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Alzheimer’s and Hoarding

Alzheimer’s and Hoarding


I still smile as I remember Mom’s surprise when we opened all those containers of cottage cheese she’d been hoarding in her refrigerator.

On one of our customary grocery shopping runs, Mom reminded me that she needed to buy fruit. Lots of fruit! She said the refrigerator was full of cottage cheese and she needed fruit to eat all the cottage cheese before it ruined.

I asked why she had so much cottage cheese. She didn’t know. I assumed she’d been purchasing it every week and forgetting to remove it from her grocery list. In the last few weeks she’d begun to accumulate a lot of groceries, I noticed. So I had taken to double-checking her grocery list, myself.

Cereal, crackers, Twinkies and a few too many honey buns filled Mom’s cabinets.

Since I’d been taking her to the grocery store recently, we’d found many duplicates besides cottage cheese; cereal, crackers, Twinkies and a few too many “honey buns” filled Mom’s cabinets. So this trip we bought fruit; both fresh fruit and canned fruit so Mom could eat all the cottage cheese in her refrigerator.

I was already thinking ahead as we unloaded the car. If there was that much cottage cheese, surely some had already ruined. I vowed to check each container before putting any food away.

Living alone, Mom didn’t require the same amount of groceries that she’d purchased when her husband was alive. I could imagine it would be difficult to change your thinking and purchasing when your family size suddenly shrank.

We brought in all the groceries. Piled the fresh fruit high in a bowl atop the dining table and put everything away except the perishable refrigerated goods. I saw all the cottage cheese containers as soon as I swung the refrigerator door open.

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