Hoarding is a term which is used to describe extreme hoarding behavior in humans. It involves the collection or failure to discard large numbers of objects or animals, even when their storage causes significant clutter and impairment to basic living activities such as moving around the house, cooking, cleaning, or sleeping.
While there is no current, agreed upon definition of compulsive hoarding in accepted diagnostic criteria, most experts describe the following defining features:
- The acquisition of, and failure to discard, many possessions (objects or animals) that appear to be useless or of limited value.
- Living spaces sufficiently cluttered that prevents activities for which those spaces were designed.
- Significant distress or impairment in functions caused by the hoarding.
Signs of Hoarding:
- Extreme collection and storage of items in the home and in the yard
- Accumulation of combustible materials (newspapers, magazines, and rubbish)
- Blocked exits (doors/windows)
- Narrow pathways in the home
- Rat and/or insect infestations
- Rotting food and/or used food containers on the kitchen countertops
- Long-term neglect of the home’s maintenance
- Non-working utilities, such as heat, running water, sewer, refrigeration
There is no ‘cure’ for hoarding. This is not a biological problem that can fixed with medication. This is a behavior, whether learned or acquired, over time. Force Care Coordination +, LLC can help with interventions beginning with a comprehensive assessment of the living environment and mental wellness of the individual. Education, practices in good decision making, and organizational skills can be provided by a caring, Life Care Professional®.
Ruth A. Force MS, LSW, CMC
Aging Life Care Professional®
Owner Force Care Coordination +, LLC