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  The experts say...
Though hoarding seems most prevalent among seniors, Breininger blames living alone for the bump in numbers.
 - DorothyTheOrganizer

Warning Signs: Is your Mother a Hoarder?
What are the warning signs? How do you know if you mother or father is a hoarder?

If you're a long-distance caregiver, as many Americans today are, how will you know if a senior relative is at risk for hoarding or needs help managing their and a spouse's daily care? Check in regularly with your loved one's caregiver, neighbors, friends, or nearby family members, and consider these insights from Breininger:

  • Don't ask general questions, like how is your day going, or how was your trip to the doctor. These answers can be easily fudged, she explains.

  • Instead, ask direct questions, like how many pieces of mail did you get today, or did you open your mail today/what did you get? Other good examples of direct (and telling) questions: What color were the pills you took today? Who did you talk to and why? What was the topic of the conversation?

  • Be on the lookout for medication issues. If your Mom can't remember what pills she took or why she has to take them, investigate further.

  • Assess the level of isolation. If the individual isn't talking to anyone or letting anyone into the house, this is cause for concern.

  • If appointments have been missed and Dad's hesitant to let you visit, ask more specific questions to evaluate immediate danger and health problems: do you have light bulbs in all of your light fixtures? is the electricity out? does the toilet flush? Don't just ask if they had breakfast this morning; rather, ask who did the dishes.

 - Tip provided by DorothyTheOrganizer
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