For those who don’t know what a hoarder is, that is a person who accumulates things that have been discarded by others for future use. It is a mental illness that makes people so obsessed of collecting things that they devote most of their time to that activity only. If a friend of yours or your loved one is a hoarder, showing patience and understanding is the best way to help that person before he/she understands they need professional help for their obsession. Understand that you can’t just throw away all the stuff your friend has collected because hoarders develop a feeling of attachment to their items, and eventual clearing of those items can really break them down mentally. But even you do throw the trash away, and your friend is okay with that, be sure that it won’t be long before rubbish overtakes their place again. What you need is a long-term solution!
How to Help a Hoarder?
To help a hoarder cope with their inability to part with their belongings and clean-up for good, you firstly need to understand them. Do not judge them! Hoarding is mental disorder, and people suffering from it often do not understand they have a problem until it was gently explained to them. It may take time before a hoarder realize that there is a problem with all that collecting of worthless, hazardous or unsanitary things. Here is what you can do for your hoarder friend:
- Provide a listening ear to your friend. That’s the best you can do before the hoarder decide to seek professional help.
- Respond to requests for help. Don’t leave the hoarder to deal with his problems alone. Ask if he/she doesn’t want help to seek and select a therapist. Show moral support by going along with the person for a session or two.
- Help the hoarder to take small steps towards recovery. Once the therapy has begun, the person may be asked to accomplish different tasks between sessions, such as clearing out a closet or cleaning out a corner of a room. On this stage of therapy, you can help your hoarder friend by offering him/her to hold the box or bag the junk will be collect in. Do not give advice, or take part in the clearing process by any other way. The hoarder must decide of what to get rid of on their own. It is part of the recovery!
- Be patient. While a particular object is obviously junk to you, it may not be such for a hoarder. Understand that it is extremely difficult for a hoarder to part with any of their belongings, so be patient and realize it is not time for that item to be tossed out jet. Instead, move to another object that could be a candidate for the trash can.
- Expect setbacks. In a bright day a hoarder may be capable to clean out an entire closet, but on the next day he/she may be incapable to get rid of anything. Depending on these conditions, it may take anywhere form a few weeks to a year before a significant progress is made with the treatment. It would be a good idea to hire a rubbish removal company for that time in order to dispose of the junk your friend has managed to part with. I recommend using Rubbish Please – http://www.rubbishplease.co.uk/ – a professional and discreet rubbish clearance company in London.
- Remember that a hoarding disorder never completely goes away. The desire for collecting thing always will live in a hoarder. Therefore, the best practise is to learn to manage the disorder, instead of expecting it to go away and never come back. Help the hoarder to suppress the temptation of collecting by showing him the benefits of living in a clean and tidy home.
The Show that Helps People To Deal With Their Hoarding Disorder
AETV broadcasts that TV series called, “Hoarders”,(http://www.aetv.com/hoarders/) where all kind of hoarding stories are shown. I was shocked to find out that a girl was forced to sleep in a recliner because her mother, hoarder, has buried her room in trash. Another story, described as the worst hoard in show’s history, is about a woman whose house was crammed floor to ceiling with bottles filled with human waste… disgusting!!! No need for me to continue, just watch a few episodes of the series and you will get a pretty nice idea for the difficulties hoarders and their relatives are going through. In UK, similar TV series called, “Britain’s Biggest Hoarders”, was broadcast on BBC One .
Hoarders: Glen&Lisa episode: A collection of 2500 free-roaming rats have hoarded Glen out of his home and into a shed on his property.