The Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA) defines hoarding as “the compulsive purchasing, acquiring, searching, and saving of items that have little or no value.” The behavior usually has harmful effects — emotional, physical, social, financial, and even legal — for the hoarder and their family members.
Hoarding is recognized as a mental health issue and a public health problem that affects 2-5% of our society. Unfortunately, many sufferers and their support systems don’t know where to turn when the challenges become too great or the situation is unsafe.
Why Do People Hoard?
- Items are perceived as valuable
- Items provide a source of security
- Fear of forgetting or losing items
- Obtaining love vis-à-vis the items, love that is not found from people
- Fear others will obtain their personal information
- Physical and cognitive limitation and frailty
- Inability to organize
Consequences of Hoarding
- Family strain and conflicts, social isolation, and loneliness
- Health and safety concerns (fire hazard, trip hazards, health code violations)
- Unwillingness to have others enter the home
- Inability to perform daily tasks, such as bathing, safe mobility, and cooking
Hoarder, Family Members, & Supporters
- Assessment of the gravity and needs of the situation
- Create and recommend a compassionate, effective plan of action
- Provide referrals to physicians, psychiatrists, and psychologists for Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
- Coordinate temporary or permanent placement while client’s home is restored
- Oversee animal treatment, recuperation, and care needs
- Guide and support the client in organizing and cleaning the environment
Law Enforcement, Fire/City Inspectors, & Essential Service Providers
- Assist in correcting code violations and removing penalties
- Coordinate clean-up, abatement, restoration, and maintenance to secure a safe living environment within code compliance
- Collaborate with animal control to restore compliance and animal safety
- Referrals to licensed professionals for mold, fire, water, and bio-hazard clean-up
- Coordinate assistance from city hoarding task force resources, as available
Professional Advisors (Attorneys, Financial Advisors, CPAs, Fiduciaries/Conservators, Realtors)
- Respond to referrals from professional advisors with compassionate assessments
- Prepare home for property rental or sale
- Oversee restoration of pet wellness and/or placement
- Mediate hoarder and family communication
- Manage compliance with city codes
Hoarding disorder is a complex social, psychological, and safety issue that is nearly impossible to handle on your own.
How Keen Life Care Managers Help Hoarders
Helping someone with hoarding disorder to address their challenges, restore a safe living environment, and enhance their quality of life requires a team approach. We partner with professionals who understand hoarding disorder and treatment.