We know an elderly woman who is probably not safe in her own home anymore. She has stacks and stacks of magazines, newspapers (still gets 2 dailies), catalogs (OMG the number of catalogs is frightening), and other detritus. Every gift she receives, every book she reads, every DVD she watches -- it all stacks up. She refuses to have anyone come in and clean or pick things up (even family members), so there are little walkways in between piles of debris. She steadies herself by touching piles of stuff as she goes by. You can see them wobble as she does. Sometimes they fall and the slick catalogs are now on the floor.
She cannot physically do the clean-up herself, but becomes anxious beyond belief if anyone tries to help her with any of it.
Her physical strength is so low that she can barely climb the steps to her front door.
Yet, this woman is of sound mind and absolutely resists any help offered or suggestions made.
In the old days, it would have never gotten to this point. Someone, usually a family member, would have moved in or moved her in with them, and managed the situation. For years, this woman has been physically unable to shift the things that need to be disposed of -- and now it's overwhelming for anyone. She's not a hoarder; she just can't manage the stuff.
Also in the old days people used to have "interventions" for alcohol abuse. I wonder whether there's such a thing for elderly people who have allowed a situation to deterioriate to this point.
So what does one do in this situation? Just stand by and wait for the 911 call? Have any of you dealt with this with an elderly person? How did you handle it?