Getting Help for a Family Member Who Is a Hoarder

Getting Help for a Family Member Who Is a Hoarder

 

Do you have a family member you believe might be a hoarder? If you suspect that someone in your family could be suffering from hoarder disorder, it is natural to want to help them, and it is what family should do. However, there are right and wrong ways to go about it. Below you will learn more about the signs of hoarding and what you should and should not do to provide your loved ones with the help they need.

 

Learn to Recognize the Signs of Hoarding

Are you certain that your family member is a hoarder, or do they simply have a collection of items that you do not understand, or perhaps dislike? There are differences between collectors and hoarders, and it is important to know them. According to the American Psychiatric Association, hoarding disorder is a mental health condition that causes people to save items that others see as not having any value. Below are some of the most common signs of hoarding that you will want to watch for:

  • Suffering from stress when throwing out, or even thinking about, throwing out items
  • Desire to keep accumulating
  • Disorganization
  • Clutter
  • Anxiety over needing certain items in the future, even though it is highly unlikely
  • The amount of usable living space in the home is reduced because of the possessions
  • Not trusting others to touch their belongings
  • Withdrawal from family and friends

These are some of the most common signs. Often, these are difficult to spot because someone who suffers from hoarding disorder may not invite people over to their home. This includes their family members.

 

Why Do Hoarders Refuse to Get Help?

As much as you may want to help your family member, it is not always easy. Often, they refuse to get help and may tell you that what they do is none of your business. There are many reasons you might encounter opposition when you are trying to help your loved one. Let’s look at some of the common reasons below.

Understanding why someone may be reluctant to receiving help with their hoarding problem can shed some light on how you can better approach the situation.

 

They Do not See the Problem

Sometimes, even though the issue might be clear as day to you, the person with hoarding disorder just will not see it. Often, hoarders defy the images that most people have in their minds.

They are often bright and intelligent people, but there is somewhat of a disconnect when it comes to hoarding. Because they do not see the hoarding as a problem, they do not believe they need any help. They may be upset that you think there is a problem. It is going to be difficult to change their mind. Unless they feel upset by the mess, they do not see a reason to change.

 

Fear

This is common with most hoarders. They do not want help because they are afraid of what it will bring. They may be worried that their hoarding secret will be revealed when neighbors or other family members start to see piles of items and trash being taken out of the house. They may fear they will be fined by the city or that they may be evicted.

Most hoarders who have serious problems do not let other people into their homes. They worry about discovery, and they worry about people moving and messing with their belongings.

 

Do not Like the Solutions Presented

Sometimes the hoarder might realize that there is a problem or at least be willing to talk about it. However, they may not chalk it up to the same degree as their family members see fit. They may say that the hoarding is not bad and that it does not interfere with their life.

They do not see any reason to make change, or they may tell you that they do not like the changes that you have presented to them. This often leads to a standstill, and it can take some work to get past this point. As you will see below, though, there are options.

 

Mistrust

Most hoarders end up pulling away from their families for a myriad of reasons. It is possible they had arguments about hoarding in the past. Perhaps they do not feel comfortable in social situations, or they have had bad experiences with family in the past. This can make the hoarder nervous about trusting family members who suddenly want them to rid all their items. They sometimes look for ulterior motives, believing that family members are actively out to hurt them or even to take some of their belongings. Some hoarders have had the experience of family members coming into the home and removing boxes and bags of belongings without consent. This is a major violation, even when the family means no harm by trying to help. Fear is a natural reaction to these types of issues.

 

Feelings of Hopelessness

Sometimes, hoarders know they are in trouble and that they have major problems. However, they do not believe that change is available for them. They feel hopeless about the situation. Often, there are miniature mountains of items in the house, and the thought of trying to get rid of it all is overwhelming. Maybe they have already tried to solve the problem and found that they could not do it. They do not see a way out. These folks need help and love from family, as well as a plan on how to proceed.

 

A Lot of Value Is Placed in the Possessions

Some individuals do not want to stop hoarding because they see value in the things they have acquired. They have specific memories and emotions attached to each of their items.

The hoarder puts an exceptional value on them, and the idea of getting rid of these items, to them, would be the equivalent of stripping away those memories. It is hard for hoarders to get to the point where they are willing to change their ways.

 

Educate Yourself on Hoarding Disorder

One of the most important things you can as a family member who wants to help is to learn more about hoarding disorder. This does not simply mean watching a marathon of Hoarders.

