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Does your loved one have mountains of clothes they haven’t been able to fit in for years? Do they have stacks and stacks of decades-old newspapers and magazines laying around? Do they keep empty cartons and other items that most people throw away? Is there so much stuff it is difficult to walk through the house? Hoarding is a serious condition that can negatively impact not only the hoarder but family members and loved ones, too. Click To Tweet

If you have a hoarder in your life, you might feel desperate to stop their excessive behavior, but it is important you do it the correct way. If not, you could cause serious issues in your relationship, or cause your loved one to feel isolated or betrayed.

Helping a Hoarder

Supporting a loved one who hoards can be draining and emotional, but it is necessary for helping them seek help through their hoarding disorder. Here are five tips for you to offer help for your loved one if they are holding on to an accumulating too much ‘stuff’.

1) Educate Yourself On Hoarding

If you have someone in your life who is hoarding, it is vital that you educate yourself on their mental health condition. There is a multitude of books and literature available on the subject, as well as valuable organizations and websites that offer education on hoarding. The International OCD Foundation Hoarding Center (IOCDF), and the Children of Hoarders are both good places to start when looking for information and resources to learn more about hoarding.

2) Don’t Take Their Possessions

You might be tempted to throw away your loved one’s junk they have lying around, but don’t. Throwing their stuff away or taking it from their hoarding homes will not cure them, and will only exacerbate the situation, causing them to feel anger and emotional distress.

3) Help Them Get Sorted

Many hoarders usually have so much stuff it can take up their entire house, making it dangerous to walk through or even find a place to sit. Volunteer to help them sort and organize their stuff. Make sure you do not clean up for them. It is important to let them feel in control, and you be a helper in the process.

4) Set Goals and Celebrate Victories

Most hoarders have been hoarding for years and the habit could take some time before the person can part with and remove items from their house. Encourage your loved one to set goals each week to remove or clean one small area of their home. Make sure to celebrate the progress they are making to help build their confidence. This will allow them to feel proud of themselves, and gain momentum through the cleaning process.

5) Don’t Be an Enabler

If your loved one is a hoarder, do not enable their behavior! If they hoard trinkets and antiques, don’t take them shopping where they can pick up more to take home. Do not purchase things they like to hoard for gifts for holidays or birthdays, and also do not allow them to store their collectibles and possessions at your home.

Encourage Treatment

The best thing you can do is to encourage your loved one to seek professional help for their hoarding. There are support groups, cognitive behavioral therapy, and other options available to help the condition. Make sure to be there to support your loved one through the healing process, by providing a supportive environment and uplifting words. In many cases, the best solution you can provide is a loving assisted living cottage. This kind of environment provides safety, security, and support 24 hours a day, while curbing destructive behaviors, like hoarding. 

To learn more about you can get hoarding help for your loved one, Contact Us.

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