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He will not move out of the house and won't do anything to help himself. The carpets in the house haven't been cleaned for over 15 years. I can't go into the house cause I have had 2 panic attacks going in there. I don't know what to do and I'm just waiting to come there and find him in a pile of papers.

Call APS and the local code enforcement agency and turn him in for his own good. Let them assess the situation and do what they legally can. And let go unless he asks for help and agrees to do what's needed. Then help him as long as he cooperates, no further. Don't feel guilty. There is only so much you can do.
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Reply to vegaslady
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We had a poster here who's 96 y/o mother was a true hoarder; the type where there was only small pathways thru the huge piles of junk for her to walk thru. That kind of hoarder; with piles up to the ceiling. When the EMS or the firefighters were called via 911, they had a FIT about the fact that they weren't able to get thru the crapola to help the elderly woman. They of course blamed the daughter for the mother's living situation. The daughter, of course, had NO control over the mother's hoarding and refusal to remove even ONE piece of paper from the house.

This horrible situation went on and on and ON for years. The daughter called APS to report the situation in hopes APS would say the elder was in danger. Nope. APS said the mother was of sound mind and therefore, allowed to live as she CHOSE to live, in a filthy hoard where the EMS techs couldn't even make their way thru to her when she fell on the floor. The mother finally agreed, however, to allow a path to be carved out from the front door to her chair in the living room, where she slept, so the EMS people could reach her. That was it.

She fell one day and wasn't found for 48 hours or thereabouts, and died about a week later in the hospital under hospice care. She died on HER terms though, the way SHE wanted to, without interference from anyone. Her daughter still hasn't recovered from the whole mess, though, which is what's most heartbreaking about the entire story, IMO. That we children of these types of elders wind up ruining OUR lives over THEIR choices.

Moral of the story? Leave dad alone and move on with YOUR life. If dad winds up passing away and is found in a pile of papers inside his hoarded home, he lived life on HIS terms and that's what really counts. Don't give yourself anymore panic attacks trying to fix what he or anyone else doesn't consider 'broken' in the first place.
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Reply to lealonnie1
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This may sound mean but I recommend that you report your father to the authorities since his home is a danger to himself. The authorities will send in a team to exam the home and condemn it if need be. The authorities could also admit your father for an involuntary inpatient psychiatric evaluation and treatment. Hoarding is a symptom of mental health issues usually dealing with anxiety and OCD.
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Reply to Taarna
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Jagermeister Nov 17, 2021
We have a similar issue with my BIL. His condo had mold, bed bugs, a non-working toilet and trash/garbage everywhere. It smelled so bad, the neighbors thought there was a sewer leak. No carpet on the floors because of the leak that caused the mold and yet no one would do anything. APS sent him a letter which he ignored. That was 2 years ago. Two weeks ago we tried to see his apartment that he moved into when he sold the condo AS IS. He wouldn't let us in ("it's kind of messy")so we suspect he is doing the same thing in his new apartment. APS knocked on his door last week but they said they could only OFFER assistance but they couldn't do much other than that. IMHO this is exactly why the mental health problem is a PROBLEM in our country. The system is protecting the privacy of the wrong people! His "bad decisions" are affecting the people that live near him and he is spreading bed bugs everywhere he goes. We are getting really close to just walking away and letting him live or die as he sees fit (easier for me to do because he isn't my brother; harder for my husband) but it has to be done, I think, to save our sanity. It is comforting to know there are others experiencing similar issues with their loved ones. This forum is AMAZING! Thank you!
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Do nothing. Do not go over. Do not help him in any way, you'll pnly further enable him.

Sad but true
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Reply to ZippyZee
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My mom is a hoarder with pets. APS told me that people can live anyway they choose.

As long as the utilities are on, food in the house and he has enough ability to speak with them, they won't do anything.

Only a judge can declare someone incompetent and take away their autonomy. Most of us have to wait for the hospitalization, rehabilitation and doctors saying they can't live alone anymore, before any change happens. When this happens you have to refuse to be his solution, can't help him, period, end of discussion.

I know how much this situation sucks. Just try to do what you can and let the rest go.
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Reply to Isthisrealyreal
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sp19690 Nov 16, 2021
People can live anyway they want but they cant put pets in dangerous conditions and situations. It's called animal cruelty and you should contact the human society and at least help those animals who have no choice.
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Call Protective Services if you cannot handle the situation yourself. And, especially, since you say "... house is an absolute danger for him."

It is a fall risk and perhaps more / other serious potential situations.
He needs an intervention. Take care of your own health and do not go in there.
However, I believe, as his daughter, it is your responsibility to call authorities to insure something changes.
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Reply to TouchMatters
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Hoarding is a mental thing. Hard to break them of it. You will get it all cleaned up and they will go right back to hoarding.

My nephew has a neurological problem. He has no problem living alone with a little overseeing. I have not been in his apt since I helped him get it all set up. For almost the same reason u don't enter Dads home, I get a tightning in my chest. I just rather not know what is in there. Because of COVID he orders on-line. When he comes out the sliding doors to get what I am bringing him, u can see the boxes all over. He said his snacks are in them. I told him to put his snacks in one box and get rid of the rest. The complex dumpster is maybe 30 ft from his door.
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Reply to JoAnn29
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Unless he is dangerous to himself or others, he can live as he wants. If there is real fire danger, health danger, then you can involve the appropriate authorities. But if we are talking about clutter and squalor, then I would strongly suggest you leave him alone and stay away from what upsets you. If you have no legal ability to compel change, then why stress over it? I'm going to be blunt, and my answer would depend on what level of danger exists, but he may be quite happy and content with a situation that you cannot tolerate. That is, the issue here is YOUR problem, not his. Basically, if there is no real, acute danger, then I suggest just leaving him alone. Some people actually like mess and clutter. Ever seen a picture of Picasso's studio?
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Reply to rovana
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Try and help your dad by correcting any health hazards you see. Otherwise allow him to live as he chooses. Some elderly people may let things go because they move slower and cannot keep up with things. Others may use this clutter to deter others from pilfering and stealing from them. Try an get him to discuss his issues with a mental health professional or seek treatment, but I wouldn't push him. Let him move in that direction himself.
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Reply to chriscnb
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As others have mentioned, hoarding is a mental illness. I suggest you contact a therapist who has experience with hoarders and consult with how best to engage your father.

I guess the main question is: what do you want the outcome to be? You will not be able to get him removed and resettled in a care facility without being his legal guardian or PoA (if he is diagnosed as incapacitated). Cleaning up his home to allow him to "age in place" would be exhausting and pointless. Short of pursuing guardianship through the courts, you will need to contact APS to request a wellness check on him and report him as a vulnerable adult. This will put him on their radar. If his hoarding is spilling out into his yard, talk to the neighbors and encourage them to complain to the city about this.

This is distressing and I'm sorry you are experiencing this with your father. You definitely have lots of company in this situation with others on this forum. You can only do what he will allow. For some problems there are just no good solutions. But if APS -- and eventually the county -- gets guardianship for him, they will do what you are not able to: protect him, care for him and manage his medical and financial affairs.
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Reply to Geaton777
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rovana Nov 16, 2021
It is not clear to me from what OP says whether we are talking about genuine hoarding or clutter and collections. I mean, if your house is overflowing with antique Chippendale furniture or Sung Chinese porcelain, does that mean you are a hoarder? Some people do not like such collections and that is their business but others have much more tolerance for what looks like chaos. I can understand the refusal to take a lot of time housekeeping. Safe and healthy is one thing, neat and tidy is quite another. Life is short and I think you have to make decisions about how you want to spend your time and energy.
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