How to Help A Hoarder Get Help
So you read up on how to spot a potential hoarding situation, you’ve realized you or a loved one may have a problem, and you’ve acknowledged that help may be needed to address the issue. Congratulations, you’ve already taken a giant leap towards getting help!
Now, what’s the next step?
Understand It’s A Process, Not A One-Time Decision
Hoarding is a mindset that can either feed off mental illness or can act as a mental illness in and of itself. Because of this, it’s important to remember that treating it in an incorrect manner can just start the hoarder back at square one, or traumatize them and make things even worse. Just like a chronic health condition can take an ongoing treatment plan to keep in check long after the symptoms have gone away, getting a hoarder help relies as much upon making sure the symptoms causing the hoarding are addressed as well as the hoarding process itself.
Relapses may happen, and it may take approaching treatment in a number of different ways before any tangible progress is made. If you find you’re getting upset with a lack of progress, take a step back and breathe. While understandable, anger and frustration can spark regression as the hoarder goes back to handling stress in the way that they best know how; by surrounding themselves with possessions that help them feel safe.
“A Journey of A Thousand Miles Begins With A Single Step”
The old Daoist proverb rings especially true with hoarding; while it may be easy to understand that getting help for a hoarder is a gradual process, it can be harder to accept that getting the hoarder to even part with one item is a success. Take every win as a step in a never-ending journey, where even getting the hoarder to admit that they have a problem can be difficult to accomplish.
Don’t Assume That Once the Hoard is Gone, It’s Gone Forever
Just because you managed to clean out the house once doesn’t mean it will stay clean. Make sure that, if you’re the hoarder, you stay on top of warning signs that you may be repeating old habits. If you’re the loved one of a hoarder, keep an eye out if it seems like they might be regressing. “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” is another adage that is incredibly relevant here — if help is obtained before the hoard becomes a problem again, catching the mindset that enabled the hoard to re-emerge may lend valuable insight into what may be causing the issue in the first place.
Get the Hoarder Help Pt. 1: Prepare Them Mentally
If possible, seek to enlist the help of a specialist to help prepare the hoarder mentally for the ordeal to come. Mental health is an exceedingly important part of a successful hoarding recovery strategy, and some sort of mental preparation is essential. This might be therapy, advice from someone who was in a similar situation, or just general encouragement and support.
If the hoarder refuses to see a mental health expert or is otherwise against seeking help because they don’t think they have a problem (or if this sort of help is otherwise unattainable), it may be worth consulting with a specialist for advice on how to persuade the hoarder to get enough help that they’re open to having others help begin the process of cleaning.
The most important thing not to do is lure the person out of the house and then clean for them, or force them to take part in something they are adversely against. This can make the underlying symptoms worse, will not stop the hoarder from continuing to collect belongings that will eventually build up once again, and can make true recovery even more difficult. Bio-One Tucson works with clients for precisely this reason.
Once the hoarder is ready to help and willing to take steps to change, even if tentative initially, then the actual cleaning can begin.
Are Interventions Effective?
Interventions, in extreme cases, can be effective. Of course, this depends very heavily on how well the intervention is staged, whether the path towards recuperation is clearly charted from intervention until recovery, and upon the individual. However, interventions should always be a last-ditch effort. In some cases, they may even make things worse.
Get the Hoarder Help Pt. 2: Clear Out the Clutter
It is highly recommended to hire professional help like Bio-One Tucson for help with the actual cleaning process. It’s possible piles of belongings haven’t been moved or even touched in years, and could be hiding swarms of pests, dangerous molds, or festering diseases. Your goal is the same as ours — getting the hoarder’s living space back to pre-hoarding conditions — and years of helping others do just that has given us valuable experience that we can leverage to safely and efficiently assist in cleaning efforts.
If you are curious about our process and what makes us different from other services you might seek to hire, just take a look at the services we provide. By not focusing just on one specific task, we can handle complex situations that others may not be able to, including:
In addition to the services we provide, we work with clients to help bring them comfort in a time of great distress and treat them with respect and compassion in order to make the process easier on them. While this process isn’t an easy one, it is one that we seek to make as easy on everyone involved as possible.
Get Professional Help Today
If you want advice, more information, or to enlist our help with cleaning out the home of either yourself or a loved one, visit our Hoarding page today. With years of experience under our belts and a client-focused attitude towards customer service, we can’t wait to help you reclaim your home.