How do we go about helping aunt (73), who is living in a very unhealthy home?

Follow
Share

My aunt is 73, we just saw her this past weekend, she came for a visit; my family and I believe she is living in a very unhealthy and dangerous home; we don't know the full extent because she doesn't invite us over however she has lost 30 lbs. in the last 6 weeks and we do not believe she is eating right or bathing and does not have proper running water or a working washer and dryer so her clothes always have a terrible odor. About a year and a half ago she got hit by a truck and had severe head damage but she survive although the accident has made her mentally unstable. She will not listen to any of our advice, we asked her to go to the doctor and to get some of the stuff fixed in her house but she just doesn't do anything. We are afraid that she is going to hurt herself or someone else will take advantage and hurt her. She will not accept any help so we are thinking that we have to get an outsider involved; do we contact the state? How do I go about doing that? She lives in a different area than my family, my mother lives the closest to her, and she’s an hour away so it’s been difficult for us.

This question has been closed for answers. Ask a New Question.
24

Answers

Show:
1 2 3
Hoarding is a mental health issue with its own diagnosis code. The show is about viewers and advertising, not helping hoarders. TV is about making money.
Helpful Answer (2)
Report

I think the TV show is a good idea because it will give some hoarders out there something to relate to if they happen to be watching. I'm not saying all hoarders out there will want to come clean but some will. Hoarding can get in the way of family life, that's true. I've seen stories on TV shows where hoarders even lost relationships with their children and grandchildren. It's sad when you put stuff before family. I think some people hoard things they know will soon be discontinued or maybe it's something that's rare that can no longer be found. Then again there's stocking up on supplies but this isn't necessarily hoarding. Stocking up on supplies is one thing because you make sure you have what you need so you don't have to visit the store too often. It's one thing to stock up but another to hoard. The TV show was probably designed to show other hoarders out there where they are and it's an encouragement to want to come clean. In some cases it's the family who initiates a cleanup crew especially if the place is a health hazard. if hoarders can see the show, they can see and relate
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

For other children of hoarders who need to know how to find ways to set boundaries with their hoarding parents or to realistically help without being on a reality TV show, I have found the online resource "children of hoarders" to be a tremendous value. For those of us who were neglected by our parents because of their hoard, please come where you can find real help with the voices of experience.
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

Thoughts on hoarding - it's not rational, its emotional. Fear of being without. Fear of not having what you need when you need it. Being unable to confidently assume you can buy another one if you need to when such is the case and the store is right around the corner. Unrealistic thinking and planning, and giving up the object means giving up a dream. Obsession with not being wasteful - can't throw food away - or if I donate an item no one will want it or use it and it will be thrown away, feeling sorry for the item as if it were an inanimate object. I find I can give things away to good causes but tend to keep too many things I won't use but "might" - thank God for Goodwill and church rummage sales!! I have to make a rule for myself that I have to give away more than I buy at those places, though :-) Then once in a while I find I do use or reread something I've kept, or regret giving something away that I find I really need.

Hoarding gets even worse when you can't remember that you already have half a dozen of whatever is on sale for a bargain price that you "know" you will use...
Helpful Answer (3)
Report

Vstenfans: I agree with your post!
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

Well, it sounds like she had a TBI (traumatic brain injury) and no rehab. Maybe it is not too late, though she has to agree to it unless someone has guardianship, and even then real rehab depends on active participation. Rather than calling it "mentally unstable" we often see it as beign emotionally labile, feeling very vulnerable, having short-term memory deficits that you really have to be taught to compensate for, and tremendous difficulty organizing or initiating. She might intend to do things and just kind of not get started or not know how to start, even though you'd think she should. She might not object to smaller things that others can organize and initiate for her. Sorry this has happened to you all. I vote with the APS (adult protective services) option too.
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

I just happened to remember another show called upscale hoarding. These are the rich people who collect lots of stuff without living in filth. I came from a rich family myself and my type of hoarding since it was clean was upscale hoarding. I saw one such program on this where there were an awful lot of shoes and I also recall an off a lot of handbags. Each case of upscale hoarding depends on the person and what they collect. Each case of upscale hoarding depends on the person and what they collect. Upscale hoarders are very careful often very careful with not letting filth in on the mix of their collections. Upscale hoarders also tend to go for the flashy stuff that would be very expensive to the average person who may be less likely to be able to afford it. Finding expensive items in quality secondhand shops can happen anywhere. When you find those flashy items that are normally expensive in the high-end stores, these are the items that you want to hang onto, but it can still be a problem if you get too much accumulation. Upscale hoarding makes it much harder for you to let go of stuff when you know what you have. Upscale hoarding can be a much harder thing to deal with when you have great things. You can come from rich family, but that doesn't necessarily mean you won't have expensive taste if you land in less fortunate circumstances. Being in less fortunate circumstances doesn't necessarily eliminate expensive taste you were born with, at least from my experience. I can definitely say that good high-quality stuff is the hardest to part with, especially if you originally had plans for those items. Sometimes we may tend to hang onto expensive items because were still waiting for our plans to pan out. When our plans don't pan out for those items, I think we tend to not only hold onto those items even longer, but I think we also tend to hold onto the disappointment that comes with our plans for those items not panning out because we don't really want to part with those items. The better quality the items, the less likely will want to part with them because the harder it will be to detach from them, and the less likely they'll ever transfer to other hands. This has been my experience because I came from a rich family and we had high-quality stuff as well as plenty. When you are deprived despite being in a rich family though, part of some hoarding problems happens to come from childhood deprivation, so some of us tend to make up for what we missed during childhood. Hoarding can sometimes give us a sense of control but I don't know how to explain this, it just is. It's more than just filling a void, it's somehow gives us a sense of control.

