Hoarding Woes: Rotten Food, Dated Food

“The other half of the show featured Jill, a 60 year-old food hoarder, who refuses to throw any food out, no matter its expiration date. Oblivious to the odors and the grave health implications, her house is full of flies, food in various stages of decay, moldy pumpkins, and fridges and freezers held shut with duct tape. Threatened with eviction, her family and professionals attempt to clean her house and get her to recognize that she has a problem.”    Hoarding Rotten Food info

My Aunt, the hoarder, does hoard food. She mostly hoards canned and packaged food items, much like my mom did. You will find items here and there like a bag of potatoes that has sprouted like some horror movie creature setting beneath a pile of this and that. In the refrigerator you will find moldy bread or cheese. But, her worst habit is food prep garbage shoved in a bucket or cans or bags and left to rot. Hundreds of fruit flies, house flies flitting about. I am up on this now having found quite a few stashes of garbage. The old ‘I was going to bury that’ remarks no longer work. First, she couldn’t dig a hole if she had to. Second, someone stole her little shovel (she is 4’11”) that she had adapted by shortening the handle. Third, I remove the garbage now on a weekly or more frequent basis. She doesn’t inspect the garbage any longer to make sure I am not removing a valuable item I deem garbage or junk. I am slowly reducing the flies too.

There is another part to this food garbage that is interesting from my view of a 93 y/o woman: I buy her food, offer to bring treats, take her out to dinner, and her response is always….I don’t want to get fat! Doesn’t that seem odd? She is so body conscious at 93 y/o. She was always a fancy dresser. Always had a very nice figure. But, I didn’t ever assume a woman that age was so worried about weight. She is short and barely tips 105 pounds. Yet, at her age she worries about portions. She has not, in the least, given up a positive attitude about life. In fact, I always talk future with her: clean ups, yard sale, future landscaping ideas, back yard clean ups, all about the future. She does not cut me off with any negativity about the future. That is a good thing.

Now, back to the food: my Aunt has very dated canned foods and boxed foods. This is an additional cleanup target. The most crowded room. Too narrow a trail. Too heavy of items to cascade down into her. Where she collapsed and was buried last April. She understands the concerns and is becoming agreeable to changes. One week at a time. Suggestions are made. She attempts to do her thing first. She doesn’t get far, but I can see she tried. Then she comes around to the offer for a little bit of help with the heavy stuff…all those cans of mandarin oranges she bought several years ago perched on a pile ready to slide down into her shins or ankles.


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