What Causes Hoarding in Seniors?

January 23rd, 2018 by John Wilson

If you’ve ever watched any television show that showcases hoarders, you may tend to notice a large percentage of these individuals are in their senior years. While hoarding can be an issue at any age, it happens more frequently among the aging population. If you’re struggling to help your loved one prepare for senior assisted living, it may be difficult to understand how they allowed the situation to get so severe. The following are some of the causes of senior hoarding.

Difficulty Letting Go

Perhaps one of the biggest reasons seniors tend to hoard their belongings is difficulty letting go. Over time, most people acquire items that have sentimental value to them. They may seem useless or unimportant to the casual observer, but to the owner, they can mean the world. Perhaps the item was a gift from someone who has passed away or is no longer a part of their lives. Maybe they connect those items to a happy time in their lives. Regardless of the full reason, it all boils down to not wanting to let go of the memories. While the memories are always there, seniors may need that physical reminder to help them recall it.

Hoarding can be eliminated when moving to assisted living.

Moving to assisted living is a good time to eliminate hoarding.


Many seniors today grew up with parents who went through the Great Depression and often found uses in items many others would find useless. For this reason, they have also developed the need to hold onto just about everything, just in case it can be used at some point in the future. This can include any number of seemingly useless items—primarily things other people would throw away or recycle, such as bottles, boxes, newspapers and cans. Those in senior care in Oklahoma City, OK may find they need to cut back on these items or even eliminate them altogether and this can be a truly difficult task.

Medical Conditions

It may not seem possible, but there have been links between certain medical conditions and hoarding. Some of these ailments affect the way the brain works, which can lead seniors to hold onto just about everything. Others cause seniors to feel like they have little control over their lives. Holding onto belongings and other items can make these individuals feel as though they do have control over something. Regardless, if you notice your loved one seems to be heading toward a hoarding habit, it may be worth mentioning to their doctor to help with diagnosing any potentially associated mental or physical health problem.

Hoarding can be dangerous for anyone, especially seniors. Not only does it cause clutter and create a fire hazard in a home, but it can also increase the odds of your aging loved one falling or suffering another serious injury in their own home. This is why it’s important to pay close attention to your senior family members and their habits so you can help eliminate this problem before it becomes severe and causes health issues or worse.

If you’re looking for reliable Oklahoma assisted living to help care for your loved one, contact us. We make sure our residents have a safe, secure living environment.

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