Help a Hoarder
When does a person go from a collector to a hoarder? David Tolin, PhD, author of Buried in Treasures, explores that very question in great detail. Dr. Tolin uses the title of his book to beautifully sum up his thesis behind hoarding with three simple words. The last being the most important.
A hoarder is merely a person who treasures items most others would not. How does a collection turn to clutter? And, ultimately, how does clutter turn to hoarding? Only a hoarder would be able to explain the answers to those questions as each hoarding situation is as unique as the person affected by the condition.
Hoarding impacts several key elements in the life of a hoarder:
- Health (both physical and mental)
- Relationships with family and friends
- Value of property
- Value of the community to which the home belongs
When “collecting what we don’t need” transforms into hampering the quality of everyday life, health becomes a major concern. In many cases, a hoarder will experience issues with breathing due to air quality being affected by the massive amount of accumulation. Eating patterns will change drastically due to the inability to properly utilize the kitchen. Sleeping disorders can also develop when a hoarder uses their bedroom for storage instead of rest.
In many cases, hoarding situations are brought to light by concerned family members or friends. All too often, it is long after relationships are strained beyond repair that a hoarder gets help they need to put their life back on track. A hoarder may forbid visitors from ever entering the home out of shame for the condition it is in. This self-imposed isolation has the potential to shatter familial and neighborly bonds.
Hoarding situations are also hazardous to the community in which the hoarder calls home. Damage to the infrastructure of the property, sewage leaks, and outdoor storage all lower the value of the home itself, causing the worth of properties in surrounding neighborhoods to become negatively affected.
Hoarding is a condition that, though only recently brought to the forefront of the general public’s attention, affects the lives of more people than one may think. Imagine, Panic Disorder affects 1% of the world’s population. Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), though regularly a topic of conversation, only touches the lives of 2% of the populace. Hoarding is believed to influence the lives of 2% to 5% of the world’s inhabitants.
Though this condition may have been popularized by television shows and documentaries, a hoarder does not crave attention. Helping a hoarder goes well beyond constant scrutiny and heated, awkward interactions. Solutions are not as quick as “before and after” photos or one-hour television episodes may suggest. Positively changing the life of a hoarder takes time, patience, and guidance. Acquiring tips on how to connect with a hoarder can be extremely helpful while indorsing change in their lives.
Rekindle the connection with the person in your life who may have become a hoarder. Once a plan of action has been discussed and endorsed by all parties involved, help can be found with Address Our Mess by contacting us anytime.