How to Help a Hoarder

In a previous blog post, signs that may indicate a hoarder were discussed. Now, we’ll provide information that may help you, or someone you know begins a path to recovery. While it should be noted that professional consultation is always recommended, here’s a condensed list of tips to assist you on your way.

  • Do not take their possessions. This will only have negative impacts and lead to more distress and anxiety. This may also create distrust between you and them because they now view you as an enemy who is trying to steal their items. It may seem like an easy solution, but it is best to take small approaches.
  • Instead of cleaning the area yourself, get help, or provide assistance in organizing to the hoarder. Doing things for the person in question won’t do anything but give them a clean space for them to fill again. It is best to try and make them become active in the cleaning process, and encourage them along the way. Teaching them how to organize and help them build those skills will also provide long-term results.
  • Make sure that your actions do not inadvertently enable their behavior.
  • Provide support by praising small victories. Throwing away their magazine “collection” might not seem like a huge achievement, but in reality, it took a lot of strength and courage. These small steps should be noted. When dealing with mental illness, it can be easy to get lost and feel alone, and it’s important that support is given and good behavior is encouraged.
  • Most importantly, educate yourself and help them find treatment. Making sure you understand hoarding is necessary to develop the empathy needed to support your loved one. Hoarding can’t be solved all on its own, and it is not best to leave it untreated. Don’t try to force them into therapy, but if they’re open to it, help them find one that best fits them. Support groups might also be available either locally or online.

Remember to always provide them with support and acceptance!

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