  What is more, getting rid of stuff is actually a two-step process: sorting and deciding, on the one hand, and disposing on the other.  For more information, please visit www.homeinstead.com.  Until next time…


Convincing seniors to de-clutter can be a challenge.  That’s according to University of Kansas Professor Dr. David Ekerdt, who is coordinating a “household moves” project to determine the role that possessions play in older people’s housing decisions.

The following are strategies if your loved one doesn’t want to let go from Katherine “Kit” Anderson, CPO-CD, president of the National Study Group on Chronic Disorganization (NSGCD), and Vickie Dellaquila, certified professional organizer and author of Don’t Toss My Memories in the Trash.

1. ARRANGE AND CHEER SMALL VICTORIES. Suppose you spend a short time helping your loved one clear off a table. Celebrate the accomplishment together.

2. CONDUCT AN “EXPERIMENT.” If your loved one has 150 empty margarine tub containers, suggest donating 15 of those to a school for a painting project. Allow some time to go by and ask how she felt giving those up. Chances are she won’t feel as awful as suspected.

3. GENTLY APPROACH THE IDEA OF HEALTH AND SAFETY. Remind your loved ones that too much clutter can actually keep them from being safe in their homes, which could jeopardize their ability to stay at home. They could trip over papers on the floor or lose bills and medications.

4. DRAFT AN AGREEMENT. Agree to box up unused clothing or tools. Carefully list what’s in the box and track that for six months. If your loved one does not use the items in that time, suggest they donate them to a charity.

5. CONSIDER THE CONTROL ISSUE. Clutter is all about control, but so is being the one to decide where stuff goes. Remind your loved ones if they don’t decide where something will go, someone else will.

If you, or any organization of which you are a part, is interested in learning more, please contact our office.  We would be happy to speak to your group free of charge about this subject, our services, and even employment opportunities. 




Rebecca Champagne, Human Resource Coordinator

Home Instead Senior Care

1102 S Braddock Ave

Pittsburgh, PA 15218

Phone: (412) 731-0733