5 Warning Signs of Hoarding Behavior in Older Adults

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Signs of Hoarding Behavior in Older Adults in Amarillo, TX

Hoarding is a problem that’s more common than most people realize, and it tends to develop in adults around the age of 50 or older. It may be caused by anxiety, depression, or a traumatic experience, or it may accompany problems like dementia or schizophrenia. Hoarding is also common in people who have lived in the same home for many years, and it’s important to seek help from a psychologist. Additionally, you can hire an in-home caregiver to keep your aging loved one’s home safe and tidy. 


Although it may be challenging to find reliable, highly rated elderly home care, Amarillo, TX, families can turn to Home Care Assistance. Our respite and live-in caregivers are expertly trained to assist seniors with a wide array of important tasks, including cooking, bathing, light housekeeping, and exercise.

If you believe your loved one has a hoarding problem, look for the following warning signs.

1. Isolation

Many seniors who are hoarders may not let others visit their homes. They may spend more time isolated and alone because they’re embarrassed by the mess their hoarding causes. Some seniors may not want friends and family to come inside because they fear their loved ones will try to clean or encourage them to get rid of things.

2. Shopping for Unnecessary Items

If your loved one seems addicted to shopping, it could be a sign of hoarding. Whether it’s ordering online, shopping in stores, or buying secondhand items at sales, hoarders tend to buy things they don’t need. For example, if your loved one lives in a small home and buys 30 chairs, this could be a sign of hoarding.

3. Furniture that Can’t Be Used

Most hoarders’ belongings take over every space in their homes, from kitchen counters to dressers to dining room tables. If you can’t sit in a chair at your loved one’s home because it’s piled with clutter, this may be a sign of hoarding. This applies to all rooms in the home. For example, maybe you can’t eat a meal in the dining room because the table and chairs are covered with piles of items, or perhaps you can’t use a spare bathroom because the path to the room is filled with clutter.

If your loved one needs encouragement to adopt healthier habits, consider hiring a compassionate caregiver. When considering elder care, families should make sure their senior loved ones have the resources they need to maintain their independence and remain healthy. Trusted in-home care professionals can assist seniors with daily tasks like cooking, bathing, and exercise, and they can also encourage them to focus on healthier lifestyle habits.

4. Kitchen Full of Expired Food

If you suspect your loved one is hoarding, check the kitchen. You may find a refrigerator or pantry full of foods that expired months or even years ago. You may even discover empty food containers that should have been thrown away.

5. Possessiveness about Belongings

If you suggest your loved one should get rid of an item and he or she becomes angry and possessive, it could be a sign of hoarding. This behavior can even extend to throwing away trash. For example, maybe your loved one has a stack of newspapers from 10 years ago in the living room, and he or she gets mad and begins to list reasons you can’t take them to a recycling bin.

If you suspect your loved one is a hoarder or at risk for becoming a hoarder, these tips can help you prevent the behavior: 

  • Start slowly. If you want to help your loved one clean up and get organized, don’t overwhelm him or her. Begin with one item or one room and go from there.
  • Make yourself available to help with cleaning and organizing.
  • Never embarrass your loved one for hoarding possessions.
  • If your loved one starts to become isolated, get to the root of the cause.
  • If necessary, encourage your loved one to try therapy to manage traumatic events, anxiety, or depression.

Hoarding may also cause anger, frustration, and burnout among family caregivers. If you’re the primary caregiver for a senior loved one in Amarillo, respite care is available when you need time away from your important caregiving duties. At Home Care Assistance, our respite caregivers are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to help your loved one manage everyday tasks in the comfort of home while you have the chance to take a much-needed break. Whether your parent needs minor help with daily tasks or extensive 24-hour care, give us a call at (806) 803-9991 today. 


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