Most hoarding engagements come about as a result of the hoarder being threatened with eviction. Homes that share a wall with another home can be put at risk when the neighbor is a hoarder. These risks include roach and rodent infestation, fire, and health hazards resulting from spoiled food, human and animal waste pathogens, and airborne contaminates. The hoarder will respond to the threat of eviction, but de-cluttering the home does not change the hoarding behavior. It will return.
Compulsive Hoarding Syndrome is often associated with obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD). It is a complex disorder, however – many hoarders suffer from other comorbid problems such as chronic depression, attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADD/ADHD), dementia, generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), social phobia, or schizophrenia/paranoia.¹‚ ²
Hoarding is neither simple, nor benign. As we talked about in an earlier installment, “Hoarding: Time to clean out the house,” hoarding can kill.
For many of us, and especially our seniors, communication with the outside world is an essential criterion of living independently and in our own homes. In the last ten or so years, cellular phones have become a key tool in the array of devices we use to communicate with one another. And with each new generation, cell phones have become more and more complex. Yet visual impairment due to such age-related conditions as glaucoma or macular degeneration can make using these devices extremely difficult.
Compulsive Hoarding – Getting Through to Mom that is Unsafe
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Getting parents help when they need it is part of being an adult child and a caregiver. We have to be their advocate when they cannot, or will not, be one for themselves. At the same time, we have to create healthy boundaries for ourselves. It is possible that you will eventually decide sharing a home is not the best situation for the two of you.
“I like the way you described your mom — funny, generous, and great company.” That’s a good place to start, focusing on what’s good about her and her life. Thinking about the ways she benefits you even now helps especially when things get harried and you get overwhelmed with all that “stuff” around you.
Compulsive Hoarding: Time to Clean Out the House
The hallway looked like any other. But the smell was overpowering the moment the elevator doors opened. Getting into apartment 411 was like going into another world. The stacks of garbage and trash were so tall and so closely crammed together that there was almost no way to open the front door. Hundreds of soda bottles filled with a gold liquid were throughout his home – it wasn’t soda….
How do we know if mom and dad need help and caregiving?
What questions can a person ask to help answer this big question?
We began talking with her a year ago. She was 86, spry, mentally sharp, unsteady on her feet, used a walker, and had fallen “maybe a couple of times, but wasn’t hurt, just some bruises.” Her house was seriously cluttered. She couldn’t get around using the walker because there wasn’t room for it. She didn’t want to do anything until she talked with “her boys.” Her boys were in their 50s, with families, jobs, homes. The son who lived nearby came to his mom’s 3-4 times a week. The son who lived out of state came one weekend a month. The boys said, “Mom, you need some help, more than we can give.” Mom said she’d think about it, maybe next month. Eleven months passed.