How dangerous is hoarding

Hoarding food

Hoarding food can lead to dangerous life situations, from food poisoning to attracting disease-causing rodents. An aging parent or disabled spouse can start hoarding food for a variety of reasons and family members should also be vigilant if they suspect an elderly loved one is accumulating excess food products.

What is hoarding?

Hoarding food in the elderly is a recognized obsessive-compulsive disorder. People who hoard struggle to throw away their possessions, creating catastrophic levels of clutter in the home. Ultimately, the apartment is uninhabitable due to the large amount of items collected.

Humans can hoard food, various goods, or even animals. Hoarding disorder (messie syndrome) is most common in the elderly. It is estimated that two to six percent of the population have this obsessive-compulsive disorder.

What are the consequences of hoarding?

Hoarding is known to cause a number of problems in senior citizens' lives. Relationship problems can result, as can problems with social activities. Environmental problems arise, including fire hazards and tripping hazards. Objects that pile up to the ceiling can fall and injure the homeowner or visitor.

Relationships with family members become strained. The hoarding senior is likely to experience conflict with other family members and consequently feel isolated and lonely. An elderly person who is hoarding will not be willing to allow others into their home.

What are the consequences of hoarding food

Hoarding food is extremely dangerous to the health of seniors. Products collected and stored in the pantry can spoil and cause food poisoning if the senior consumes them. Food poisoning in the elderly is even more critical because of their weaker immune systems.

The consumption of foods, especially meat and dairy products, that have expired by far can lead to a wide variety of diseases. Older people are at greater risk of developing serious diseases such as Escherichia coli bacteria, botulism, salmonella and listeria after consuming contaminated or spoiled food.

An excess of expired food in the home attracts vermin and rodents. Rats and mice spread dozens of diseases. Seniors who have rodents in their homes can become directly infected with diseases through contact with urine, feces, saliva or bites of the animals. Rodents infected with mites and ticks also spread disease. In addition to expired foods, rotting foods and rotten meat pose serious health risks.

Rotten meat not only attracts vermin, but also leads to a heavy infestation with maggots, cockroaches and other pests. Such infestations are common in the households of senior citizens hoarding food. Hoarding of food creates additional environmental safety problems. Stacks of canned food can tip over, injuring the senior citizen or guests. An accumulation of too much packaged food presents a fire hazard. Overall, the accumulation of large amounts of expired food leads to unsanitary living conditions.

What are the causes of food hoarding

Fixed income seniors may have a legitimate need to avoid food waste. Food hoarding can also be due to an indecisive personality, a family history of hoarding, and stressful life events such as the loss of a loved one, eviction, and divorce.

Older people who hoard food can also suffer from other mental health problems. Anxiety disorders, depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and attention deficit / hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) may be present in those with a tendency to hoard food. The causes of a hoarding disorder (messie syndrome) are little known.

What are food hoarding warning signs?

Seniors who hoard food tend to purchase excess quantities of a food. Or those affected buy more food than they can consume before the expiration date. Discount grocery stores attract older people who hoard groceries. These older customers buy large quantities of discounted food that will go moldy or spoil before the senior has a chance to eat it.

Seniors may buy new foods, let them expire, and avoid throwing them away. A lingering, unpleasant odor emanating from the home can be a tell-tale sign of food hoarding. If the unpleasant smells are due to rotting food, the elderly person could have a problem with food hoarding. Rusted and swollen cans in the pantry are also signs of food hoarding.

Can This Obsessive Compulsive Disorder Be Treated Successfully?

Family members who notice large amounts of expired or spoiled food in the home should help the elderly person throw it away. Throwing away spoiled food is important to avoid illness and food poisoning if the senior eats it. Hoarding, including food hoarding, may not be prevented because the exact cause is unknown.

Family members can encourage the patient to do cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). During therapy, patients learn to throw away excess items without feeling stress or fear. Prescription medications can also help improve symptoms of messie syndrome, whether it is mild or severe.

Family members should be aware that some seniors do not see food hoarding as a problem, which can lead to difficulty accepting treatment. If your aging loved one with this Obsessive Compulsive Disorder could benefit from professional advice and medication.

The care staff from Betreuer24® can take over the transport and accompaniment to the therapy sessions and ensure that the person in need of care takes the medication on time. The professionals at Betreuer24® offer a wide range of non-medical home care services to ensure the health and safety of your elderly relatives. We clear the sidewalks of clutter to prevent accidental falls and injuries.

We also do household chores to ensure a hygienic space. Accompanying caregivers are a refreshing addition to an elderly person's life. Our professionals build relationships with those in need of care through pleasant conversations and mentally stimulating activities. Your elderly loved one will avoid social isolation and loneliness when they are cared for by one of our home caregivers.

Regardless of whether your loved ones need 24-hour care at home or weekly care, we will create a care plan that meets these needs.

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