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How can you tell if someone is dealing with hoarding?

User
Oct. 12, 2017

My mother in law is insane when it comes to buying in bulk to save money, or getting whatever's on sale just because it's a great deal. She buys so much stuff she doesn't need and it is piling up in her home. She lives alone and my husband and I feel like this is getting out of control. What should we do?

Answers

Well you can talk to her if you feel it be easy, to give to charity. Many homeless don't have food, or to church places as well. It can be she feels something will happen one day and needs to live with what she got in her shelves. Slowly thin out things she don't use and give to food shelters or schools to help during Thanksgiving time. don't feel impatient , my mother was like that I just let her but i did thin it out and she never even noticed. But have luncheon with her. It's very sweet.

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User in Woodstock, GA
June 24, 2017

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User in Yelm, WA
May 27, 2017

Wow..age old question..What CAN we do about anyone else's (adults) behaviors (whatever they are) ? How much control CAN you have over another person? What is her age? Is she responsible for her own finances and capable of that and just has this addiction a lot of people have and have to live with the consequences that no one else can be responsible for but them ? Unless she is and can be shown to be incapable, and you are willing to go through the process to become legally in charge of her financial affairs..as with dimentia or other serious mental impairment, there probably is not anything you can do about how she spends her money, if she does not want to change. What and how have you tried so far? Some things you can do with what she has bought and buys in the future is see if she might enjoy doing yard sales or other ways to sell and clear things out of the home and offer to help with that if you can. Otherwise you can only do what you can to not make it YOUR problem or worry about it..and let her live with her shortcomings and be happy that it isn't more damaging habits. ..and that she is alive. And when it gets too bad, (no room in the house for it all or no more money to spend, etc.) hope she does see the benefit in changing and probably she will. Otherwise, there are books on addictions and addictive spending...there are books on everything. I would, if bothered or worried about her, channel that energy into reading what and all i can from such books (which would go deeper and more detailed than someone can hear ..to understand this and any addictions..and how to live with someone you love who has it AND any that might help with ways to help her , if desire is to do more...to get that involved that you can instigate a change and perhaps actually see it come to pass..but that is an big---huge actually.. undertaking. (and may take more than books or suggestions here by others.) A counselor too may help..for just you or you both and her too if she would be willing . People don't usually easily change...especially when alone and older. They want to do what they want to do..and wouldn't you? And irregardless of what others have issues with it. So sometimes it is US that needs to change our own attitude to let them have their way in their own home and life, even if out of control ...they earned that regardless or even how irresponsible it is. Unless of course they are in danger. (which if she is, like actually being left without any funds at some point...) that is where, or when, you may want to press for legal control over her spending/finances. Meanwhile, if you just can't get it out of your mind..read A LOT of books on addictive spending and addictive behaviors and how to deal with your own reactions and actions with someone you love whose addictive behaviors are out of control. Because usually that is ALL you can do ..you just can't change them...only they can, when ready and want to. But you may find ways to deal with what bothers you about it and then when with her YOU will be different and that may help her want to change too. (People never or rarely want to or do change permanently when do do it for someone else who wants them to ). I never wanted to clean house or do dishes for my mom or family when young. But when i had my own place i loved cleaning and dishwashing and still do to this day...because then it was for ME AND I FOUND PLEASURE IN KEEPING MY OWN PLACE CLEAN and that poured over into loving cleaning for anyone else too..but only when i came to where i got in touch with my own need and desires for it which never would have happened when i thought it was for my mom and not because i liked it clean myself. YOu gotta hope she will come to the place where she wants to have her money and space in her home before you have to step in if and because she does become incapable of that to the point she is seriously and deeply hurt by it. Try to be aware of your own addictions/flaws and how pressure from others does not foster change ..even pressure from your self to change. Change happens in relaxed effortless and deep awareness of the problem and true and deep desire to not want it anymore...our of love and appreciation for your own self, health, welfare and enjoyment of what you have. not out of displeasure and disdain of others towards your habits. After years of smoking alot ...i just didn't like any more what it did to me and i got serious about wanting to change, but every attempt under pressure failed. Then i relaxed and decided i would just change one day and not worry about how. And i did..one day i woke up and had less that day and then less the next and then another day woke up and decided it wasn't bringing me JOY..it gave me a sore throat and nothing about it was joyful..so i just quit..easy ..no special method or discipline. Then i found this great book on how to quit smoking and it said don't try...just be aware ..so aware of what it is doing to you, and contemplate THAT...and one day you just won't want it. ...and it was true and i knew it. Now that is just all my own experience and thoughts about them..so you have to see if that makes logic to YOU..or find what does and try it...Best of luck.

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User in Federal Way, WA
April 24, 2017

talk with family for her to minize

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User in Orlando, FL
March 10, 2017

Hello, Take her around and show what she bought if they are expired ask her if it make sense? Is she is saving or wasting? Those kind of compulsive habits needs correction in a nice way. Make as a joke that make her laught and she will remember. She might get ofended but show her you care instead.

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Hoarding is a big problem especially with the elder people, because they do not want to let go of anything even if they are not using them. With your mother in law's case it is different because she wants to buy things in bulk and she is convinced that she is saving when she buys in bulk. It may be best to explain to her that not everything is cheap when bought in bulk. She also needs someone who she listen to and who can explain to her that things are cheaper at shop-rite and Walmart when they are purchased on sale. We also need to work on need verses want. Once she accept to buy the needs in stead of the want, she will cut down the buying and only focus on the needs.

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User in Watertown, MA
Oct. 26, 2016

Perhaps a person (not a family member) would be able to go through it with her and find practical solutions to each type of item.

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When they have unopened packages, boxes, and when you ask them whats in it, they are clueless.

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User in Garland, TX
Sept. 6, 2016

Explain to mom in a very polite manner of reassuring her "mom you may not need more of this particular items as you have so much of it already, let her know that when the item is near gone you will let her know it's time to get more, also mention the space of the item is taking up far to much room in the home.

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User in Seattle, WA
Oct. 27, 2015

Ask her primary care doctor about this and get resources for help/getting on board with you. Parents rarely like to take the word of the child, so getting your team of trusted confidantes and experts (medical, spiritual, familial, etc.). Consider therapy as an option to get to the root of the issue (loss or deprivation in early life? A trauma?) and see if there are interventions that might fill the need that hoarding provides. If the situation is dangerous, and you've already established your team, consider contacting Adult Protective Services for a safety check.

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Sounds like your Mom is in desperate need of guidance in decluttering. I would try my best to relate to her, the possible dangers of hoarding to herself and others. Also the possible health risks involved.

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User in Chicago, IL
July 18, 2016

hey guys am sure she would be willing to share the stuff she buys an I can understand wanting to get the sales or bargin but her been alone isn't going to help maybe a little companionship would help an talking to her also can an like I said taking some of the off her hands an using them.. hope I could have helped.

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User in Brooklyn, NY
Sept. 1, 2015

I think you should tell her how yu two feel. Break it to her gently. Have her look at it in someone else's point of view. I think she will understand then.

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Karine in Maspeth, NY
Oct. 12, 2017

Talk to here

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My Mother was a food hoarder. When I made her give up her license, I took her shopping every week. I'd let her put whatever she wanted in the cart, then when she wasn't looking, I'd put it back. At grocery store, while Mom was distracted, I'd hand the clerk the item she DID NOT NEED. She never knew. Even if she still drives, start taking her on shopping outings with a "Mother-Daughter Luncheon".

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