Help With Hoarding
We Can Handle Any Size Job Without Judgement
Hoarding, a mental condition leading to a person compulsively collecting and keeping any number of items, impacts a great number of Americans — maybe 2- to 5-percent of the population. Unfortunately, many of us suffering with the condition or seeing loved ones suffer with it rarely recognize it as the serious problem it may be.
Associated with other disorders
Hoarding often starts in adolescence, around 13 years of age, but continues to grow in severity as a person ages. Greater Lynn Senior Services of Scituate, Massachusetts, explains that unfortunately very few of the people affected ever seek help for their problem, nor do their families. In their 2012 informational publication, “Hoarding: Best Practices Guide”, they detail several of the issues and problems leading up to compulsive hoarding. Hoarding is most often associated with other mental health issues including, but not limited to:
- obsessive compulsive disorder
- social phobias
While hoarding has become more prominent in the public eye due to education and even television shows, it remains a relatively poorly studied disease that we still have much to learn about.
Although some people see individuals with hoarding behaviors as lazy, this mental condition is so much more. Because of the debilitating effects of the mental disorder, hoarders are not able to organize, de-clutter or even stop saving the items they’ve started collecting. Once the condition has grown into a severe event, the behavior creates health, structural, fire and other hazards.
The sheer amount of items may make it difficult for the individual to get around their home and create a falling hazard, along with additional fire hazards. Additional hazards include the possibility of infestations from various pests, mold or mildew, which may create dangerous health hazards – especially to older individuals living with the condition. Unfortunately, a hoarding situation that has grown into a severe problem can prevent fire and medical professionals from entering the home in the case of emergencies.
If a loved one needs help with the problem, it’s important to support them through the process as there may be many blockades: the person may not realize the issue, they may be emotionally attached to their items, they may be too embarrassed or they may simply resist the help.
Reassure the person they are in control of their home but also press on important benefits of cleaning up: enjoying the space in their home, removing obstacles which may bring health and safety hazards, being able to cook for themselves, and enjoying having family or friends over.
In most cases, we will help you through the process by allowing the hoarding individual or family member to choose what stays and goes. You can even pull up your favorite chair and we will present items on a case-to-case basis for the final decision on whether it stays or goes. Items that go are taken out immediately, reducing the chance of a mind change. In addition, Lansing Junk Removal is dedicated to keeping as much out of the landfill as possible: we donate or repurpose up to 80- to 90-percent of items. For many individuals, this allows them to see additional benefit of cleaning up as we are not simply removing and destroying parts of their life, but giving new life to the items with someone who could truly benefit from them.
If you need additional help with hoarding, whether you are seeing the problem in yourself or a loved one, reach out for help. If you need additional assistance, reach out to your local seniors committee, family services or another organization dedicated to the health and well-being of
individuals in your community.