You will want to learn more about the psychological reasons behind hoarding and to get a better idea of how hoarders think. Learn as much about hoarding disorder as possible before you approach your family member about making major changes. Remember, hoarding is a mental disorder which makes it more complex to deal with.

 

Focus on Your Family Member, Not the Junk

When you are talking with the hoarder, make sure you are focusing on your family member and not the material they have collected. Deep down, it is not about the clutter. There are underlying issues that cause hoarding behavior.

You should avoid focusing on the negatives of the clutter. Instead, it is best to focus on the positives of helping your family member and finding ways to get them to overcome their hoarding problem.

 

Be Empathetic

Remember, people do not hoard just because they want to collect material possessions. There are deeper reasons for developing hoarding disorder. It can stem from issues in the past, current issues, or fear about the future. Hoarders are often isolated and do not have the same social interactions as other people. They may feel isolated because they are older and do not have the same network of people they had when they were younger.

It could be because their family no longer visits them, or because the hoarder has purposely isolated themselves. Perhaps they realize they have a problem and are embarrassed by the way they live. As a family member who is trying to help, you will want to come off as empathetic as possible. You want to be there to listen to the individual’s concerns and fears. Try not to be too upfront about ridding the items as this tends to provide the opposite result. Listening to and spending more time with these individuals can help them immensely.

 

Help Them with Removing Items

Hoarders often feel overwhelmed when they make the decision to get rid of their items. This occurs for several reasons. They are coming to terms with getting rid of items that are important to them. Also, hoarder homes are often filled to the brim, and the idea of getting rid of it all can seem like too much work. Truth be told, it is too much work for any one person.

You can offer to help sort the items and get rid of them. You can even offer to hire a company that can help with the removal. By having someone there who can manage a lot of the hard, physical work, it will make things a little easier for the reformed hoarder to bear.

 

Suggest Therapy and Professional Help

Hoarding is a mental health issue that does not just go away on its own. No matter how much love and attention you may give your family member, the underlying issues will remain. An individual may regress to hoarding shortly after decluttering their home. Therefore, it is encouraged to find a therapist or psychologist who can provide your loved one with long-term care to keep him or her on track.

A hoarder already has a lot on their mind, and they probably do not have the time nor mental capacity to choose a therapist. You can do a lot of the footwork for them and find several options from which they can choose.

 

What Should You NOT Do?

In addition to the things that you should do when you are talking with your family members about hoarding, there are also several things that you should avoid doing. It is essential that you do not break trust with the hoarder if you want to make progress.

 

Do not Touch Items Without Their Permission

This is a big issue that causes a lot of strife between hoarders and their family members. You would not want someone to come into your home and start removing things. Just because the hoarder has a lot of items you find useless does not mean they are yours and that you can just throw them away.

 

Do not Judge

It is easy to judge others, but it is never the right thing to do. Just because you are not a hoarder does not mean you are perfect. Everyone has flaws, including yourself. Do not judge hoarders based on their conditions.

Remember the importance of empathy and make that part of your plan for helping your family member. Be supportive.

 

Do not Enable

Consider some of the ways that you might be enabling the hoarder to continue with their lifestyle. Maybe you are giving them objects as gifts that end up in their hoard. Try to do something else for them that helps alleviate the hoarding issue.

Avoid taking the individual shopping for things they do not need. While these behaviors may seem kind, they will not help with the hoarding.

 

Do not Expect Immediate Change

Change does not happen overnight, especially with hoarding behavior. Even if the individual wants to make changes, they have a long way to go before they get themselves and their homes in order. Expect the progress to be slow, but make sure you are there to provide the support they need along the way.

Celebrate the little victories when they come. Hoarding is a severe problem and it is one that doesn’t go away on its own. You cannot ignore it if you hope for change. Your family member may not realize just how much of an issue it has become which can make it even more difficult to try to reach them.

With the tips and suggestions above, you can start to make the process a bit easier for yourself and your loved one.

Resources:

http://www.sfbacct.com/partner-perspectives/how-families-can-help-a-love-one-who-hoards/

https://www.therecoveryvillage.com/mental-health/hoarding/related/how-to-help-a-friend-with-hoarding-disorder/

https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/17682-hoarding-disorder  

 

More Information:

Here are more resources to help a family member struggling with hoarding in your life.

 

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Hoarding Is on the Rise: The Causes of Hoarding Disorder

Hoarding Is on the Rise: The Causes of Hoarding Disorder

 

Why Is Hoarding Becoming More Prevalent?

