Things to Keep in Mind When Helping Someone Deal with Hoarding Disorder

Helping Someone Deal with Hoarding Disorder

If you’re living with a loved one, or have a friend experiencing hoarding disorder, it can be extremely distressing and frustrating to see. It affects your relationship with that person, even though you may be searching for ways to help them. The approach that one takes can either be helpful or detrimental to someone with a hoarding disorder. It might feel like a difficult task, especially if they don’t agree that they are hoarding. When trying to offer support or talking to them about it, remember to also look after your own wellbeing. While hoarding cleanup professionals are best equipped to handle any level of hoarding, here are some things you should know as you help a loved one deal with the hoarding disorder.

Take the Time to Educate Yourself About Hoarding Disorder

Understand that hoarding is not a choice or a personal failing on the part of the hoarder. The fear, loneliness, and anxiety associated with hoarding, are all very real and overwhelming to the hoarder. It is easier to be empathetic towards your loved one when you understand more about the disorder. You will be able to offer the most appropriate support.

Suggest and Encourage Professional Help or Counseling

Most hoarders struggle to take the appropriate steps to address hoarding. When a hoarder recognises they have a hoarding problem, help them by offering to research therapists, treatment programs or support groups in your area. Though you can’t force someone to receive professional help with hoarding, you can provide them with the information and options available. To help keep them on track, offer to accompany them on appointments.

Allow Your Loved One to Feel in Control by Including Them in Communications and Decisions with Authorities

In situations where local authorities, social services or the RSPCA needs to be involved, you should always discuss this with your loved one first. This makes them feel included and they will be more open to accepting help. However, if there is a serious risk to safety, it may be necessary to call the authorities without their permission.

Focus on the Person and Safety Aspects

Helping the hoarder address the underlying causes of the disorder will ensure the space will not be filled again soon and the hoarding behavior will not likely resume. Listen to your loved one and show them you understand what they are going through. Hoarders don’t consider their excess items to be ‘junk’ or ‘stuff’. You can build trust if you refer to their possessions in the same terms they use – ‘collections’ or ‘things’ Though it’s not always likely that the hoarder’s entire space will be cleared up, what’s important is the well-being and safety of your loved one. When you put emphasis on harm reduction and work together to reduce the risk of accidents, it can help start the process for change.

Let Your Loved One Know You Are There for Them

Make sure your loved one knows that you care for them and can help them find the right support whenever they are ready. Just by being there for your loved one, you could help them avoid feeling isolated. Decision-making and finding the motivation to change are often struggles for people who hoard. Your assistance, understanding and non-judgment will be crucial in helping build trust between you and your loved one.

Volunteer to Help Them

Your loved one may have a house full of hoarded items even after they have stopped the hoarding behavior. Offer to sort through their belongings and clean the home if they ask for help. Professional hoarding cleanup companies specialise in providing services to those who have hoarding issues. Contacting such organisations can avoid the cleanup from becoming daunting and overwhelming, so you and your loved one can focus on the recovery.

Bio-Cleanse Pty Ltd. Can Help to Get Your Life and Home Back

Hoarding can be frustrating for someone with the disorder. If you or someone you know is living with a hoarding disorder, Bio-Cleanse Pty Ltd. is happy to work alongside you, to help reclaim the space. Our trained technicians de-clutter and clean properties with respect and patience. Our cleaning teams have years of experience handling hoarding scenarios that can be time-consuming, exhausting, and often traumatising to the hoarder and their loved ones.

Contact our cleaning consultants for discreet hoarding services at 0409 037 634 or for hoarding cleanup services. We operate 24×7 in Bowral, Mittagong, Moss Vale, Goulburn, and Canberra.

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