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HomeLatest NewsElderly Woman Sleeps Along Corridor Outside Woodlands Home, Hoarded Items Block Entryway

Elderly Woman Sleeps Along Corridor Outside Woodlands Home, Hoarded Items Block Entryway

Elderly Woman Sleeps Outside House Filled With Hoarded Items

For the past 10 years, an elderly woman has purportedly slept along the corridor outside her home in Woodlands.

She stores her collected items in her flat, to the point that they effectively block the entryway into her unit.

As she is unable to get into her house, she now uses a piece of cardboard as a bed and sleeps along the corridor.

Elderly woman who sleeps outside can’t enter her home

According to Shin Min Daily News, the elderly woman lives at Block 603 Woodlands Drive 42.

Source: Google Maps

She started collecting items in her flat about 20 years ago, against the advice of others.

Currently, the items are essentially “overflowing” out of her house, blocking the wooden door and metal gate.

When a reporter went onsite on Tuesday (26 Sep), they saw an elderly woman in her 60s lying on a piece of cardboard outside the house. She only sat up upon realising that someone was passing by.

The woman has a head of grey hair and appeared dull, but seemed to be in decent spirits, Shin Min reported.

Items ‘overflowing’ from the unit emit a foul odour

Responding to questions about where the items came from, she said in a soft voice that she picked them up from downstairs and wanted to sell them.

She did not reply when the reporter asked if she knew the items posed a danger.

Source: Shin Min Daily News via Lianhe Zaobao

Her collection ranged across a variety of knick-knacks. Besides clothes, there were also plastic utensils, luggages, cardboard boxes, and plastic bottles. There was also a box of oranges that emitted a foul odour.

According to one neighbour who wishes to remain anonymous, the elderly woman owns the four-room unit.

Reportedly, she had a job in the past, but no one knows what happened that caused her situation to get to this point.

“She has a brother who visits occasionally, but she is on her own most of the time. Sometimes, she collects metal cans to sell, but keeps most of them.”

Neighbours & volunteers bring food to elderly woman who sleeps outside

Another neighbour revealed that sometimes, the elderly woman would receive visits from volunteers who bring her food.

Other residents would also contribute some food items to her out of sympathy.

Source: Shin Min Daily News via Lianhe Zaobao

“She is not very noisy and treats people kindly, so most residents are not hostile towards her,” the neighbour said.

“My mother helps her cut her hair and maintain her personal hygiene as well.”

Items pose a fire hazard & attract pests

Besides the foul odour, the items have also attracted pests such as rats and cockroaches. Some neighbours shared that they have observed five or six cockroaches crawling around the house.

“Previously, I had to use insecticide on a regular basis. But ever since I got a cat, it will catch the pests and the situation has slowly gotten better,” one resident noted.

Neighbours who require Personal Mobility Aids (PMA) also find it hard to navigate the corridor due to the sheer amount of things outside the woman’s house.

The items also posed a fire risk. Resident Mr Zhang (transliterated from Mandarin) recounted one such incident around 20 years ago.

Source: Shin Min Daily News via Lianhe Zaobao

“The fire caused the whole block to experience a blackout. The smoke also blackened the corridor, and many residents helped to put out the flames.”

She would bring up more items after authorities helped to clear some

Mr Zhang said that the authorities have sent people to the flat in question to clear out some of the things.

They would remove a large amount of items every visit, but the elderly woman would just bring more things back up after they leave.

He said that sometimes, residents would spot her going through the trash past midnight.

Woman may be a hoarder, sign of larger psychological conditions

Senior consultant psychologist and associate professor Li Qing (transliterated from Mandarin) told Shin Min that the elderly woman might be a hoarder.

Source: Shin Min Daily News via Lianhe Zaobao

Hoarding could be a mental condition on its own, or a symptom of a larger psychological problem.

It may be an indication of conditions such as anxiety and depression.

People who hoard may think that the items are valuable. They hence develop an emotional attachment to the things and do not want them to go to waste.

Also Read: S’pore Singer Helps ‘Hoarder’ Mum Declutter Home, Neater Environment Has Improved Their Mental Health

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Featured image adapted from Shin Min Daily News via Lianhe Zaobao.

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