Hoarding is a severe problem for a large amount of people around the world. It tends to be first-world nations like the United States that have greater incidences of hoarding. This is likely because people here have acquired disposable income. The more you learn about hoarding, the more you realize that you do not have to have disposable income to become a hoarder. People often collect free and found items as part of their hoard. Over the past 50 years, the number of people who are hoarding has increased exponentially. Though more information has come out about this disorder, individuals still get stuck in the trap of hoarding. For some, it is past trauma that causes them to hoard. For others, it is more recent troubles that cause the shift in their mind and make them feel that they need to hoard.  

 

What Makes People So Fascinated with Hoarding?

People like to learn about hoarding. They like to hear stories about hoarders who have homes so thick with newspapers and old albums that you need a flashlight to navigate the maze. Lots of people who watch those reality shows about hoarding are happy they are not hoarders…or at least that is what they tell themselves. There is some twisted comfort in knowing that there are people who are worse off in their hoarding addiction. Today, about everyone has far more “stuff” than they need. How many pairs of shoes are needed? How many pieces of clothing? How many of those little collectibles that you love are really needed? Around 10% of all people in the United States rent at least one storage space for their overflow of items. It does not mean they are suffering from a disorder, of course. However, most people simply feel better about themselves when the items are stored away, and they feel they have it better than others. Comparison is human nature. It is quite likely that this fascination with hoarding, and the secret fear that a lot of us might have about becoming hoarders, has also led to the rise of shows, books, and articles about organizing and downsizing.  

 

Our Understanding of Hoarding Has Changed

Hoarding used to be about gold, water, food, and other items that were valuable to entire groups of people. Kings and churches would hoard gold, for example. It was only in the last hundred or so years that hoarding as we now know it started to develop. Today, people accumulate items that may not have much value at all. Often, only the hoarders see the value in the items they accumulate.

When this condition was first researched, it gained the name Collyer’s Syndrome, named after the Collyer brothers, Homer and Langley, who were hoarders of the first order. They had a mansion in Harlem and filled it over the decades with massive amounts of junk until they ended up dying in 1947 amongst their hoard of newspapers and other items. With increased access to cheap products, people started buying and accumulating more. Unfortunately, some of those people had trouble stopping.

They did not need just one tin toy; they needed all the tin toys they could find. They did not just read a newspaper and get rid of it. They needed to keep the newspaper forever. Hoarding grew, but it was still not something that people talked about very often. It was looked down upon and stigmatized. It was in the 1990s that hoarding became classified as an obsessive-compulsive disorder by researchers.

It stayed under this classification until 2013 when it was given its own classification as hoarding disorder in the DSM-5. Our understanding of hoarding has changed, but it has not slowed down the number of people who are suffering from the disorder.  

 

The Hidden Condition: It Could Be Worse than We Realize

Hoarders might love their collection, but most also feel shame. They know that what they are doing is not what others would consider normal. They might even know, deep down, that they need help. They know they must get rid of all their excess belongings and clean their home properly. Sadly, they lack the mental capacity and motivation to do so. Hoarders tend to keep their disorder as hidden as possible. They hide the issue from family and friends for as long as they can.

They may even stop inviting people to their homes when their accumulated stuff starts to take over living spaces. The hoarders certainly do not talk about it with anyone, and they often convince themselves that what they are doing is fine. They tell themselves that they are just holding onto things for when they need them or because of sentimental value.

It is estimated that between 2% and 6% of people in the United States alone suffer from hoarding disorder. In the UK, it is estimated to be 5% of the population. However, experts believe that the true number of hoarders in the UK and other countries is much higher. Many hoards go unreported. Since hoarding is still considered a taboo topic to discuss, many family members might not realize that their loved one is a hoarder. The numbers continue to rise.  

 

A Larger Elderly Population

Today, we have a larger elderly population than we did in the past. It is even much larger than it was just 20 or 30 years ago, and this ties in with the increase in hoarding that we have seen. Compulsive hoarding in older adults is more common than it is with younger groups of people. That is not to say it does not happen with younger people—it does—but it tends to happen more often with those who are fifty-five and older.

Research from the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine found that the prevalence of hoarding behavior is about 4% overall. However, it is in 6.2% of people who are ages fifty-five and above. So, why does hoarding tend to get worse with age? It is due to multiple factors. Older people tend to have fewer social interactions with people in the outside world. They are confined to their homes more frequently.

