When you enter your mom's house, you can't believe how cluttered it's become. Last time you were there there were piles of paper, but now you can barely walk through the living room. The pantry is stacked with 6 cans of every kind of vegetable, most of them long past their expiry date; the medicine chest holds prescriptions from 10 years ago. She says she bought the cans when they were on sale, and you can't get rid of the medicine - what if she gets sick again? You don't remember her being so attached to "stuff" when she was younger; what happened?
Just the daily inundation of junk mail, catalogues and bills can be overwhelming to seniors who are struggling to remain in their homes. Add that to a lifetime's accumulation of possessions, and many seniors don't know where to start, even if they wanted to. Experts say older adults tend to save useless items for a variety of reasons, including fear of loss or change, thinking they will need them someday, being depressed, saving memories, or even feeling they can't physically handle the clean-up.