Perhaps you have a parent, grandparent, or elderly loved one who has a house filled with clutter, newspapers, and boxes. You may wonder if it is okay or normal for older adults to collect things and fill their homes with items that hold sentimental value. However, hoarding in older adults can lead to dangerous living conditions. In this blog post, we will explore the dangers of hoarding in older adults and how it impacts their safety and well-being.
Increased Risk of Injuries
One of the hidden dangers of hoarding in older adults is the increased risk of falls and injury. When there are piles of items on the floor, it can be difficult to walk or move around without tripping or falling. Moreover, older adults may have difficulty moving heavy items or boxes on their own, which can pose a risk of bodily harm. According to the National Institute on Aging, falls are the leading cause of injury among older adults and can lead to fractures, hospitalization, and even death.
Increased Risk of Fire Hazards
Another danger of hoarding in older adults is the increased risk of fire hazards. When items are piled up on top of one another, chances are there will be clutter near or on top of electrical outlets, heaters, or other potential fire hazards. Additionally, if older adults have difficulty moving around their homes due to the clutter, it can make it challenging for them to escape in case of a fire.
According to statistics from the National Fire Protection Association, adults aged 65 and older are twice as likely to die in a house fire compared to younger adults. Additionally, clutter and paper can be extremely flammable, meaning that a small spark could quickly turn into a massive fire.
Neglecting Basic Needs
When an older person lives in a hoarded house, basic needs, such as proper nutrition and hygiene are often neglected. With piles of items taking up space in the kitchen or bathroom, the mere task of cleaning and accessing these areas can become a problem. This can lead to poor nutrition and personal hygiene.
Unwanted Pest Infestations and Vermin
Hoarded homes can also attract unwanted pests and vermin, such as rodents, cockroaches, and spiders. These pests can carry harmful bacteria and viruses that often result in illnesses and diseases. For older adults who may have a weakened immune system, exposure to these pests can be dangerous and even deadly. Not to mention, clutter can create an ideal environment for pests to nest and reproduce, making it challenging to eradicate the infestation.
How to Address Hoarding in Older Adults
Dealing with hoarding in older adults requires a great deal of patience and understanding, and of course, help from a mental health professional. There are many treatment options available but, because Hoarding Disorder usually co-occurs with other conditions, it is up to a therapist or psychiatrist to determine the best course of action given the circumstances.
Treatment should focus on the source of the problem and not just the hoarding behavior. As a last resort, professional cleaning and disinfecting from a biohazard cleaning service can be the best option for an elderly person dealing with hoarding problems.
Bio-One of Marion County is Ready to Help
Our team at Bio-One of Marion County can help clean up and restore hoarded homes and ensure that all areas are disinfected from hazardous materials. Our process usually involves working with the family or the people involved to find what items to keep and what items to dispose of. We are mindful and respectful of possessions throughout our services. If you or a loved one are dealing with hoarding in older adults, call our team for a free consultation.
Bio-One of Marion County is a locally owned and operated biohazard and hoarding cleaning company serving Indianapolis and the surrounding areas. We specialize in all types of extreme cleaning, including blood and bodily fluids, decomposition/undiscovered death, crime scene, suicide cleanup, tear gas, feces/urine, rodent droppings, sewage backups, hoarding, gross filth, virus/bacteria disinfection and odor removal. Helping people get their lives back in order is our #1 priority.
Bio-One of Marion County is here to help you 24/7, 365 days a year! Call (317) 499-0614, and you'll speak directly to one of us when you call; there is never an answering service. We'll treat you like a person with the compassion and respect that you deserve.