If they have a spouse, that is typically the only person they talk with regularly. This can leave seniors feeling lonely and as if they are separate from the rest of the world. They look for things that can help them to better cope with their feelings of isolation and depression. In most cases, this means collecting more things for the house or apartment. It could be anything from clothing to food to trinkets, and even animals for companionship.

University of California, San Francisco researchers found that 13% of seniors who had late-life depression were also hoarders. Depression and hoarding go hand-in-hand, at least in later life. Those who have hoarding disorder will often experience other disorders, too, besides depression. This could include anxiety, ADHD, alcoholism, and other mental health illnesses. It can also include OCD which is one of the reasons why hoarding was placed into that category before becoming its own disorder. Hoarding always has the potential to be dangerous—mentally, emotionally, and physically.

However, it tends to be more dangerous with elderly patients. Hoarding creates problems with getting around the house safely, and most elderly people already have mobility issues. There is an increased risk of falling and injury in a hoarded home. The air quality in the home could be at risk, as well. 80-year-old Sally Honeycheck lived in a run-down area of Detroit for decades. Her family and friends had no idea she was a hoarder. She did not have people over, but she always presented herself well when she would go to church and other places to see friends and family.

When she stopped answering her phone, her cousin, Linda Kajma, became concerned. On Thanksgiving weekend, Linda went over to Sally’s house and let herself inside. She was stunned at what she found. Sally had been living not just in squalor, but in a labyrinth of garbage with her dog. It was like living in a layer of hell. Sitting at the table, nothing more than a skeleton in a red sweater, was Linda’s cousin.

She did not believe what she was seeing was real. There were large piles of clutter, trash, feces, mold, and fungus. There were also rats and her recently deceased rottweiler. It was determined that after her death, Sally’s dog and rats ate her body. When the dog no longer had access to food or water, it died. The rats, however, continued to make the home their own.

This is no way for anyone to die, but there are always stories like this that crop up in the news. Oftentimes, no one really knows just how awful it has gotten inside of a hoarder home until it is too late to help.

Most people do not even realize that their own loved ones are needing help.  

 

Abnormal Times: The Pandemic and Hoarding

One of the other major reasons that we have seen an increase in hoarding over the past couple of years is fear. The pandemic hit people from out of nowhere, and it caused a lot of people to change the way they thought about their disposable lifestyle. Some individuals started to become a bit tighter with their money and focused on buying just the essentials to make it through.

Others, however, panicked and started to buy as much as they could. They hoarded food, toilet paper, and whatever else they could buy. The pandemic caused—and continues to cause—increased isolation and depression in individuals These psychological changes happened quickly, and most people were not prepared. Increased people have started to hoard, even as the pandemic slowed in 2021.

These individuals did not want to be caught unprepared again. Some went from panic buying to outright hoarding. The pandemic has played a role in the increased number of people who have developed a hoarding disorder. The trauma from the pandemic is not only causing older individuals to buy and hoard. It is affecting everyone including young adults, too. The types of items that hoarders acquire can be different from the usual knickknacks, magazines and newspapers that have been seen in the past.

Hoarders of today and tomorrow may end up having mountains of toilet paper, excess canned food, and excess toiletries, yet they may not even realize that they are hoarding. In their minds, they are simply preparing for the next fallout. Individuals who were hoarding prior the pandemic were hit just as bad, even worse. They saw more justification for their behaviors, and they continued accumulating.

Those who were seeking therapy sessions to help with their hoarding suddenly did not have easy access to their therapists. In-person sessions were canceled due of lockdowns. Most hoarders do not have easy access to computers and the Internet (often because they are elderly), and this means that they no longer have assistance to deal with their disorder. It is still too early to tell exactly how much of an impact COVID-19 will have on hoarding overall.

However, the signs seem to point that it is going to be worse than before. There will be new generations of hoarders who point to the pandemic as to why they do what they do.  

 

Getting Help with Hoarding Disorder

Hoarding is a major problem that will not go away on its own. People who suffer from hoarding disorder need help from qualified mental health professionals so they can overcome the mental struggles that are causing them to hoard in the first place. Additionally, they will need help when it comes time to remove all those items from their home and to have the space cleaned out properly.

The road to recovery is neither short nor easy, but it is possible with the right type of help.

