No good deed goes unpunished. A 90-year-old senior citizen, Agnes let her relatives store their stuff in her yard. With quite some time, the place turned into a dumpster. Agnes wasn’t able to get rid of trash and organize the piles of her relatives’ belongings. Her own house started falling apart, and no one was willing to help. Her neighbors even turned Agnes in to the authorities for hoarding. She was facing charges of $2,500/day if the horrible mess wasn’t cleaned up. Then this happened…
It is sad to see elder people with big hearts being used and abused. Shame on you, relatives and neighbors that act this way. What about “Love and help thy neighbor?” Instead of lending a helping hand, people turn in each other to the authorities left and right. Why didn’t they talk to her first or figured out the situation before reporting the issue? Yes, hoarding is a serious mental problem, but it wasn’t Agnes’ case.
Hoarding usually involves keeping a collection of items with little or no value. It is often seen in people with obsessive-compulsive disorder. It’s important to know the difference between a neighbor who is messy from a neighbor who has a true hoarding disorder. Hoarders have a problem parting with possessions, regardless of the value. Trash, old news papers often take over active living areas of the home, making it impossible to use them. Any attempts of getting rid of the piles of trash would cause an extremely emotional reaction. It is different from a messy neighbor, who has dirty dishes here and there, doesn’t dust or throws dirty clothes on the floor.
How can you help your neighbor, who has a hoarding problem? First of all, begin with a knock on the door or a friendly conversation, trying to resolve the situation amicably. Act with compassion, try to recognize the signs of the conduct that has crossed the line into a hoarding disorder. Next step is seeking assistance from the state or local government (if your neighbor lives alone). There are agencies with social welfare workers, who take anonymous tips and send investigators to speak with the person and evaluate the situation.