Your senior’s belongings can get complicated, especially if there are so many of them that they’ve become clutter in her home. Clutter can be a safety concern, so that may require you and your senior to have some difficult talks and to make some tough decisions.
Take a Memento of Some Sort
One reason so many belongings can find a home with your senior is that they’ve been collected over time. Each item may have sentimental connections to someone your senior loves and who may no longer be with her. Those items can hold a lot of emotion in them. That doesn’t mean that keeping them is always the easiest or right thing to do, though. Taking a picture of the item in question could be a good solution. If the item is something that really can’t be donated or a picture just isn’t enough, see what you can do about making a memento in some other way.
Find a New Home for the Item
It’s especially important if your elderly family member has items that she’s been holding onto for a specific purpose that those items find a new home. Somewhere that item can actually be used and appreciated may be much more appealing to your senior than throwing it away or disposing of it in a similar way. If she’s been holding onto something to give to someone specific, it might be a good idea to do that now, when your senior can see the appreciation from that act.
Help Her to Assess True Usefulness
Some of the items that your senior is holding onto might not be useful at all. This might be obvious to you, but not necessarily to her. For instance, you might know immediately that a stack of junk mail is not useful, but your senior may need to be convinced of that fact. There may be other types of items she’s holding onto that are similar.
Figure out What the Item Is Replacing
Lots of people use things to replace something intangible that they’re missing. It’s why “retail therapy” is a thing and it can be why your senior might be collecting items that she doesn’t really need. If your senior has experienced losses in her life, even long ago, things may be a way to fill that void now. Having more companionship, even from senior care providers who stop by regularly to help her, can go a long way toward filling those voids in other ways.
Dealing with all of your senior’s things can be a challenge, and it’s one that you might have to approach carefully in order to avoid upsetting her.