 

Resources:

Hoarding cleanup assistance (United States)

https://daily.jstor.org/whats-causing-the-rise-of-hoarding-disorder/#:~:text=Estimates%20suggest%20that%20as%20many,older%E2%80%94prime%20age%20for%20hoarding

https://ecobear.co/knowledge-center/rise-in-hoarding/

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2020/09/200910100608.htm

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Overcoming the Hoarder Mentality

Overcoming the Hoarder Mentality

Cleaning a hparder office

 

Overcoming the Hoarder Mentality

Most people are familiar with the term hoarding. Whether they read about it online or in a magazine, or they saw the eponymous television show, they understand at least the basics of the issue. Hoarding is a disorder that will lead to serious problems in a person’s life the longer they hoard. It can cause problems not just for the individual, but also for their family members, friends, and neighbors. Let’s take a closer look at hoarding, what it means, and some of the things that cause people to hoard in the first place. We’ll also explore a few cases of hoarding turned deadly.

 

What Is Hoarding?

A hoarder is someone who suffers from an inability to get rid of possessions, even when those possessions have no value. They continue to bring more and more items and materials to their home to their detriment. They may have entire rooms that are filled to the brim with items, making it difficult or impossible to use the room. Hoarders don’t always keep all of their possessions inside either. They could have cars, parts of cars, appliances, etc. sitting outside and filling up their yard. For a hoarder, it’s not about having a precious collection of things that are valuable or that hold real, deep memories. It’s more about quantity than quality. Hoarders never have enough, and their mind starts to believe that everything they have is necessary to their happiness.

 

Signs and Symptoms of Hoarding

Problems with hoarding tend to start small, and it’s easy to miss the signs. However, someone who has a hoarding disorder will start to have more and more problems as time goes on. Clutter builds and they continue to bring more and more possessions into their homes.

 

Excessive Acquisition

Someone who hoards is always on the lookout for more materials to bring into their home. They acquire items they don’t need, and for which they don’t have enough space. In the mind of a hoarder, there’s no such thing as having too much, even if they don’t have room to walk through their house or even sleep in their bed.

 

From Clutter to Utter Chaos

When someone starts to bring in too many items, it leads to disorganization and piles of clutter, such as paperwork, clothes, books, newspapers, etc. There may also be a buildup of trash in the home, which leads to unsanitary living conditions. Eventually, they might even have trouble properly functioning and keeping themselves and others safe in their home.

 

Rita Wolfensohn and Son

Rita Wolfensohn, a legally blind elderly Brooklyn resident, was also something of a hoarder. It turns out that she was living with the corpse of her son for nearly 20 years, and she had no idea he was missing. She thought he’d moved out of state. The death went undiscovered until Ms. Wolfensohn was hospitalized. A relative went to the home to pick up some of her belongings and discovered the body in an upstairs room. Police believed that because of the state of the house she had no idea he had died and since she was legally blind, she may never have seen him even if she made it to that part of the house. It makes you wonder what she thought could have happened to her son for so many years, never realizing that he was just a few dozen feet away.

 

Difficulty Parting with Items

People with hoarding disorder will often hold onto items because they feel that they might be needed in the future, or that they are irreplaceable. Other times, people keep items because they have a sentimental attachment. While keeping some pictures and keepsakes is normal, a hoarder might keep a newspaper that their family member read while they were at the house visiting three years ago. They might attach sentiment to items that most people wouldn’t. Some hoarders grew up lean, meaning that they didn’t have a lot of money or possessions. Now that they can buy, find, and hold onto things, that’s what they do. However, they go overboard to the point that their homes become disaster zones. Hoarders often feel safer when they are surrounded by all of the material they have saved. When they don’t have those items, they may feel afraid and unable to relax. They might exhibit aggressive behavior toward anyone, even family members, that try to talk to them about hoarding or that try to throw anything away. Below is an example of two hoarders who didn’t want to get rid of anything and what it cost them.

 

Homer and Langley Collyer

If you thought hoarding was a new phenomenon, you would be wrong. For this case, let’s travel back to the 1940s with Homer and Langley Collyer. These brothers were millionaires and were the epitome of the word eccentric. Both of the brothers were hoarders, and both enjoyed creating traps to keep intruders away from their home and their “treasures”. However, the booby traps didn’t end up catching a thief. Instead, one of the traps ended up killing both of the brothers in 1947. Police received word that there was a death in the Manhattan home. They were unable to get in through the bottom floor, so they had to make their way in through a second-story window. When they got inside, they were greeted by a massive mess that included all of the newspapers and other hoarded items. The cops couldn’t find anything. For weeks, they searched through the property and even started searching for the brothers outside of the home since they couldn’t find them. It was only after a second search of the home that the brothers were found, just a few feet from one another, and both buried by their own garbage.