In other cases of hoarding, some people actually survived the depression. Deprivation can definitely lead to hoarding later on. If another depression were to hit, I guess some of us just want to be stocked often prepared so that if there was another depression, it's less likely to affect us. It's always wise to be stocked up in case of emergency, but some of us may tend to go overboard so that if something does happen, I guess you could say will be well stocked up while the rest of the world is struggling during the emergency. I guess it would be a good idea to learn about your family roots and to see what everyone went through back in history, this would actually help you connect the dots in your own life
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

Depending on the severity of damage by filthy and wildlife will depend on whether or not the house itself can be saved. If the damage is not stop in time, the house is more likely to be condemned and eventually torn down. However, if it's caught in time, repairs can be made. Not all hoarders live in filth, some of them are actually clean. It really depends on the hoarder themselves. There are clean hoarders that just have a lot of stuff in general but without the filth whereas other hoarders live in filth, it really all depends on the person. I was once a hoarder myself, but I never lived in filth, my mess was actually clean and I never had any pets or anything that left a mess. I was pretty good about keeping trash where it belonged and keeping it going out the door. The only thing in my case was just that I just had a lot of stuff piled to the ceiling. What really caused my particular case is that I was very lonely and have no one. When someone started coming around I started noticing when they started coming more often, and the more often they came around to pay attention to me, I started cleaning up little by little until I was able to get rid of all of the extra stuff I didn't need. Hoarders sometimes hoard to fill a void. Not all hoarders need direct intervention, some of them will clean up on their own when the void is filled with what they most need, it's only a matter of finding out what that void is and filling that void properly. Properly filling a void will encourage the hoarder to clean up. Sometimes all they need is someone who loves them to start coming around and showing love. Such was the case in my particular situation. One thing that keeps me going even if I must go for long periods of time without much contact is that I remind myself through self-discipline when I'm getting a little too much coming in. It's one thing to always want new stuff, but responsibility comes with bringing it in because you must go through your old stuff and figure out what you're not likely to use and be ready to get rid of it. What's convenient is having neighborhood donation bins and even a local thrift shop. What's closer for some people is the donation bins, transportation is another issue when you're out in the world by yourself with limited money and resources. Sometimes you must rely on the convenience of a close to home charity or donation been to get rid of your old stuff. And you find newer and better stuff, you should always be ready to eliminate old stuff. That seed was planted by a friend of mine many years ago when he helped me get all new clothes. There was no where to put them in both closets were full. I sat back one night as he would hold up garments from out of the closet one by one. Wearing those garments is one thing, seeing them from across the room being held up by another person is a whole different story. I ended up letting every old garment go, both of my closets were emptied out to make just enough room for the new clothes. It worked out very well because I had the same amount of old clothes as I did new clothes. This worked out very well for me because each garment ended up being placed into the elimination bag one by one until there were no more garments in the closet. This was perfect timing because each new garment replaced each old one perfectly. You must be ready and in the right set of circumstances with the right people around in order to be willing to part with what you don't need. It's hard when you're not ready to part with staff, but it's so easy when you are ready to part with stuff. It's so much easier when you have something better to replace something you already have. Let's say you have a very old coffee pot among a bunch of other stuff. Let's say you see a newer one you like better. Guess which one I'm keeping and guess which one I'm getting rid of? Of course I'm going to want the newer one, so I'm going to let go of the old one. OK, now let's say you have a shoe collection and you're always buying shoes. This can be advantages to have several pairs of shoes saw you need not always run to the store to buy them all the time if they're always wearing out. It's always nice to have spare shoes similar to the ones you already wear. However, there comes a time when you may have too many and there comes a time to let go of some of them. It's always a good idea to have a few pairs of spare shoes for different seasons as long as you don't get so many they take up your whole house. If you start getting too many, it's always a good idea to get rid of some of them if you plan on getting new ones, this is how you keep from getting too much stuff in your house. Your house is supposed to feel like a home and not a storage unit
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

1RareFind

I see. It does not hurt for her to try to get the show to help

I recall the episode you mentioned, Fire chief was pleased, but there was still work to do. Not all clean ups have had success stories, a few homes, the hoard caused so much damage (water, mouse, rats, etc) they weren't salvageable.
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

zytrhr

I'm referring to the TV program called hoarders, I'm not aware of any other hoarder cleanup program other than that. The hoarders show actually comes out to the problem house and they go from there. tlc
they've had very high success rates in helping hoarders clean up. I've noticed all of the cases are very similar but most endings are about the same from what I've noticed
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

1 2 3
This question has been closed for answers. Ask a New Question.
Related
Questions