Here at The BIOClean Team, we talk a lot about hoarding cleanup services. But what if the person in your life who is struggling isn’t ready for a cleanup yet? Or what if they are just starting to struggle with hoarding and you can see it happening early? This time on the BIOClean Team blog, we’re going to talk about how to help a hoarder.
To put it briefly to help a hoarder you need to:
How to Help a Hoarder
Recognize the Signs
Recognizing the signs of hoarding is a huge first step. Hoarding creates an unlivable, and potentially dangerous living space and the sooner someone gets help the better. The signs of hoarding include:
- Difficulty, or inability to throw or give away possessions, regardless of value
- Experiencing negative emotions and distress when trying to throw or give away possessions
- Living area filled with stuff, areas blocked and unusable.
- Feelings of safety when surrounded by things
If any of these sound familiar? Yeah you might have a hoarder on your hands. And these behaviors are rarely present in a vacuum. Frequently, people with hoarding disorder have other issues that are associated with hoarding, many of which may also be undiagnosed. An example. Someone who has struggles hoarding may also have other troubles with indecision, an inability to concentrate and avoid distractions, as well as dealing with depression, anxiety, and substance abuse disorders.
Empathize with Them
Chances are this isn’t how the person would like to be living. They’re feeling trapped, anxious, upset, over a wide number of things and issues in life. This behavior can also isolate the person, causing them to drop out of social life and experience. It can cause problems with relationships. The person experiencing the disorder may avoid loved ones and friends for fear of being judged. Show that you empathize with them, that you will listen and help prevent that spiral.
Understand that hoarding disorder isn’t necessarily about the “stuff.” It’s often about much more, and there are underlying causes. Realize that your focus as you’re working to help your friend shouldn’t necessarily be the objects, but those factors that are contributing to the behaviors.
Encourage Them To Seek Professional Help
Many folks with hoarding troubles know there is an issue, but, as you might expect, their difficulties can make the prospect of getting help overwhelming. Support services and treatment are out there for hoarders and while you can’t make someone get care, by encouraging them and helping them overcome those perceived difficulties it can make the process so much easier for the hoarder to get help. You can even research options for them and present the info to them. If they’re ready, and you’ve proven an empathetic ally, they just might make the leap.
Volunteer to Help
Whether it’s around the house in the cleanup, or with any other hurdle that is causing them troubles, getting outside help from an empathetic and encouraging friend can mean all the difference between getting stuck and failing, and seeing it through to completion. Helping get them to meetings, clear out rooms, or just help them take their mind off the problem, there are plenty of ways for an empathetic friend or family member to be the support they need.
Celebrate Their Victories
Celebrate the victories, no matter how small with your friend. For one, they did something incredibly difficult for them, and are attempting to change their lives for the better, that should be celebrated! It also will help positively reinforce the behavior changes and help offset the anxiety and nerves they’re experiencing as they seek help or clear out spaces. Even the smallest step in the right direction is worth celebrating!
These are just a few of the steps you can take to help and support your friend or family member fighting a hoarding disorder. Recognize their struggles, empathize with them, encourage them to seek help, volunteer that help, and celebrate their victories with them! All of that together can go a long way to help your loved one overcome their troubles.
And when it comes time to clear out those hoarding spaces? Call in a professional hoarding clean-up service like BIOClean Team to help take care of it!