Helping a person with dementia de-clutter their home

Spring is fast approaching and you’re no doubt beginning to get the urge to have a bit of a spring clean of your home.

As well as your own, it’s also a good idea to have a declutter of a loved-one that might be suffering with dementia’s home too, as due to the disease many people often use coping mechanisms, such as hoarding, to self soothe.

People with dementia often keep hold of items for seemingly no reason and they may often struggle to get rid of them. They can use hoarding as a form of control and security and find comfort from the items surrounding them, but it’s simply not practical or safe for their homes to become cluttered like this as it could increase the risk of trips and falls.

Decluttering is possible but needs to be approached with sensitivity. You will need to be patient and understanding as many of the items could have an emotional attachment, so it’s not as simple as just throwing them away. A person with dementia could get angry or frustrated if you were to wade in and start throwing their belongings away.

It’s important to make them feel a part of the process and talk through the process of removal, helping them to understand that not everything can be kept and that anything that’s still in a good working order that your loved-one doesn’t really need or use on a regular basis, can be donated to charity where someone else can get lots of use and joy from it.

You could try discussing having a set number of items to keep and if they exceed this then others need to be removed.

It might be a good idea to involve other family members or a carer to help the process too, make it more of an activity to do together and give them a box or a bag to sort through.

It’s important to ensure the items set for charity or for the rubbish bin are removed straight away, that way the person with dementia doesn’t have the chance to rummage through them again and take items out to keep.

Once you’ve decluttered, you can give their home a good, deep clean. Find some of our top tips here.