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Help A Hoarder: How To Help A Friend or Family Member Who Hoards Junk

Is there anyone in your family or close friends who have a hoarding problem? An individual exhibiting this behaviour requires our help and should be handled accordingly.

That’s why you most likely attempted to assist a loved one or a friend who suffers from hoarding disorder. And despite your best efforts, the person refused to listen or reacted negatively.

Hoarding creates problems and the accumulation of excessive rubbish piles in anyone’s living space. This habit not only harms a person’s well-being but also compromises an individual’s safety.

Continue reading to learn how we can guide your loved one in breaking this difficult and deeply ingrained habit.

What is Hoarding Disorder?

The need to save the item and the difficulty in discarding it are the most basic definitions of hoarding disorder. 

Every hoarder considers the items to be necessities, thus the need to save them. That is why junk and rubbish accumulate to the point of excess. And when you try to confront them in getting rid of the clutter, they may experience distress. 

How to Recognise a Hoarder?

You pay a surprise visit to a 64-year-old loved one. Instead of surprising the person, you are met with a stack of magazines, newspapers, boxes, and other unwanted junk.

You offered to clean, declutter or decide to hire someone to remove and discard the stack of rubbish. And, despite your efforts to help your loved one get rid of all the clutter, you’ve been misunderstood and pushed away. You then realise that the person requires assistance. 

As you can see, one of the most common telltale signs of a hoarder is the refusal to acknowledge the problem. The refusal to accept help or even admit the problem is the most frustrating and disheartening aspect of the situation.

You should not, however, feel defeated or frustrated. Understanding why your loved one is hesitant to accept help is the first step toward assisting him or her. 

Understanding Why We Hoard Junk

Some hoarders are aware that their living conditions are unsafe and uncomfortable. Others are vehemently opposed to or actively avoid treatment or assistance. 

People with hoarding issues appear perplexed by the reactions of family members to the clutter. They usually appear unconcerned about the risks and discomfort that come with living with too much junk.

Most of the time, they try to downplay the situation by being unreasonable. And, despite being intelligent and rational in other ways, showing little awareness of the problem.

Here are some of the reasons why your loved one refuses help including:

  • A lack of insight. The majority of hoarders are unaware of their excessive behaviour of accumulating junk and rubbish.
  • Disagreement about how to solve the problem. Although some will admit to having a problem, they frequently dismiss the idea of seeking help.
  • Fear. Hoarders are terrified of being evicted and forced to clear out their possessions.
  • Personal values. Quitting hoarding behaviour is difficult for the person as it fulfils a number of important values.  

Tips on How to Approach A Friend or Family Member that Hoards Junk?

In general, hoarders struggle to distinguish between hoarding and collecting. Although their material accumulation may be similar, there’s a significant difference in the mindset of a collector versus a hoarder.

There are several ways to help your loved one with hoarding problems. But, to begin assisting a hoarder in decluttering, both you and your loved one should be educated. Some hoarders are open and willing to accept help, while others are adamantly opposed to it. 

So, before embarking on this difficult task, arm yourself with the right resources. You can find hoarding information from government agencies and even community centres. 

Let us show you some of the most effective ways, do’s and don’ts for helping someone with hoarding issues. 

  • Always keep your loved one or friend informed and involved in your efforts to assist.
  • Do not contact as much as possible your loved one’s doctor, therapist, or anyone else on his/her behalf without first obtaining permission.
  • Do not work behind her back or even conspire with other family members to get her into treatment. 
  • If the hoarding extends outside, contact your local council
  • Local councils can only collect and haul so much junk. So it’s best to enlist the assistance of a reputable garbage removal company.
  • You may need to contact local community agencies such as NSW Health for serious hoarding issues.

Hoarding Treatment Programs in Sydney

Hoarding appears to be common in older people. That’s why we must be cautious in dealing with the situation while also being motivated to ensure the safety of our elderly. The following organisations will be able to provide assistance through:

1. Catholic Healthcare 

Catholic Healthcare has a hoarding and squalor program that seeks to assist people who have hoarding tendencies or who live in domestic squalor.

2. Way Ahead

Way Ahead helps in educating people throughout NSW about mental health and wellbeing. As well as connecting them to services and resources that can help them improve their mental health.

3. City of Sydney

The City of Sydney visits the residence and evaluates the conditions and risks.

If you know someone who is a hoarder then it’s important that you take the right steps to get them help, slowly. Contact the professionals listed above and get them in touch with the people who care.

Sarah Ann

Sarah Ann

Sarah Ann is a Digital Content Writer for Paul's Rubbish Removal. Sarah is a huge advocate for recycling, environmental sustainability, health and well-being and has a genuine love for all sea animals. Keep up with Sarah by following Paul's Rubbish Removal blog!

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