Advice needed on hoarding after stroke

Hi all

I’m new to the forum and would love some advice, if possible.

My mum had a stroke four years ago and it left her with paralysis on the left side. Her leg is about 90% better but her arm, unfortunately, is probably only about 5% better.

Understandably, the stroke has left mum with depression (which she denies) and it has changed her personality a heck of a lot. The doctor advised us this could happen so although it’s horrible, we knew it was a possibility. We try to help her as much as we can and for the first two years, there was ALWAYS someone with her but that took its toll on us (work, family life etc) and we just couldn’t sustain it.

She lives alone because my father died in 2019 but either myself or my siblings go and see her every other day and she has friends, cousins etc who she sees regularly too. She drives and she goes shopping etc so she is getting out and about and socialising more and more.

The advice I need is to do with her living situation. Pre-stroke, mum was incredibly house proud and there was never anything out of place. Since the stroke, the flat has become a bit of a pit. She never cleans or hoovers, she never puts ANYTHING away and so there is always just piles of stuff everywhere. The kitchen is always filthy and the washing up is either left on the side or put away WITHOUT BEING CLEANED. The bathroom is always dirty (I won’t go into any details but you know what this means) and her bedroom is just piles and piles of clothing (no way of knowing if it’s clean or dirty) and covered in dust. The smell is sometimes overpowering and I just can’t take my children in there anymore because they have nowhere to even sit, let alone play.

Myself and my siblings have blitzed the flat many, many times and have got it looking great again but within a few days, is back to being in a state. We’ve offered to get a cleaner in but mum says she doesn’t need one (the denial). Whenever we try and talk to her about it, she laughs it off and says I know, I’m terrible.”

We know its a mental health issue and we have tried to get her to see her GP about it but she refuses. It must be only adding to her depression to wake up to that every day. We don’t know what else to do to help her. We can’t keep blitzing the place and having it go back a few days later. It’s soul destroying and it’s bloody hard work!

Any ideas on how to help her?!

Your Mum drives now and goes out shopping. If it were my Mum I would arrange a Mum/daughter trip and buy some new bits and pieces for the house like bedding, towels, kitchen stuff etc and just say that you find her house depressing and untidy and you don’t want to take her grandchildren there. This may sound harsh but I can’t see any other way. It will mean that you and your sister will need to do some more blitzes in there but when you see these Hoarders progs on TV, they all seem to get a sense of relief when it’s all cleared. Good luck!

Hello Jo, welcome to the forum.
Your mum is well enough to drive and go out socialising so she is well enough to tidy up. But she doesn’t want to tidy/clean ON HER OWN.So instead of cleaning and tidying up for her encourage her to tidy up together (eg for 30 mins or so at a time). That way she is more likely to cope. If she likes music put on her favourite music while you clean up TOGETHER. Don’t expect too much from her - the important thing is to get her started. Start with something easy like the washing up. Tell her you need her help.
Let us know how you get on.

My mum was a “clean hoarder”. It took a year to empty her house when she moved into residential care.

Give up trying to help. Take photos. Show the doctor. People have DIED in their homes due to health hazards!