Hoarding is a mental health condition that, at its mildest, can create an uncomfortable living situation, and at its worst, without proper junk removal, can make a hazardous living area. It often leads to losing friends and family, so these people are in need of help and special care. While only 5 percent of the population hoards, only about 15 percent of those people recognize that their behavior is irrational and potentially dangerous.
While you cannot force a loved one to get better, you can give them the support and care they need to seek help. This is the only way you can help them on the way to recovery. We have compiled a few ways you can care for a loved one who hoards:
Don’t Steal Any Possessions
We are aware that their home may be covered entirely in clothes, old cards, and even trash – but taking items and disposing of them without their consent can lead to serious issues. We can guarantee that it won’t cure the problem, and it may lead them to alienate you indefinitely. People who hoard can experience extreme distress if their possessions go missing. Even though your intentions may be pure, you could lose that loved one in the process.
Don’t Enable Their Actions
While you can’t stop them from hoarding, you can make sure you don’t enable them. If you have a loved one who collects items impulsively, do not add to these collections for every gift giving holiday. Also, never offer to store items for them, even if they ask. Before you know it, their possessions may overrun your home.
The best way you can help is to understand. Read online, talk to professionals, and ask mental health professionals how you can help based on your relationship with the hoarder. You can even attend a support group for people who want to help those in their lives who hoard. Once you have a good idea of the feelings that these hoarders experience, you may be able to connect on a deeper level with your loved one and let them know that you understand.
Recognize Small Achievements
If you see your loved one throw away a few items, no matter how small or few in number they may be, offer them praise and encouragement. They will feel the impact of these small victories if you remind them, and this may encourage them to continue clearing through their items. If those achievements go unnoticed, they may think that these actions do not matter; this can limit their incentive to keep working towards clearing their home.
At Spartan Junk Removal, we know how hard it can be to work with a hoarder. We are one of the few junk removal companies that will work with hoarding situations, so give us a call when you need us. We are here to help you and your loved one! Check back soon for part 2 of this blog that outlines more ways to care for a loved one who struggles with a hoarding problem.