Do you control your possessions or do they control you?

The role of a Cire In Home Carer is often diverse and challenging, with tasks ranging from general house cleaning, assisting with grocery shopping, personal care, meal preparation and respite for family carers. However, there are other ways that Cire carers support people in their own homes.


Cire In Home Carers sometimes enter a person’s home and there are personal items everywhere, often starting from the front gate. Cars, tools, books, newspapers, pots, plants, bottles, furniture, clothes, hats, food, condiments, the list goes on. In this type of environment carers are faced with the challenge of being able to work safely and respect the person’s home and their choices.

“We may own the things in our home but they own us as well” ‘Stuff: Compulsive Hoarding and the Meaning of Things’ by Dr Randy Frost

Carers may not know the history of how the person has developed attachments to their possessions. Each item could have significant meaning, or represent an event or special time in that person’s life. The value of an item may have increased over time and may have been with a person through good times and bad. How does a carer approach their work if their role is to tidy and clean the house or assist in the removal of items from the house?

A good way to begin to understand the emotional attachment to possessions is for carers to ask themselves “Could you pack up all your things into one suitcase and leave your home forever?” Most people would probably respond that they may find it difficult but ultimately they could do it. However if we added another layer onto this and considered that some of the items we were leaving behind had belonged to family members that had passed away, or were given to us 60 years ago, or came from the old cinema that we attended as a child or represented a significant time in our life, we begin to understand the emotions that these items may represent.

If Cire carers understand that items have memories attached to them they can then start to discuss some of these memories with the person. It can be a very slow process and sometimes an acknowledgement of an item’s significance can assist a person in being able to let it go. It takes a lot of patience and understanding to work in this environment. Cire In Home Carers are very experienced in this area and are able to support people to remain living independently in a way that is safe and respects their right to choice.

If you would like to learn more about the services Cire In Home Care offer call 1300 835 235. If you are interested in a career in the aged care industry, Cire Training offers Certificate III in Individual Support.