|Photo by ponsulak|
In a recent LinkedIn discussion, a participant asked for help with a family member who has extreme hoarding tendencies. The individual doesn’t allow anyone into her home and her family is rightly concerned about her welfare.
The best thing you can do is let the person know that you love and accept her for who she is. You cannot change her behavior or her physical environment. You can, occasionally, let her know that you are concerned about her safety (trip hazards, things falling, fire hazards, etc) and that you hope she is able to manage. You might also suggest counseling, if she is open to it.
Going in and clearing out an extreme hoarder’s home, however, is a very bad idea. Not only will you create mistrust and resentment, you might sever a relationship that is important to that individual’s mental health.
Even if you did completely change her living arrangements, she would simply begin hoarding again.
How can that be? After all, on the TV programs, they show people having their homes shoveled out. First, remember that it’s TV; second, remember that these are people who agreed to go on TV and ask for help. Chances are very good that they are not able to sustain changes without continued support.
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