 

The Problems with Hoarder Houses

Although people should have the freedom to do what they want with their lives, the line is drawn when it comes to health and safety. Hoarding houses present a danger not just to the hoarder, but to everyone who lives in the house, visits, or even those who live nearby. Below are some of the common risks that hoarder houses pose.

 

Fires

Hoarding houses are essentially fire traps. In these homes, there is often a lot of paper and other flammable materials that act as literal fuel for a fire. A small fire can grow and get out of control quickly. Because the homes are often crowded with belongings, it means that it may not be people for people living in the home to make it out of the house safely. Hoarder homes are often improperly maintained, as well. This could mean that they don’t have active fire alarms in them. The people in the home might not even realize there is a fire until it is too late.

 

Burning Down the House

Here’s a story from 2016. Maureen and Roger Firestone, an ironic name for this sad case, were both hoarders. One of their cardboard boxes ended up catching fire, which set other items in the room ablaze. According to witnesses, Roger tried to put out the burning box on his lawn and then ran back into the home to get his bedbound wife. Both died in the fire, but the two care providers who worked for them were able to escape.

Pests

Due to the clutter and unsanitary conditions of the home, it also means that it is often a breeding ground for rodents, ants, roaches, and a host of other pests. Who knows what might be living in the mess. There could be colonies of rats in the bedroom, a nest of snakes in the overfilled barn, and fleas that constantly bite you through the night when you try to sleep.

 

Air Quality Issues

The air quality in these homes tends to be rather dismal, too. They aren’t clean, there could be decaying food, decaying animals, and in some cases, even decaying humans laying somewhere amidst the trash. The quality of the air in these homes tends to be abysmal. Depending on the state of the property and the items that are cluttering the space, cleaning these homes might require the use of hazmat suits and masks.

 

Mold and Mildew

Mold and mildew could grow in the homes, as well, which can make the living conditions even more dangerous. Breathing in mold spores, particularly toxic mold, is dangerous. Yet, some people live in these conditions, sometimes for years. They may be suffering from illnesses and various health conditions because of the state of their home. Hoarder homes are unsanitary and dangerous. The people who live in the home are in danger, but so are their neighbors. The pests migrate and fires spread, for example. They can eventually lead to legal problems that could include eviction or forced removal of the items. Hoarding is a serious problem, and as you will see toward the end of the article, it has turned deadly on more than one occasion.

 

What Causes Someone to Become a Hoarder?

Why do some people become hoarders? It is currently believed that it could be genetic factors, brain functionality, or certain stressful events in a person’s life that cause them to hoard. Typically, this will begin when the person is between 11 and 15, but it could happen much later in life.

 

Understanding the Hoarding Disorder

Unfortunately, it’s not entirely clear what causes some people to develop a hoarding disorder. Often, someone who suffers from hoarding disorder will also experience other mental health issues. This can include anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorder, ADHD, and depression. There are some potential risk factors for developing hoarding disorder. Often, people who are hoarders also have trouble making decisions. In some cases, there may be a family history of hoarding. Someone who has a mother, father, or grandparent that hoards might become a hoarder themselves. It could be genetic, or it could be that they were raised in an environment where hoarding was seen are normal. As mentioned, some types of stressful life events might cause someone to start hoarding. Examples of these events might be losing previous possessions in a natural disaster, not having enough growing up, going through an eviction, getting divorced, or losing a loved one. There are many potential causes, not just a single reason why people hoard.

 

Animal Hoarding

We all know the “cat lady” from pop culture. However, animal hoarding is a serious problem that affects. Each year in the United States alone, close to a quarter of a million animals become part of a hoarder’s menagerie. The types of animals can vary from cats to dogs, birds, rodents, reptiles, and even farm animals. Of course, this doesn’t mean that everyone who has more than one or two animals would be considered a hoarder. There are signs and symptoms of animal hoarding that are similar to other types of hoarding, as well as some unique traits. For example, someone who hoards animals might have a home that’s covered with animal feces, vomit, and urine. Often, there will be a strong ammonia smell. The home will often have fleas, and it could be a haven for other vermin. The hoarder will tell people that their animals are happy and healthy, but the truth of the matter is much different. They are often underfed and could be suffering from illnesses. The animal hoarder wants the animals but doesn’t want to—or have the capacity to—provide proper care for all of them. As with other types of hoarding, when someone continues to bring in more and more animals to their home, it’s generally mental and emotional. They can’t help themselves, and they often don’t truly realize the scope of their problem.

