Article on hoarding & history in today's Wall Street Journal
On the front page, no less! It's about people who grew up in the depression and learned to save and reuse. Many of them saved so much stuff they've forgotten what they have. Professional de-clutterers have discovered valuable family heirlooms but also documents that illuminate social as well as family history. Traditionally, social service agencie and landlords intervened to get rid of everything. Professional de-clutterers take a different approach, weeding out the important from the junk. In many cases, the older people who were the clients had just gotten too tired to go through stuff anymore, or lost heart/motivation when a partner died. Some of the organizers also have to convince adult children that they shouldn't just trash the lot.
They mention, in passing, the fact that the 85+ population is the fastest growing segment, but don't really speculate on how widespread hoarding is in older populations. Those over 85 now were stronly influenced by the Depression; will baby boomers, for example, exhibit the same behavior? It's interesting to speculate.