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Learning About Life From The Show Hoarders

We watch Hoarders. This week's episode featured a couple that was probably in their early 70's. They obviously had too much stuff but a lot of the issues they have to confront are things I look at regularly in terms of successful or unsuccessful aging.

    1. He lost his job at around 60

    They cite this as being a catalyst for their problems. She said that stuff made her feel like she was in a cocoon, implying it made her feel safe. Although not said overtly, he pretty much lost the will to do anything when he lost is job.

    People in their 50's and 60's unexpectedly lose their jobs all the time. Don't let something that is very common derail your entire life. Start now creating some sort of back up so that you are not devastated, emotionally or financially, in the face of a job loss.

    2. He has Type 2 Diabetes and Parkinson's

    I don't know his particulars so I am not talking about him. Many chronic maladies can be avoided or reversed by changing diet and starting to exercise.

    3. Frail

    They are both frail for whatever reason. This magnifies the threat from the mess. This issue comes up all the time about something happening in one of these houses and EMTs being unable to get to them or a fire starting and they're not being able to get out.

    If they are early or even mid-70's, being frail at that age can be avoided. Being frail by definition makes quality of life worse.

    4. Having a lot of stuff weighs us down

    Dialing back from someone with so much stuff they are on Hoarders, having a lot of stuff, a lot of clutter and so on, weighs on us, it becomes unhealthy. Not saying the sort of minimalism that goes with just owning 10 things is the answer. Maybe this is a good, even if harsh, benchmark, if you can't have someone over because your house is too messy to straighten up, not even clean, quickly then you probably have too much.

    5. They live on their bed

    I can't think of a worse example of waiting to die than that.

    6. Loss of autonomy

    No one wants their freedom of living where they choose taken from them. I can't envision these people maintaining this form of autonomy which is a terrible outcome.

    7. Purpose in life

    In watching the show, I am sure neither one would be able to articulate what their sense of purpose was. That is pretty harsh but I think accurate. It was a pretty sad episode.

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