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Resources to Help Deal with Chronic Disorganization

Vickie Dellaquila - October 19, 2015 12:35 PM

I recently attended the Institute for Challenging Organization (ICD) annual conference. I have been a member of ICD for over 10 years and their mission is to “provide education, research, and strategies to benefit people challenged by chronic disorganization”.

There were wonderful, informative, presentations given at the conference. One that stands out is Margit Novak’s presentation, Still Someone: Working with People Who Have Memory Loss. Margit is the founder of the National Association of Senior Move Managers (NASMM) and has worked with seniors for decades on downsizing, organizing, and the move management process. Margit’s presentation focused on how to help seniors through the decision making process when helping them downsize and organize. She gave good suggestions on how to help a senior with memory loss through the decision maker process while maintaining their self-esteem.

Another great presentation was by Barry Yourgrau-MESS: One Man’s Struggle to Clean up His House & His Act. Barry is a writer and performer and lives New York City and has struggled with chronic disorganization and hoarding tendencies. Not only does Barry document his experience, but his involvement along the way with psychologists, artists, collectors, and those who have hoarding tendencies. He conveyed to professional organizers and to me about how difficult it is for a person to let go of items from his perspective and documents his journey in his book.

Ann Williams, Ph.D., RN, and CDE also presented about Universal Design: Making Life Easier for Everyone. She examined the principles of the universal design with our aging population and those with many disabilities such as sensory, physical, and mental disabilities. She introduced the seven principles of universal design and how to implement them with clients and ourselves as we age. As our population age’s universal design becomes very important to be able to function in a home safely.

Many caregivers along with professional organizers can “care” too much and experience Compassion Fatigue as presented by Patricia Smith. The causes, symptoms, and cause of compassion fatigue can happen to anyone who is caring for an individual who is ill, a senior, or anyone who needs to be cared for on ongoing basis. Many caregivers and those working in the “caring” field can experience compassion fatigue and we learned how to recognize it with clients and ourselves.

Here are some of the resources discussed in this article that you might find helpful for yourself or a senior loved one:

•    Institute for Challenging Disorganization

•    National Association of Senior Move Managers

•    Margit Novak

•    Barry Yourgrau-MES S: One Man’s Struggle to Clean Up His House & His Act. Barry is a writer and performer and lives New York

•    Universal Design

•    Compassion Fatigue Syndrome

I believe strongly in educating myself as do many of my other colleagues on issues that affect our clients. Not only does it makes me a better professional organizer, but gives me skills to help better serve my clients and their families. ecareDiary continues to be an outstanding of information for seniors, professionals, and their families.

Vickie Dellaquila is western Pennsylvania’s only Certified Professional Organizer in Chronic Disorganization and owner of Organization Rules® Inc. Organization Rules provides compassionate organizing services for every stage of your life®. She is the author of Don’t Toss My Memories in the Trash: A Step-by-Step Guide to Helping Seniors Downsize, Organize, and Move. Please visit

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