One of the complexities with hoarding disorder is the effect it can have on your neighbors. Rodents travel next door. The wind sets sail and odors travel inside another’s home. The thought of a fire is terrifying.
It is hard to disguise hoarding. It is visible in the car, in the yard and in the house. We often get calls from neighbors asking us what they can do.
How can I help someone who is suffering from hoarding and living in less than desirable conditions?
It starts with an understanding and a knowing that the person living inside the dirty, smelly contaminated house does not want to live like they do. However, sometimes they are too embarrassed, ashamed and sick to admit it. This comes across as being combative or stubborn or confrontational, but the underlying emotion is coming from a very different place.
The very best thing you can do if you suspect our neighbor is struggling with hoarding or any other housekeeping issue it to love them. Come from a place of trust, concern and kindness. The accumulation of stuff or the neglect to the house did not happen overnight and will not get cleaned up overnight.
Patience, love, understanding and trust will go a long way in helping someone. Authority, threats and negative behavior will further hurt someone and stall any progress. It is not about the “stuff” it is about the person suffering inside. Help them and you can help their surrounding.
Some of the greatest success stories of people overcoming the battle with hoarding are a result of great neighbors who are understanding and compassionate.
We are all here together and we all have to interact with one and another. We are placed on this earth to be separate or run solo. When you help your neighbor you are helping yourself. You are helping the greater good.