Is it okay to hoard canned food?

questions and answers

“My mother is 79 years old, still lives and takes care of herself and so far that has not been a problem. I live a good 40 km away from her and check on her at least once a week. On my last visits, I noticed that my mother is hoarding food, the refrigerator is packed with food, some of which have passed their use-by date. There are canned food, flour, sugar, rice, pasta, etc. in the kitchen cupboards. in very large quantities. A family of five could “stay afloat” for a long time. She told me that as a little girl she had very little to eat during the war and the post-war period in the winter of 46 because she lived with her parents in a big city. I remember that there was always some pride in her voice when she talked about "fringing"; she was very skillful and was able to spare her mother and her younger siblings the greatest hardship.
Can that have a meaning again today, so many decades later? "

Yes, that can mean something. Hunger and fear of hunger are imprinted in certain regions of the brain (amygdala) in such a way that everything related to it is not forgotten again. It's a survival program that is stored in the brain. This also includes taking precautions against such emergencies. And your mother does. From the point of view of reason, their behavior is nonsensical - but from their "survival program" it makes sense.

Perhaps you can at least weaken the mother's behavior if you work with her to create an "emergency supply" of cans and other particularly durable foods. Checking this supply with her on your weekly visits may give your mother the security she needs.