Wednesday, 15 May 2019 06:42

Why Overwhelmed Seniors are Disorganised

Here we are again working with an elderly couple who are downsizing from their family home to a retirement bedsit. The family are completely taken aback at how disorganised they are, how much stuff there is and how difficult it is for them to let go. This is not unique! We see this time and again when assisting Seniors with a move or simple declutter. With that in mind, I thought this was worth sharing again!

Understanding why overwhelmed Seniors and elderly relatives are disorganised or surrounded by clutter.

A few months back a client, John, called to ask for assistance with his elderly mom. He was moving her to a lovely studio flat in a retirement home. I visited them both in her home to organise the downsizing process.

Every surface, every corner, every cupboard was jam packed with a lifetime’s accumulation of stuff. It was difficult to negotiate the spaces and even harder to see what we would be dealing with.

We cleared and sorted for days. Furniture and prized possessions were redistributed among family and friends. A huge amount was donated to her favourite charities, and quite a lot was simply recycled or tossed.

John was taken aback at how disorganised his mom was, how much stuff there was and how difficult it was for her to let go once we started the process. But his mom is not unique! We see this time and again when assisting Seniors with a move or simple declutter.

It’s important for the family to understand why their overwhelmed parents or elderly relatives are disorganised or surrounded by clutter. Here are 6 reasons to consider:

  • Seniors invariably do not move often, and so there is usually alifetime’s accumulation of memories and possessions.
  • They worry about memory loss, and feel that having things around them will remind them of the happy times associated with the items.
  • Often Seniors have physical limitations. They might tire easily. They might struggle to move furniture or reach high shelves.
  • They more than likely grew up in a time where saving and holding onto things washow they managed. Things were kept “just in case”. Items were fixed, rather than discarded.
  • Seniors are living for longer, and there could be a fear they will run out of money.And so they hold onto things that could possibly be used at some point.
  • They may not know where to donate items they no longer want.

John’s mom is happily settled in her new downsized home. She has a few key treasures, her favourite artwork and her special armchair. We took a lot of digital photos of memorable items that she let go, which were downloaded onto a digital frame for her.

She has everything she needs and everything she holds dear, without all the stuff!

His mom was overwhelmed and emotional at the thought of downsizing and letting go most of her possessions

For more see the following article by Alejandra Roca: The Senior’s Guide for Decluttering and Feeling at Home

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Email: judith@allsortednow.co.za 

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