One of the main problems with compulsive hoarding is that the hoarder often suffers as a result of their collecting habits. This can be more extreme when the hoarder is elderly, as often they are overwhelmed by the amount of possessions that they have.
So what should you do if you find out that an elderly relative is a hoarder?
Firstly, it’s important not to simply start throwing their property away. No matter how dirty or useless it may be, it is their stuff and they are likely to have formed a very strong attachment with it. It is at this point that a house clearance may be necessary.
If you simply start to throw it away, you are likely to cause them great suffering and a painful sense of loss. They are also unlikely to stop their collecting habits just because you get rid of their possessions and they may soon start collecting again.
Aside from that, it can also be dangerous for you to clear the property yourself. Dangerous items which pose a risk to your health may be found within the items, and when it does come to clearing the property then hire a professional house clearance company, preferably one with experience of hoarding.
Professional help should also be sought out as soon as possible. Your relative may be unwilling to seek help, and may resist your attempts to help them, but if you make them realise the danger they are placing others and themselves in then they may be more open to the idea.
Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) can be a great place to start. This can really help hoarders to start to change their behaviours and start to see the clutter around them for what it is. It can help them to decide more easily whether to keep an item or not, and can help to limit the dangers posed by their hoarding even if they don’t stop completely.
Remember, you cannot just cure hoarding on its own. You must be understanding and supportive of your relative, but professional help is needed if you want to really improve their quality of life.
We provide clearances for properties affected by hoarding. We operate in Londonn, Surrey, but we can clear your hoarding property wherever it is located in the UK.
For confidential advice call Jeffrey Avery on 0800 567 7769