General

Understanding hoarding and what can be done whenever the home of a loved one has been overrun by it

Handling this issue can be very challenging and tricky, but there is every tendency for hoarders to regain control of their homes.

Many of us are aware that our stuff might be too much and a proper sorting out would be required to make our homes calmer. However, hoarding can be a main issue for about 2 to 5% of the entire population.

It exceeds collecting things or being untidy. Hoarding is the unwavering desire to keep things that have little or no value which can later become hard to handle and sometimes overrun an individual’s home.

Heather Matuozzo, a hoarding expert indicated that the worst condition is among older individuals that have depreciating health conditions or less mobile and have difficulty sleeping except in a step across the hall. Once, a lady’s home was so filled up that she could almost be sleeping on her feet as the only available space in her home is only about a square foot.

Clouds make a move to put an end to hoarders and currently in charge of Hoarders UK

Lyn Howells who is in charge of a support group on hoarding for the Silva Homes housing association and considers herself as a work in progress hoarder indicated that hoarding creates an uncomfortable living condition that results in homes being completely filled up where only a few pathways among series of clutters will be available.

She continued that almost all surfaces are filled with different items. The clutter can even spread to the garage, external spaces, vehicles, and other storage equipment once the room is filled.

Here, prior to the National Hoarding Awareness Week, Matuozzo and Howells deal with some hoarding questions.

What is hoarding?

Matuozzo stated that it is the extreme collection of items without letting go of these items especially those that have little or no value which will result in accumulation that will make it difficult to use the rooms for other purposes such as sleeping in the room. Matuozzo added that the symptoms can also affect other areas of life such as relationship, health, and work.

What are the available types of hoarding?

Apart from hoarding disorder, Matuozo indicates that there is severe disorganization that can prevent individuals from knowing how to create space for things.

She stated that people usually have a degree of hoarding and if that level can be properly maintained without any risk of fire hazard in their homes, the only people that won’t be happy about this would be relatives who would be clearing the house after a death.

She continued that as long as their lifestyle is not affected and able to move around the home, access doors and windows without clusters of newspapers that are fire hoards and those invited into their homes have no problem with it. However, it becomes an issue when those things begin to slip away.

What are the causes of hoarding?

Matuozzo indicated that hoarding could have a genetic propensity. But trauma is the common cause.

She continued that handling a traumatic life occurrence which involves loss is a coping mechanism and the common ones are being bereaved, loss of employment, or relationship.

She added that it could be an empty nest syndrome or the combination of the causes highlighted when different events occur at once and one might find it hard to cope with and then decide to implement subconscious coping methods.

She stated that you might not be aware of the things you do which can pose an issue to hoarding as the person experiencing it is not aware and putting an end to the pain creates a distraction by the brain by performing other activities like collecting since everybody acquires or purchase stuff and we might have something very special we never want to let go.

This is what makes hoarding very challenging as you are not aware of the moment you begin to hoard as hoarding is another method of coping where some individuals’ drinks, others tend to overeat.

Individuals who hoard believe they are in control whereas it is a control that is controlling the individual.

Do hoarders know they are hoarding?

Matuozzo indicated that there is usually an underlying knowledge.

She continued that they can become obtuse and consider living like that and tell others to paddle their canoe but a method at which she points this out to them is that they shut people out which they won’t have done if they were not bothered. This implies that they are aware but they are just anxious and overwhelmed.

How can hoarding be handled?

Howell stated that hoarding requires sensitive and individual handling. Join a support group, work with those you trust, ensure the individual hoarding is at the center, and make sure permission is always given before doing things. Ensuring that they make a decision will help them in the future but removing everything and improving things might soon result in hoarding.

Matuozzo added that forcing an individual to handle it can be difficult. The individual should demand help and since they know about the problem, this can help when handling it. But once an individual keep saying they should be left alone since it is their stuff, it is going to be difficult because one might have to go against their will.

She continued that she attempts to live an exemplary life about how people can improve their lives but informing people that they need help implies that you’ve prejudged them and can make them clam up.

She recommends various support groups for hoarders and their families. Some of them are Clouds End, Hoarding Disorders UK, and Hoarding UK. Hoardingdisordersuk.org

Individuals can go through Facebook to search for LifePodUK as well as Stay In and Sort Out groups.

Are hoarders experiencing difficulty due to the coronavirus?

Howell indicates that most individuals handle their hoarded homes by staying away from it which is currently difficult to do considering the current state of affairs.

The major challenge is migrating the items to either the recycle or a charity store. It is recommended that items should have a label to prevent sorting out and the labeling should be done quickly and moved to the destination where they can be accepted.

Matuozzo indicated that she had experienced different cases where the lockdown has prompted different hoarders to begin to handle their cases.

For instance, a woman who lost her son has filled up the house with irrelevant and sealed packages. She was having no boiler or TV because of the embarrassment of inviting people into her home to fix them so she just ate, slept, and lived in just one room because other parts of the room were filled with rats.

Matuozzo said that she was unable to go to work as a result of the coronavirus, so she decided to sit in her room and realized that she cared and she desired to live. Within ten days, she cleared out her home with the help and tackled the rats. She had a broken life, but she was able to do something about it which might not have happened without the coronavirus.

The National Hoarding Awareness Week begins on the 18th of May. Additional information can be gotten from hoardingawarenessweek.org.uk