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Why the Elderly Need to Eliminate Clutter

By Ted Holmgren, 9:00 am on July 4, 2016

Having too much clutter in the home can be unhealthy for people of any age, but seniors are at a higher risk for damage to their physical and mental wellbeing. If your elderly loved one has collected too much clutter and you’re concerned about his or her safety, it’s time to help take care of this issue. Chandler in-home care experts share some of the most important reasons to get rid of the clutter in your loved one’s life.

Reduce Fall Risk

Having too much clutter around the house can increase your loved one’s risk of falling. The risk may be even greater if your loved one has a preexisting medical condition like cataracts, glaucoma, high blood pressure, arthritis, osteoporosis, or cardiovascular disease. Certain medication side effects can also raise the risk for falls, especially in homes with an excess of clutter. Beta-blockers, psychotropic medications, and antihistamines can cause dizziness and lightheadedness, which can cause your loved one to trip over the clutter on the floor.

Discourage Hoarding

Allowing your loved one to keep clutter around the house may encourage hoarding behavior, which makes it more difficult for him or her to part with items that are no longer useful or have no sentimental or monetary value. Hoarders often keep worthless items such as scraps of paper, wrappers, and empty boxes because they think they will need them in the future. If your loved one is unable or unwilling to eliminate clutter and exhibits hoarding behaviors, his or her doctor should be notified as soon as possible.

Decrease the Risk of Environmental Hazards

Too much clutter around the house can lead to an environmental hazard. Clutter can attract insects and rodents and lead to mold spore formation. If the clutter is not removed and the area cleaned, your loved one may experience respiratory problems, skin infections, gastrointestinal disorders, allergy symptoms, or other health conditions. If you are unable to remove the clutter yourself, a removal company can assist you in getting rid of the items and cleaning the home, and a Chandler caregiver can provide your loved one with emotional support as he or she manages this new change.

Prevent Claustrophobia 

Excessive clutter can make a senior feel closed in. Your loved one may not understand what is happening, but exhibits increased feelings of anxiety, panic, dizziness, and shortness of breath. After other medical reasons for these symptoms are ruled out, claustrophobia should be considered as the source of distress.

To learn more about the dangers of clutter and hoarding, reach out to Home Care Assistance. We are a leading provider of Alzheimer’s, post-stroke, and Parkinson’s care in Chandler, and our caregivers are available around the clock to assist with tasks like cleaning, bathing, and medication reminders. For more information and to request a free consultation, call 480.448.6215 today.