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I just found out my parents' house is filled with trash and mice.
They have a 13 year old dog that does not go outside anymore.
They are sarcastic and mean.
I offered to clean up their house but they refused. They threatened me if I called social services.
Please give me advice. I cannot sleep.
Oh,there have been 7 snakes in a year and a half in the bedrooms and utility room. Help please! I am at my wits end.

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Snakes are just doing their part with the mice at this local cafeteria.
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Reply to vegaslady
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"They threatened me if I called social services".

Threatened to do what? Violence? Cutting contact? Cutting you out of the will?

I image all you can do is report to APS as vulnerable adults, no longer able to self care.

If they are deemed capable, there is not much you can do. They are allowed to make their own decisions (good, bad, awful).

Everyone IS deemed capable until proven otherwise.

Often it takes a crises to effect real change.
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Reply to Beatty
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Well I should fire the snakes for a start. If the house is filled with mice they've really been asleep on the job.

But joking aside, what did your parents threaten you with when you suggested calling social services? Something worse than watching your parents in a slow motion train crash?

On the other hand, there are limits to what professionally-bound outsiders can achieve if they can't win your parents' permission and co-operation. To begin at the beginning, how did all this come to light and where do you think the problem started?
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Reply to Countrymouse
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Riverdale Jan 16, 2022
Too funny about firing the snakes!
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Is your mom really 54 years old, as it says in your profile? Because if your folks are older, dementia may be part of the problem. Hoarding is an anxiety/OCD disorder, but a call to APS may BE in order if the house is filled with trash, mice & dog feces. What 'threats' can your folks carry out if you try to get them help from social services? I'd rather face angry parents than dead ones, myself, and I'm sure you feel the same way.

You can't clean their house FOR them b/c true hoarders feel that their 'stuff', including garbage, is all valuable and means something to them. It doesn't make sense to US, but it means a lot to THEM.

Your folks would need to agree to have a licensed therapist come into their home to help them with a clean up, which is unlikely. Same thing with hiring an organizer or someone to help them get their 'stuff' in some kind of order. So I think if you speak to a therapist experienced with hoarding, like Geaton suggested, you may get some better pointers than we can give you here.

I'm sorry you're facing such a devastating situation; it's horrible to witness our parents in such decline and be powerless to help them, I know. Wishing you the best of luck with all you have to deal with
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Reply to lealonnie1
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lealonnie1 Jan 13, 2022
So now that you've corrected your mom's age to 75 and dad 81, I'm going with dementia as my concern for mom. Hoarding often goes along with a dementia diagnosis as OCD & anxiety go hand in hand with it! Not much help really, but if possible, can you get mom to her doctor for a cognitive assessment/exam (MoCA exam is the normal one that's used)? They're pretty simple and take only 15 minutes or so; oral questions that test memory & then she'd be asked to draw a clock showing 3 pm or whatever. That tests her executive brain function which is like the conductor of the orchestra; if the EB function is compromised, the rest of the brain doesn't know WHAT to do and dementia is present. At least you'll know what you're dealing with so you can formulate a plan moving forward.

GOOD LUCK !
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I think APS is an appropriate resource here regardless of the ages of the adults. You also can try contacting your local animal rescue agency and code enforcement agency for their location. The relatives won't like it but then again, do they like anything you do?
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Riverdale Jan 14, 2022
Yes please at the least call the animal shelter. The poor dog does not deserve the neglect. Depending on how much you want to care if they don't and are not at all receptive to you let them continue. That sounds harsh but the relationship between you does not sound positive and maybe for your sanity you let it go at least for the time being.
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Understand there is mental illness affecting your parents. No one lives like that if they have a healthy mind. Medication would likely be the most helpful avenue. Are your parents open to that?

I took a one-day seminar to understand hoarding behavior better because it affects my family, too. I had some better understanding afterwards but still found there wasn't much I could do except throw bags and bags of things away without my LO seeing it.

Is there a visible hoard on the outside of the house? Code enforcement might intervene at some point. You might drop them an anonymous hint, if you're that concerned and feel you have to do something soon. If there is no access for first responders in case of emergency, I'd call APS anyway, even if that means your parents don't talk to you for awhile. That's what I personally would have to do for my own peace of mind.

