Hoarding Woes: Arlene’s Hoarding & Dementia

I found this piece regard a woman documenting her mom’s, Arlene’s, battle with hoarding and dementia. It will sound very familiar and equally frustrating. Arlene’s & Her Daughter’s World 

“My mother began exhibiting a behavior that is common in people with AD –a constant, almost driven, searching and rummaging activity through her belongings. On a daily basis, she would spend hours looking for important items that were covered over in the clutter, e.g., her medicines, keys, bills, or money. She also began having catastrophic reactions when she could not find what she was searching for.  My mother always had a prickly personality, and at times, I wondered if her agitation was due to her “ becoming more of who she was” as she aged. Even though my mother had been a loner most of her life, she was becoming even more isolated. “

You know it is not too difficult to document the problem. It seems it is more like ‘yes there is a flood, or was a flood. Now the cleanup’. There doesn’t seem to be much to do for the large hoarder. On TV you see interventions. Interventions with cameras, crews, experts, support, trucks, pressure, sustained arm twisting. Standing alone, a crew of one or a few, the task is immense and if not impossible in the moment, then certainly immense after the loved one(s) are out (death, health reasons, forced evictions). I think, for me, the reading of other’s reactions, experiences, is more like an affirmation that I am not alone, imagining things, and lost in this mess. Hours of being bent over sorting and cleaning can give one, not tunnel vision, but rather I am going to call it ‘bag vision’. It is dare I say comforting?….to read other’s struggles. I have avoided this at times as it can be mental overload. Arlene’s life reads like my aunt’s life….like my mom’s life. My mom did not suffer from dementia….she certainly suffered in other ways.


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