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OCD in Elderly for Caregivers
By Cheryl Ellis, Staff Writer

Page 3 of 3)

Compulsive hoarding or collecting may have developed from not having enough basic supplies during younger years.  The cliché “salad days” may literally have meant that there were only vegetables from the garden to eat.  A parent who always made sure there was plenty of food in the house may now not only have 65 cans of green beans (bought at scratch and dent warehouses), but stacks of newspaper coupons that are beyond the expiration date.

Instead of cleaning house in one fell swoop, try getting the elder to focus on the abundant stores they have, and how they can help others who are less fortunate.  Some caregivers may have tremendous stress when it comes to dealing with the situation.  At that point, calling in the “cavalry” of friends and associates who offer vague help is in order.

“I need you to help by going through Dad’s canned goods to find out which ones are expired or near expiration.  Can you go with us to donate them to the local shelter?”

Any problems with compulsive hoarding require help.  The Obsessive Compulsive Foundation has a website ( designed to guide caregivers.  Support groups and other information can be found there.  From that point, work on recruiting friends and family to help you with this issue.  In the case of animal hoarding, the local Humane Society may be of help.  Never, ever give any pet (hoarded or just a small excess) to anyone you do not know, or to any shelter that you do not know. 

Even caregivers can have some obsessive compulsive traits develop with the day-to-day caregiving of an OCD elder.  Look through information to see where you may have borderline events, too.  By working through your own, smaller issues, you may silently be helping your loved one.

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