It’s important to remember that there isn’t a standard solution to resolve hoarding and squalor issues. Everyone is different and should be supported in their own personal long-term rehabilitation needs and goals.
When does excessive collecting or neglected living conditions become a problem?
Hoarding and squalid living environments can pose a risk to a person’s safety and well-being, including the risk of:
- conflict with concerned family, friends, and neighbours
- deterioration of mental health (leading to anxiety, depression, stress, isolation, acrophobia)
- deterioration of physical health (difficulty breathing, asthma, barriers to using rooms for purpose)
- affecting the health of animals living in the home
- injuries such as tripping or falling over clutter
- fire at the home or neighbours home
- structural damage to the home
How can I help them?
Whether you are concerned about a relative, friend or neighbour, your first instinct may be to intervene and attempt a large scale clean-up. However, focusing on the severity of the situation will most likely prove ineffective as interventions can sometimes cause distress and resistance. Instead, people who demonstrate hoarding behaviours and/or create squalid environments must, where possible, be involved in the process, with their concerns and opinions considered before an effective management plan can be implemented.
If professional help is sought, what will happen?
If professional assistance is requested and accepted, service providers will:
- establish any immediate risks*
- build rapport and try to understand the reasons behind the excessive collecting
- develop a long-term support and management plan to support and make gradual changes.
If you or someone you know seeks help from a community organisation or service, every effort will be made to give people the opportunity, means and skills to adopt new and controlled collecting habits.
*Please note: Where severe risks are identified, support organisations may be forced to determine the best response method.