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Believe it or not, it is possible to let go of the things you just don’t need by Tina Y. Gerbe

I have often said, I am looking forward to my retirement, which is just around the corner! Martin and I have been completing home renovations, hoping to make life easier, safer, and more convenient after retirement.

We have been downsizing, deciding on what stays and what goes! While we are hoarders; we both have tendencies to ‘hang onto’ things we no longer need or require. That is the definition of a Hoarder! My husband is a handyman, so he keeps things he may need for completing projects and hobbies, while I love books, magazines and keeping ‘stuff’ for my crafts. A friend told me about the 10-day challenge: It involves gathering ten items for ten days to recycle (donate), sell, or trash. It is a great way to declutter!

Hoarding often starts out as harmless clutter around the house. This made me think about the many seniors I visited when I worked as a personal support worker in the community. I have many fond memories from this, but I also have a few horror stories resulting from visiting patients and clients over the last twenty-one years. One gentleman, in particular, had been collecting newspapers and tins, after the death of his wife, before recycling was the fashion. He did not know how to cook but could open tins of soup and beans. His home was overrun with stuff and cats! I won’t even mention the many rodents’ or odour! He literally had made a path from his front door to his back door through stakes of newspapers and magazines! Things can get very out of control if not addressed.

Hoarding is a common problem not only among seniors but among many individuals of any age. Hoarding can escalate as we grow older, but hoarding is especially dangerous for seniors. Many families and caregivers have to deal with elderly parents who are suffering from this debilitating mental condition.

Seniors are more likely to fall in a crowded home, and emergency workers may not be able to reach them! Hoarding does affect a person’s health. Living in unsanitary and hazardous conditions can be a serious sign of Alzheimer’s or Dementia, where an individual could need professional help.

So, Martin and I started reorganizing and rethinking what we should keep. I thought my keepsakes or my special items would matter to my children, but they don’t. A friend once told me, “They are your memories, not theirs.” To be realistic, they are my personal likes, not theirs, and are precious to me, not them.

To be realistic, they are my personal likes, not theirs, and are precious to me, not them. Those few words made the difference in my perception of my so-called valuables or treasures.

The world is very different from what it was when I was growing up. People don’t value the same types of things as we did. I don’t want my daughters or husband to sort through my memories after my death. I will continue to minimize my belongings, as I think they will have enough emotional distress to deal with.

“Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal.” Matthew 6:19-20.

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