DEAR ABBY: My father, who is in his 60s, has a very controlling personality. He is also a hoarder. He refuses to throw anything away, and the rooms of his house are piled high with junk, old newspapers and magazines. He can never find anything. He has "misplaced" his checkbook, and many bills go unpaid because he misplaces them, too. His insurance was just canceled for nonpayment of the premium. When I tried to help him organize this mess, I found unopened mail and traveler's checks mixed in with his junk.
He gets furious with me for interfering and becomes nasty with the whole family if someone throws away an outdated newspaper or magazine. He says he plans to read them and wants them stacked in the rooms or basement until he's ready for them.
I dread the day when I will be stuck sorting this mound of trash. Please advise me if there is a solution to this problem. -- FRUSTRATED WITH PAPA HOARDER
DEAR FRUSTRATED: Your father is not competent to live alone. He can no longer handle his finances, and the accumulation of junk makes his home a fire hazard and probably a health hazard as well. Stacks of papers and other junk are havens for rodents and insect pests.
Talk to an attorney. Someone (probably you) should be appointed to manage your father's finances and have the authority to get someone to look after him, or to place him in a care facility.
Don't delay -- the time to act is now!