Hoarding disorder can present unique challenges for seniors with dementia. Dementia can impact decision-making abilities, memory, and reasoning skills, which can be compounded by hoarding behaviors. Here are some considerations and tips for navigating hoarding behaviors in seniors with dementia:
- Monitor safety: Seniors with dementia may not perceive clutter as a safety risk, so it’s important to regularly check for fall hazards, blocked exits, or other environmental dangers. This may mean periodically decluttering the space or supervising the senior’s activities.
- Approach with empathy: Hoarding behavior can be a coping mechanism for seniors with dementia who are struggling with memory loss or finding meaning in their life. When approaching the issue, try to approach with empathy and understanding, rather than judgment or frustration.
- Address underlying emotional needs: For some seniors with dementia, hoarding behavior may be a response to underlying emotional needs, such as loneliness or boredom. It may be helpful to address these underlying needs by providing companionship or meaningful activities.
- Seek support: Hoarding disorder in seniors with dementia can be complex and challenging to manage on your own. Seeking support from a professional therapist, social worker or specialized caregiver can provide you with additional resources and strategies for addressing hoarding behaviors.
- Consider medication: In some cases, medications may be helpful in managing hoarding behaviors in seniors with dementia. Talk to a healthcare provider about medication options and potential risks.
Navigating hoarding behaviors in seniors with dementia can be challenging, but it’s important to prioritize their safety, approach with empathy, address underlying emotional needs, seek support, and consider available treatment options such as medication. By taking these steps, you can help manage hoarding behaviors and improve the quality of life for seniors with dementia.