The clutter of mind and soul


Our family business is doing well during the pandemic, “says reader T,” but the problem is our 70-year-old mother. She clings to things, her house is so crowded. We joke that mom can open her own supermarket and she gets worse. Before the pandemic, she used to go to church every day and walk around the mall with friends, but now she buys things online that she doesn’t need. His wheezing worsens. What can we do?”

Your mother suffers from a hoarding disorder, exacerbated by the pandemic. Many of our current seniors haven’t gotten rich, so maybe your mom learned to be thrifty from her childhood. Some items, such as family photo albums, provide convenience and have become priceless treasures. This behavior isn’t necessarily alarming, but it’s clear that hoarding is already having a negative impact on your mother’s health and quality of life.

Aside from allergies, research shows people who live with the disorder are more likely to experience depression and anxiety, headaches, fatigue, low motivation, and low self-esteem. . Many older people are intimidated by technology, but your mom migrated online to buy and earn.

Maybe your mom is suffering from some kind of depression and anxiety. As a family, you need to patiently understand her situation and think about ways to improve her life.

If other symptoms, such as suicidal thoughts, occur, you should insist that she see a psychologist or psychiatrist as soon as possible, even online. Therapy can help, with medications to relieve depression and anxiety if needed.

Why does your mother accumulate things without considering their value?

Do you miss your mother, your grandchildren, her friends? Chat with her every day on Zoom, visit her when security permits, schedule weekly meetings with her circle of friends.

Does your mother fail to be useful at work? Encourage her to do philanthropy or other interests. Grace Tan Caktiong from Jollibee regularly meets online friends to do meditation, which is helping her at work and at home during this pandemic. (See March 4, 2021) Is your mother worried about the lack of control due to the pandemic? Take all reasonable precautions and ensure that guards can handle emergencies.

If your mom prioritizes other activities, she will have less time to spend cluttering the house. “The mess makes you forget your priorities,” says Alexander Green, Oxford Club investment manager in his book “Beyond Wealth”.

“Clutter steals your space… monopolizes your time… keeps you from living in the present. If we become obsessed with things from the past or things “that we might someday need,” we lose the only time we need to be alive: the present moment.

The mess “jeopardizes the relationship,” like what’s going on between you and your mom now.

Disorder also costs money. “We often hang on to unnecessary things because we paid for them dearly,” says Green. “But if you can’t see them, donate them to someone who can, or to charity… Unused goods are often expensive to store, insure, transport and maintain. In the worst case, they create a fire hazard.

Help your mom prioritize her belongings. Canal Marie Kondo for practical strategies for cleaning up your space.

Your mom seems to have strong faith, so tell her that the clutter is ultimately hurting the spirit. “Your possessions should be tools to help you achieve your dreams, not obstacles that hinder your progress,” says Green, and quotes organizational expert Peter Walsh: “Space [that clutter] occupying in people’s lives seriously hinders their personal growth and development. It crushes them spiritually.

Also guide your mother to perform daily masses online, like Radyo Katipunan’s, to boost her morale and faith. God protects you.

Erratum to last week’s column: Henry Lim Bon Liong did not study at Saint Jude Catholic School. It is a product of Crusaders Academy, Chiang Kai Shek College and Colegio de San Juan de Letran. Apologies.

Queena N. Lee-Chua is a member of the board of directors of Ateneo Family Business Center. Get his print book “All in the Family Business” at Lazada, or e-book at Amazon, Google Play, Apple iBooks. Contact the author at [email protected]

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