People with hoarding disorders have an increased attachment to items and belongings that others would see as worthless or unusable. They accumulate and collect items as a way to feel comforted, so they often feel stressed at the thoughts of parting with their belongings. This can lead to an overly cluttered, unsanitary, and unsafe living environment. Not only does it make their home unsafe to live in but a hoarding disorder can also have an impact on relationships with family and friends who struggle to understand or help them.
If you know someone who has a hoarding disorder it is understandable if you feel overwhelmed and frustrated, particularly when the sufferer does not see that there is an issue and continues to collect unnecessary items. It is very difficult to change the behaviour of someone who suffers with the disorder, and seeking professional help and counselling may be the only way to help them in the long run. There are of course concerns about the hoarders health problems created by unhygienic living conditions, or the risk of fires and injuries from all the clutter in their home.
It is important to remember that hoarding is not a choice and you may even feel that the hoarder cares more about their possessions than they do about you.
How to help someone who hoards
Firstly it is a good idea to educate yourself as it is tempting to become angry and frustrated with the person who is hoarding, however educating yourself will help you have a better understanding of what they are experiencing. When you have a better understanding your are more likely to offer the appropriate support that will help their situation.
We often view the items as junk or useless objects however, to the person that hoards they are very important and offer them comfort no matter whether it is a 10 year old newspaper or a piece of jewellery. With this is mind it is often helpful if you use the same language as them so not to refer to it as junk.
As is frequently the case, those that hoard do not see that there is an issue even if the rooms in the house do not function due to the amount of clutter. It is recommended to focus on the safety aspects to help them understand the issues surrounding the hoarding. Point out that there is a fire risk and no clear route for them to escape should a fire take hold. Another health risk is rotten food and pests that can bring with them many diseases.
Motivate them to change by offering help. Supporting them with decision making and providing assistance to help make the task easier whilst working at their pace.
For further information on our hoarding clean up service and how we can help you, please contact us on 02036408247 or emails us at [email protected]