Clearing out the Clutter Part II:
Pruning the Virtual Piles
Previously, we covered a strategy for trimming down piles of papers that have accumulated in recent months or years as your loved one’s disease began to manifest. Although literal piles of paper often comprise the most pressing mess that need to be handled, there are other, less obvious, sources of clutter that can be equally challenging.
As with financial, legal, and other paper documents that often accumulate, seniors have been known to amass all sorts of things that make it difficult for families to get organized. Particularly if your loved one has been developing dementia over a long period of time, you might find that they have essentially accumulated clutter in many different ways. Common issues that family members encounter include too many bank and investment accounts, duplicative household service providers or services, multiple doctors with the same specialty, and even overlapping prescriptions from different doctors.
Too many of anything can be troublesome for a family member striving for order. While sorting through old mail or documents, it’s not uncommon for families to discover excessive accounts or service providers. For example, you might find that your loved one has several bank accounts, many of which are not used regularly. While the existence of too many accounts might be troubling enough, the situation can be further complicated if businesses have changed names or relocated. If you’re just starting to oversee your loved one’s care, you might discover multiple doctors with overlapping specialties or even multiple prescriptions for the same condition. If that is the case, your number one priority should be to choose one doctor as Primary Care Physician (“PCP”) and get an appointment as soon as possible. If your normal family doctor doesn’t have experience with dementia, you’ll probably want to ask him or her to refer you to someone else.
With regards to clearing out the clutter of too many accounts, service providers, and the like, there is no quick fix. You’ll need to apply the same systematic approach that you used to trim down the piles of paper. You might need to define a different decluttering project for each aspect of your loved one’s affairs and begin tackling them one at a time. As with everything else, don’t be afraid to ask for help!