If you have a relative or a close friend who is a hoarder then you already know that it can be a real challenge.
Hoarding, the constant acquiring and difficulty of parting with objects and possessions, affects at least 2%-6% of Americans according to the American Psychiatric Association. But that isn’t the whole story.
For every person who has a hoarding disorder, there are parents, children, and other loved ones who are concerned and carry the load along with them every day.
If you are one of them and want to know how to help a hoarder then we hope our Do’s and Don’ts will prove useful.
Don’t Take Things Into Your Own Hands
Mounting frustration often can lead to drastic action. In this case, it may mean that you could decide to either clean up or remove items from their home.
The danger in doing so is that you could be driving a permanent wedge between the very person you are trying to help and yourself.
Items to someone with a hoarding disorder have an emotional value, so stepping into their world and changing things will only lead to emotional distress, as they are likely to view it as a betrayal of trust. Additionally, by taking on the responsibility of cleaning up, it doesn’t allow them to develop this vital skill for themselves.
Do Learn About the Condition and Ask Questions
While there are no definitive reasons why someone may start to hoard, taking the time to learn about the mindset of someone with the condition can do wonders.
Why is this such an effective way how to help a hoarder?
Because understanding the challenges they face will prevent you from viewing them as an enemy should you constantly receive pushback when trying to help. Think of doing research such as reading this guide as a demonstration of your love.
At times, the best person to help you understand is them. If they are open to it, ask why certain objects hold so much value in their eyes and if you can help them in any way, always at their pace.
Don’t Enable Their Behaviour
Birthdays, anniversaries, holiday souvenirs or even thinking that something would be just perfect for someone are good enough reasons to buy objects for loved ones in most cases.
But if you don’t know how to help a hoarder, the best thing you can do is prevent them from acquiring more things. Even with good intentions, you may be adding fuel to the fire, so resist the urge.
Do Assist Them in Getting the Help They Need
Even before you reach your wit’s end, it would be wise to bring up the idea of seeing a specialist as early as possible.
A professional therapist knows best how to help a hoarder, so enlisting their help can aid in bringing relief to you and more importantly help them on their way to recovery.
While the idea could be met with some resistance, one way to keep it light is to involve them in the process. In a relaxed setting, you can let them know about the different avenues and resources available to them without them feeling forced into it.
Now You Know How to Help a Hoarder
As mentioned knowing how to help a hoarder can seem like a mystery. But we hope by applying some of our suggestions you will be able to note some change and help them on the road to a better life.
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