 

What Can a Hoarder Do?

Someone who hoards and knows they have a problem will want to speak to a mental health professional about their condition. If you have a loved one who is a hoarder, you will want to do the same. Depending on where you live, the community might have agencies and groups that can help with hoarding. In cases where you have a loved one whose home and property has become dangerous to themselves or the safety of others, getting in touch with the local authorities might be the best solution. Depending on the situation, this might mean contacting the fire department, police, public health agencies, child protective services, or animal welfare services.

 

Resources:

https://www.ranker.com/list/hoarding-deaths/jacob-shelton

https://www.psychiatry.org/patients-families/hoarding-disorder/what-is-hoarding-disorder

https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/hoarding-disorder/symptoms-causes/syc-20356056

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Better Air Quality, Better Health When it Comes to In Home Meth Residue

Better Air Quality, Better Health When it Comes to In Home Meth Residue

Grey and White Meth Pipe

 

Meth Residue and the Hazards for Your Home

Indeed, the air quality inside your home can either maintain good health for you and your family, or it can be detrimental to your family’s health. Imagine this: The former owner of your beautiful home were meth producers and provided their loyal consumers a “haven” to smoke, snort, or even “shoot” their meth. Let’s say they occupied the space for just two years. Now, typically speaking, this home has endured a minimum of about two dozen smokers rolling their glass pipes for days at a time, inevitably spilling burnt meth out over the surfaces of the house, not to mention the ritualistic scraping of their bowls, wherein the pipe or bowl is scraped with a paperclip or something similar to conserve their precious medicine.

Maybe half of the users snorted their dope off of any eligible surface, dropping shards of the ice into the carpet, the air conditioning vents, and so on. And there are the intravenous methods users employ that are hands down the most unsanitary of the three. It is seldom just meth found in the syringes and is often shared and barely put away or cleaned. This is the most popular method among meth addicts, narrowly beating out smoking and is most commonly performed in the bathrooms and bedrooms but can be done in any area of the house. Knowing just how dangerous and toxic methamphetamine is, could you now imagine how deadly your home has become?

 

Toxic Compounds

The premises become a cesspool of all the volatile organic compounds (VOCs), such as lead, mercury, iodine, and lithium left behind. These VOCs and the accumulated drugs in the air penetrate and drenches every surface on the property. This includes, the flooring (carpet, wood, laminate), the furniture, the ventilation system, and the walls. Also, the very wooden frame, or the “bones” of the house become soaked with what is known as residual contamination.

Residual contamination is not only volatile, but it is deadly. Exposure in the slightest can damage your liver, kidneys, central nervous system, and your blood production. It is vital that you never enter into a known or suspected meth laboratory. Instead, call a professional and effective remediation service like Spaulding Decon. We have locations all over the United States to ensure we can reverse the damage caused by these clandestine drug labs.

The fact that even the criminals who cook these drugs employ gas and respiratory masks for their health speaks volumes about the toxicity of methamphetamines! These people put anyone who moves into these houses at grave risk of acquiring adverse health effects. The known adverse health effects include asthma-like symptoms, persistent cough, difficulty breathing, respiratory infections and other illnesses, nausea, dizziness, irritability, restlessness, behavioral changes, weight loss, anxiety, insomnia, skin rashes, eye, nose, and throat irritation. Furthermore, babies, young children, and the elderly are more greatly affected by the symptoms attained by the residue contamination.

 

Insurance May Cover You

I’m sure you don’t need any more convincing that meth is awful for your home and health, but your insurance company might. Most established insurance companies will cover meth house remediation but will likely give you grief about covering it. Don’t worry, though. Spaulding Decon will fight the insurance company; using our extensive knowledge and expertise; we will get your home covered. All you have to do is give us a call so we can assess all damage to your property. That way, we can devise a plan with you to effectively remediate your home to the highest standard.  

 

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Is Urine a Biohazard? What Situations Require Biohazard Cleaning?

Is Urine a Biohazard? What Situations Require Biohazard Cleaning?

biohazard symbol

Did you know that fecal matter and urine can collect in between your toes and under the nails while you shower? While this type of human waste is more common than most people imagine, there are situations in which they become true health risks. Have you ever asked yourself, “Is urine a biohazard?” Keep reading to learn all about it and what you can do to get a thorough biohazard cleaning.

 

Is Urine a Biohazard?

The fact of the matter is that urine is classified as a biohazard known as bodily fluids. Along with urine, this can include blood, vomit, human tissues, and even organs. There are some people who believe that urine is not only sterile but can actually be used to sterilize a wound. These are myths that can end up harming someone’s health.

