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You are not capable of dealing with a "hoarder mentality." It is psychological and you can not fix her mind.


The laws for adults...They can "live in a tree" if they want and are not a danger to themselves or others. Hoarders can function with past abilities and do that without being a danger to themselves. Consult with a Adult Protective Service Investigator and he will give you a "picture" of what can be done and what you need to do. Remember it is a waste of time in going in and improving or stacking stuff higher...they will fill up ...with stuff.

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It has to be horrible to see horrific hoarding of a family member. It’s very sad.

It’s truly sad when people hoard animals. I don’t get that at all.

All animals should be spayed and neutered.
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Yes, it’s the worst!!! My 96 mother was a severe hoarder. She started hoarding when my father died in 1998. She passed away October 31st 2020.

It took us 10 days to clean out her house. 2 great big dumpsters and 50 garbage contractor bags to clean it out.

My mother would never let me throw anything out. I couldn’t even throw out an old appointment card.

APS says my mother can live any way she wants. She had no pets, no spoiled food. She always kept the inside of her refrigerator clean. She threw out food once a week.

There is no help for these people because they don’t think there is a problem and they don’t want to change. It is a mental illness. You can’t rationalize with a severe hoarder.
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Having worked with hoarders many times--the one thing I've learned is that unless they are 100% committed to cleaning, there's no point, beyond throwing out rotted, unsafe food that their home will 'stay' clean more than a day or two.

I was helping a woman, who was a friend, no longer, sadly.

I'd go over at 8 am and work my fanny off for 8-10 hours. Go home and come back the next day and somehow in the 12+ hrs I was gone, she'd managed to totally destroy the house. She'd bring stuff back IN, go through the trash (hers and the neighbors) and manage to fill the sink and cover the counters. And somehow the cat litter box would be overflowing every morning--I know she had one cat--but I swear it had friends over to use the box.

To a true hoarder, EVERYTHING is of great value. It represents to them either an event or a person who gave them the thing to begin with. And it means more to them than relationships, cleanliness, anything, really.

Their actually thinking patterns are skewed--it's a mental disorder, for sure. And unless you're a professional, your efforts will be wasted.

I've seen entire homes be bulldozed, full of junk, because they have fallen into wrack and ruin because of the junk inside.

I quit helping this woman because she was totally ungrateful and also because she simply couldn't stay the course for more than a day. And truly, she just loved being a victim. It made people want to come help her. Nobody lasted more than 2 days.

An illness that I personally have never seen 'healed'.
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I recently got to see what hoarding is. 6 months ago a huge tree crashed through a neighbor's place after a major storm. I received a desperate call from the lady before midnight so went to the residence.

She sat on her sofa watching it unravel. Piles, stacks, boxes all over the place. Carpet, bathrooms and kitchen weren't very clean. I asked her to give me her sister's phone number which she knows by heart. Then I told her pick up her phone or I would make the call. I dialed her sister's phone. They talked and sister drove the 40 -50 miles to get to the house and start helping.

Quite frankly the whole situation scares me. Potential spots for bugs, fires, slipping, falling and poor sanitation. I suggested to her sister to request the county AP take over as primary at least long enough to get her moved and then maybe sister could step in again. These sister are both around 80 years of age.

I also concluded it's real hard to function when there is so much stuff it looks like a landfill inside her place. I have a little better concept of what municipal landfills
must receive on a regular basis. I feel for families that have to wade through a relative's place like this.

Several others arrived saying they did not know what to do. I suddenly felt for the man who just looked at me and said, "I don't know where to start". I pulled out each desk drawer, cleared the desktop, and told the man to just set the drawers into the garage. Next I told him to go home and call the house disaster crew & tell them to bring large fans. I packed up her antique Christmas ornaments, moved her car out of the garage, grabbed a couple pairs of shoes.

I asked, "Where is your house insurance policy or document?" She had no clue. I asked where I could find her taxes, but she couldn't tell me anything beyond "over there I think". I did find those and set them out in the garage for her.

I learned a hoarder is so disorganized there must be a mental component beyond just keeping the stuff. We worked with her later to continue digging out. It was so bad the insurance and construction and movers/packers were very frustrated too. It took longer for them to get their jobs done because there was so much stuff in the way.

Now that she and her stuff that didn't get damaged is moved back in, we are not moving anything from boxes as we know it will just be a hazard for tripping, fires, and bugs. Her sister is going to face this huge final cleanup probably because she's about 5 years younger than the hoarding sister.

Some time back her sister had given me a key because there had apparently been several self lockouts and my neighbor had to call a locksmith at great expense. God help us all when we get to where it's just too much to handle.
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If you had a intimate relationship with your mother in some period of time. ....When you get together tell her a couple real posative times...maybe only one and really get into it and it's value for you and your love for her just being your mother. Let her do what she wants. When she starts eating spoiled food out of the fridge it is time to do what she "needs".
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You're 100% spot on.

Years of thinking I was 'helping' my mother just made me realize that the anxiety I feel when I'm in her apartment cleaning is nothing compared to the anxiety SHE feels when she sees me 'touching her things' (dusting or wiping grime off something.

I could go home and feel like I'd actually 'bought' her some space. She'd sit in her recliner and cry b/c she felt I'd invaded her personal space and that dead plant in the corner--she COULD have brought it back to life! I threw it away.

Now I do not even enter her apartment. If I go visit, we sit in the common living room that she shares with YB's family. I don't clean and I won't.

It's a really sad disorder to have. I feel sorry for her, really.
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