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HORIZON BLOG

Mom Wants to Hoard for the Second Wave

 

Question

"My mother wants to begin hoarding for the “second wave.” I think this is crazy. She has extra items from the first time she began hoarding food and toilet paper in the spring. 

I have assured mom that she has plenty of supplies and food on hand. In fact, I think she has more than she can ever eat in her lifetime. I believe that she needs to settle down and stop buying unnecessary items. Do you think this is some form of dementia, or is she just scared?"

 

Answer

In these days of minimalism, I would seem strange to suggest that storing a little bit of extra food is just fine. Though frankly, is it really going to hurt anything if she adds just a little bit to her stash?

It’s all a matter of degree here. If your mother has filled a room or parts of her home with things she will not use, and it’s starting to stack up everywhere, she is hoarding. Don’t encourage even more of that behavior. If this is a new problem, intervention would be a good idea. Start with a medical checkup and ask for a referral to a good counselor who has experience with hoarders. Do your best to see to it that she keeps those appointments. 

However, if your mother has just a bag or two extra of groceries and she feels that one more bag would make her feel secure, then why not? It will cause no harm. It will, though, be a bit more challenging to manage and rotate the extra supplies so that they don’t get stale or infested. If she is going to store them, they must be rotated, just like a stocker does in a grocery store. They always move the oldest to the front and stock from the back. It keeps the inventory fresh and prevents expiration date issues. 

Do help your mother select items that don’t easily perish and that she will actually eat before they become unusable. This could be more of a challenge than it sounds. She isn’t running a grocery store and doesn’t have staff to manage her inventory. If she’s eating for one, she also does not eat a lot, so it’s quite easy to over-buy. 

This is a time of high anxiety for all of us, and your mother is no exception. She likely lived through the Great Depression and experienced food lines. She is likely afraid. Do your best to listen to her fears without judgement and help her to establish a realistic plan.

I wish you well on this shared journey.

 

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