If you can afford hoarding intervention professionals -- therapists who specialize in OCD disorders and clean out crews and organizers -- they would be a helpful and neutral third party.
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Reply to AliBoBali
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I was pretty sure I had Hanta virus from all the mouse "dust" in my parents' basement. The mice had stashed birdseed from the garage/feeder in the dropped ceiling. From the mouse traps (one with a petrified mouse sketelon), it was clear my Dad knew there was a problem. Turns out Hanta is fatal so it was probably just COVID. Gotta laugh so you don't cry.
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Reply to PatsyN
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Glory, welcome! And ((((hugs)))).

Hoarding is a mental illness. There is not much to do BESIDES social services. If you " clean it up", they will re-hoard.

Call animal welfare for the dog.

Call your local Area Agency on Aging and listen to their advice.

What exactly did your parents threaten you with, if you called social services?

You might also call your local police department for a wellness check.

Frankly, if your parents are mentally competent, albeit mentally ill, they can live however they like.
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Reply to BarbBrooklyn
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I dealt with this issue many years ago with my widowed mother who lived in another state. A friend there informed me that my mom had a bunch of cats in the house and wouldn't let anyone in. The house looked tidy from the outside, and no one would guess of the hoarding disaster going on inside. I contacted my mom about my concern for her, and she became quite hostile about me butting in on her life. I then contacted every social service agency I could find and was repeatedly told that unless she posed a threat to herself or others, there was nothing they could do. A few years later, I received a call from the fire marshall. He told me my mom had taken a cab to a pharmacy where she collapsed and was taken to the hospital with extremely high blood pressure. She was filthy and smelled so bad that none of the cab drivers wanted to transport her. The fire department went into the house and found the mess. Cat feces and dead cat bodies, garbage and cobwebs everywhere, a burned out mattress. My mom smoked so they assumed she'd fallen asleep with a cigarette. The friend (my ex mother-in-law) stepped in, took pictures of the house and gathered information. The fire marshall said it was the worst mess he'd ever seen. The photos were devastating to look at. My mother-in-law became her conservator and moved my mom into her own home. She had my mom's house gutted and sold to provide funds for my mom's care. For the first time in many years my mom had medical care and a clean environment. Still, my mom did not want me interfering with her life. By this time, she was in her seventies. She was not a hoarder when she was younger, but as she aged her untreated high blood pressure caused her to have strokes and some dementia. I was so grateful and relieved that my mother-in-law cared for her, but I also felt guilt, shame, and anger about the situation my mom was found in. I carried that for many years, and with a lot of therapy came to realize that I had done all I could do. My attempts (and over the years I made many) to get help for her were met with stubborn refusal to allow anyone to take away her independence. It was a situation I could not control, and thankfully my mom did not die in that mess. She spent her last years in the care of friends but maintained that she was capable of living on her own up to the end. You have a sad situation, but you cannot give help if it's refused. You are doing the best you can, but you cannot control your parents. You probably will have to wait until an outside agency can legally step in and assist them. It will be out of your hands, and hopefully they won't view you as the meddling child trying to take away their independence. My deepest empathy with what you're going through.
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Reply to tularosa2
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If you can afford it, have an exterminator come out. Most people appreciate something like that and it seems "normal". Tell your parents it's a gift to them since you know they are on a fixed income.
Questions for you: Do either have dementia? If not, unfortunately they can live as they plese. But at some point, they will get older and may or maynot become disabled. At that point, you can call someone in or talk to their doctor if that's possible.
If the hoarding is really that bad, the exterminator could call social services. I wish I could help!
On another note, until we got POA for our Dad, his ex-wife (a hoarder) always left his house in a dire mess. Up until that point, you can do what we did...keep a bag or two on you and scoot things into them and take out with you. Invest in a big pocketbook (lol).
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Reply to Ella2021
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answry Jan 16, 2022
ROFL! I had to laugh when I read your post. I remember the days of sneaking after trying to be out in the open. The last time I tried to do it out in the open I ended up getting charged and knocked on the bed. This was dad's room I was helping him clean.

Then I tried the sneaking route. And for every old juice jug or expired can of food that was thrown or snuck away from there, more would show or I would get the but I was going to feed the old cans to the dogs. I'm sorry but not even animals want expired food unless left with no choice.
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