Sadly, hoarding is a real life problem that if unnoticed can lead to death. Monday a 79 year old woman died in her trash filled home and it took hours to even get to her body. The house was almost completely filled with trash from the floor to the ceiling and firefighters had to go in through the roof and it took 3 hours to get the woman out.
The 79 year old woman lived in Skokie IL with her 54 year old daughter. It astonded me while I watched the news story this morning that neighbors and friends had noticed specific things (like the fact that she came over to ask for clean water, her cars in the driveway were completely full of trash, and no one ever really saw the daughter) but never really did anything to find out if she was ok. I know people like to keep to themselves most of the time and don’t want to be a bother to others, but sometimes speaking up can really save someone else’s life.
At one of my previous jobs I had the opportunity to work with NAPO, the National Association of Professional Organizers. With this experience I really started to grasp how big of a problem disorganization and hoarding can be.
I often watch the show Hoarders on A&E, and can’t believe some of the houses that people live in due to their hoarding disorder. I really feel for the people on the show, but also congratulate them for reaching out for help. Yes, many of the people on the show have no choice but to ask for help since they are either in jeapordy of losing their house by eviction, losing custody of their kids or worse yet even close to dying because of this disease.
I can’t begin to say that I understand what they are going through since I am quite organized myself and often do not understand how a hoarder thinks, but I can see what a struggle this disease is on a person.
If you or anyone you know is a hoarder and needs help. Please speak up and try to find out for them. There are many online and professional resources that you reach out to in order to get help. Below I have listed just a few of these resources:
Regardless of where you go for help, please seek help. If you know of any other good resources or places that a hoarder can go, please leave me a comment.