You may be surprised to learn that urine was thought to help with acne, cancer, rashes, and other health ailments if consumed. When you eat and drink food, it gets filtered through your kidneys. While some of this is in the form of excess water, it also contains cellular byproducts and other waste that your body doesn’t need, such as ammonia and salt.

In addition to this, the urine passes through the urethra on its way out, which is a place in the body that hosts all kinds of bacteria. While safe when present in your urethra at moderate levels, this bacteria can enhance the biohazard dangers that are inherent to urine. Those aren’t the only ingredients that can be contained within someone’s urine.

Medications are also filtered by the kidneys so consuming another person’s urine could introduce unknown meds into your body. As if that wasn’t enough, urine also contains toxins. While these toxins aren’t exactly toxic, they are often highly concentrated within urine so they can affect your health if put into your system.

 

Is Feces a Biohazard?

Just like urine, feces is categorized as bodily fluids and is a biohazard that should be avoided at all costs. In fact, there are even more health hazards associated with feces than urine. This is because feces can host a wide variety of viruses and bacteria, including rotavirus, E. coli, salmonella hepatitis C and A, norovirus, shigella, and many more.

Aside from bacteria and viruses, feces is also composed of water, dead stomach bacteria, food waste, salt, fat, intestinal mucus, and cell linings, among other things. Consuming feces or getting it in a wound, your eyes, or another membrane can cause you to contract one or more viruses.

When you contract the norovirus, for instance, you could feel a fever, migraines, and body aches. It can also cause you to experience stomach cramps, diarrhea, dizziness, and even inflammation of the intestines, otherwise known as acute gastroenteritis. Like a domino effect, norovirus can cause dehydration which produces its own set of worrying symptoms, including dry mouth, itchy throat, vertigo, and a reduction in urination. As if that wasn’t enough to make you wary about cleaning up feces, you could also get parasites from it, such as Balantidium coli, Sarcocystis species,  Blastocystis species, and Cystoisospora belli.

 

How to Clean Up Urine and Feces

If someone in your home has had an accident, then you’re going to need supplies to clean up their waste in the safest manner possible. For starters, you’ll need a pair of gloves, trash bags, bleach, soap, and paper towels. When faced with fecal matter, it’s best to scrap as much of the solid parts into a bag as possible. However, there may be liquid or stains that you’ll need to wipe up with a disinfectant wipe or a paper towel that has been sprayed with bleach. Even if you think you’ve gotten all of the urine and feces, it’s best to wipe the area down with bleach in a radius that encompasses more than just the immediate location of the waste. This is because particles can splash and leak elsewhere even if the human eye can’t see them.

Hiring Professional Cleaning Services

Without the proper equipment and training, cleaning up a massive mess of urine and feces can prove to be a major health hazard. Plus, if you don’t clean it up well enough, this biohazard could affect your friends, family members, coworkers, and others. This is why it’s always best to seek out remediation services from a company with an established and trustworthy reputation.

A credentialed company will outfit their workers with biohazard gear, including a HAZMAT suit. They’ll also make sure that the human waste is disposed of in the proper fashion. This is due to the fact that human feces can’t be thrown out in a regular trash bin like any other type of refuse. Rather, it must be inside of two bags for extra protection, then the bin itself must be designated as a human waste receptacle.

That way, the feces can be handled properly and won’t end up infecting the garbage truck drivers or anyone else for that matter. Another reason you should hire a professional cleaning service is to avoid getting sued.

Since biohazardous material can make people sick, the last thing you’d want to do is defend yourself in court because one or more of your customers contracted a deadly virus. This is one way to ensure that your brand is tarnished and your restaurant goes out of business, for instance.

 

Are You Ready to Get Biohazard Cleaning?

Has anyone ever asked you, “Is urine a biohazard?” Now that you’ve learned all about it, you can educate them. Afterward, you can make sure that any biohazard messes get handled by professionals.

For almost a decade, Spaulding Decon has been offering people only the best biohazard cleaning services. From hoarding and tear gas removal to mold remediation and crime scene clean-up, we’re here to help. Feel free to learn more about us. If you have any questions, we’re only a phone call away.

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(833) 804-6600 | Copyright © 2022 Spaulding Decon | All Rights Reserved | Privacy Policy & Terms

 

               

   navoba business     Entrepreneur Franchise 500 Top Low-Cost Franchise 2021

 

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