Monday, March 1, 2021

Hoarders: Who? Why? How? (Blog Video 3:39)

Hoarding can be described as a disorder characterized by excessive acquisitions and persistent difficulty in discarding possessions. These possessions can be alive or not. This disorder continues to be a serious problem for many people that you may or may not know are hoarders.

While you may think a hoarder would be somewhat embarrassed by terrible living conditions, that is not always the case. I discovered this when a friend I didn’t know was a hoarder actually invited me inside her one bedroom apartment in the building where we both lived. She displayed no shame at all about her accumulated chaos. 

The entry hall was so packed with stacks of “stuff” that only a narrow passageway remained. This path bordered by mounds of boxes, old clothes (some that she said her mother had saved from her childhood), unopened TV purchases and other clutter was overwhelming.  When two cats came running to greet us, I was in shock. Unsanitary and dangerous living conditions such as these, particularly for older adults, puts them at increased risk for fire, falling, disability, and other health risks.

A systematic study by two reviewers of the literature to determine the possible causes of hoarding suggests that individuals with hoarding behaviors may have a genetic susceptibility or abnormal neural activity in the brain. Traumatic life experiences may also predispose individuals to hoard.

In the following video, the unsanitary conditions at a California home caused the owner to become sick and hospitalized. “Inside Edition,” a television show, features Jim Moret suited up to go inside with the crew assigned to clean the space. A New York woman's hoarding problem extended beyond the walls of her house and into her front yard concerning her neighbors. Animal hoarding is also included in this video.

Frances Shani Parker, Author
Becoming Dead Right: A Hospice Volunteer in Urban Nursing Homes is available in paperback and e-book editions in America and other countries at online and offline booksellers. Frances Shani Parker's Website