Hoarding: Is It Dangerous?
Do you have a loved one who is a hoarder? Maybe you think you might but you’re not quite sure if they would be considered an actual hoarder. If they are hoarding does it pose any real threat to them? Let’s tackle these questions.
- 1. What is hoarding?:
Hoarding is described by the Anxiety and Depression Association of America as: “the persistent difficulty discarding or parting with possessions, regardless of their actual value.” This can mean keeping items such as old newspapers, bags, boxes, clothes, excessive amounts of food, general household items, pictures and the like.
- 2. How can I tell the difference between hoarding and general collecting?
There are symptoms that go hand in hand with genuine hoarding. Is your loved one displaying any of these symptoms?
- Difficulty or flat inability to throw out useless items
- Distress when faced with parting with their items
- Difficulty or inability to organize their collections
- Discomfort or anxiety when someone else touches their collected items
- 3. Does hoarding pose an actual threat? The short answer is yes. Here are some dangerous situations you can encounter when dealing with a hoarder’s home.
- Risk of fire – Collections of paper, photos, bags, and the like are very to easy to catch fire. There is also a fire risk with vents being covered and outlets being being covered or overused.
- Biohazard – Where there is hoarding there are usually critters. With small creatures such as mice there is biological material you do not want in your home. This type of situation can easily cause and spread disease in your home. This is not only a threat to the homeowner but to visitors as well!
- With this level of clutter there is a real risk of the homeowner becoming stuck or falling and becoming injured.
- There is also the matter of the homeowner being very difficult to reach by helpers if they do become stuck or injured.
If you feel that your loved one is indeed suffering from hoarding you will want professional help. We at Delta Southern Colorado are not only professionals we are people. We understand the complex nature of the disease and will be sensitive to the situation your loved one is dealing with while making the home safe and clean again. Please contact us if you need our help!