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Hoarding Tips - Lake Worth

6/19/2018 (Permalink)

Chances are you’ve seen the television show Hoarders. If you haven’t, the basic premise is that a psychologist, a professional organizer, and cleaners go into an individual’s home and help clean up their hoard. When help arrives, the person in question is met with a deadline of some sort, whether it’s eviction, child protective services coming, adult protective services coming, or animal welfare coming and removing their children/themselves/their pets from the home. This show is fascinating to us because we can’t imagine anyone ever living like that. Unfortunately, it’s estimated that at least 2-6 percent of the population is affected by a hoarding disorder. The average age for hoarding is around 50, though it’s suggested that hoarding can appear as early as 11 to 15 years of age.

Hoarding can cause a mess of a problems. Not only does it cause strain on relationships and mental health, it can cause an unhealthy living environment as well. Mold and mildew can become present under piles of things, especially with an unknown water leak. Piles of stuff could topple and seriously injure or even kill the individual(s) living in the home. However, one of the biggest safety concerns relating to hoarding is fire.

The possibility of a fire in a home when hoarding is involved. Cooking becomes unsafe because of items piled high on countertops or on the floor. If the individual in the home uses a heater, the heater could easily fall over and start a fire, or a pest could chew on electrical wiring.

Hoarding also hinders first responders. If exits or doors are blocked, then they can’t get in the home to help the person in need. They won’t be able to move through the home in a swift manner and can even be trapped or injured by falling objects.

When it comes to cleaning out the home, approach the situation with compassion and understanding. While some items in the home maybe trash to you, they could be valued possessions to a hoarder. Hoarding is related oftentimes to obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) and anxiety. It can even be genetic.

If family or friends come in to help clear a hoarder’s home, it’s usually met with great distress because often times they don’t get to choose what or what not to keep. If not dealt with in the proper way, within a few months a home could be packed to the brim again.

So, what do you do if your loved one is a hoarder? How do you approach the situation? Here are four tips to get you started on helping your loved one.

  1. Seek Professional Help – Try and find a therapist that specializes in hoarding, OCD or anxiety. They will help the individual understand how hoarding is affecting their life and how to develop healthy habits and abilities to combat it. However, make sure they are ready to make these changes. Don’t force them into seeking help if they aren’t ready.
  2. Talk About Safety – Stress safety. They maybe more open to change if you express your concern for their wellbeing and safety in a hoarded home.
  3. Celebrate the Small Victories – Help the individual by setting small goals. Even if they take five hours to sort through and throw away a box, celebrate it! It’ll help them feel proud of what they’ve accomplished.
  4. Hoards Can Have Biohazards – Hoarding situations oftentimes have biohazards such as animal and human waste, or animal remains. You can call SERVPRO of Lake Worth/Benbrook to help handle anything biohazardous.

We are here to help, no matter the emergency. Just give us a call: 817.560.3086.