Hoarding is a real condition that affects not only the person suffering, but every single person that cares about them. Popular media has made the problem more visible, sometimes in ways that sensationalize the complicated reasons behind the situation. Family members and friends may have the best of intentions when trying to help a hoarder, but without an in-depth understanding of the problem and the underlying issue causing it, hoarding treatment isn’t likely to be successful.
Help in All the Right Ways
It’s hard to watch any family member suffer from hoarding, and the reality is that the condition can quickly become dangerous if not handled properly. When family members and friends are trying to help the hoarder in their lives, there are a few simple steps to follow:
•Educate – Concerned individuals should first educate themselves about the behavior. Read more about OCD (obsessive-compulsive disorder), and you’ll quickly realize that hoarding is about more than just cleaning up a mess.
•Search – Connect your loved one with a qualified professional in your area. Look specifically for a therapist that specializes in OCD behaviors. Cognitive therapists often have success when working with hoarders.
•Wait – Change is very difficult for a hoarder, and family members will be required to call on levels of patience they didn’t know they had. Changing behavior only comes after the hoarder has developed the skills to manage the disruptive behavior.
•Reward – The process will get easier over time and with practice, but your loved ones deserve praise and reward for every small step along the way.
•Avoid – Watch for common traps that many with good intentions fall into. Don’t try to speed up the process by forcing your loved one to make decisions about possessions that are vital to them. Allow the hoarder to set the pace, and when you get discouraged, remember how far they’ve come.
•Love –It’s important to remember that you love an individual with a disorder, and that the behavior does not define who they are. Your family member has many traits and qualities that make you love them, and you’ll need to remember those as treatment progresses. Rebuild relationships with regular activities.
How Aftermath Can Help
Here at Aftermath, we’ll send a hoarding cleanup specialist to deal with messes that are potentially dangerous to other humans. We can help your home recover after years of neglect and hoarding, and ensure that the environment is safe for your loved one to live in. We are here to help your loved ones move on with their lives in a positive way.