Different from collecting, hoarding involves keeping items that have value to the person but unlike collecting where they are organized, hoarding moves beyond its designated containers and spills over into the person’s space.
Very little is known why people hoard, but most psychologists agree that it starts during puberty though most people will not seek help until they are 50. Some experts also believe it can be a form of obsessive compulsory disorder or related to inherited brain patterns.
Nonetheless, one thing is sure; hoarding is an unhealthy behavior. The question then is, how do you deal with a hoarder? Here are the dos and don’ts.
Hoarder Help: Don’ts
- Don’t remove property without the person’s consent Though it might seem like the person will be better off starting with a clean slate, you will end up causing the person emotional distress as s/he will have lost valuable items. Also, it is not a long-term solution as you have not addressed the underlying issue, and the person might revert to old ways.
- Don’t get angry or try to reason with the person right away. Anger will only scare the hoarder and s/he will distance herself from you. Reasoning with the person also will get you nowhere as the hoarder has created a sense of normalcy with the situation.
- Finally, do not enable the behavior. Yes, taking things away is wrong, but buying them gifts or taking them on shopping trips is equally bad. Though you might want to show love, do so in a way that is not related to consumption.
Hoarder Help: Dos
Now that you know what not to do, here are some things you should do.
- First, do try and learn more about hoarding. Yes, TV shows do spread awareness about this disorder, but they often paint an incorrect picture. Seek to learn from experts, so you are in a better situation to know what the person is dealing with.
- Keep everything confidential. Hoarders realize that their habit of holding on to thing is not healthy and thus are cautious. They rarely let people into their spaces, and you should assure them of your confidentiality if you are to earn their trust.
- Encourage them to seek professional help. Though you cannot force someone to seek help, you can nudge and point them in the right direction. You can also be part of the process and help them find a professional or provide the resources that they need.
- The final step in the hoarder help process is to find a professional company when the person is ready to let the items go. These can help identify things that are important from those that are not and help organize the house in a way that the hoarder can cope.
Hoarding; the persistent difficulty of discarding things because of a perceived need to save them can result in people becoming reserved. When dealing with one, ensure they are in their element if you are to start an honest discussion about the behavior.
Moreover, you should hire a professional company (such as Junk King if you are in Marin) to get rid of the items. You can be sure that we will leave the place in a way the person can cope. Contact us for more information.