by Rosanna Fay
“While over two million Americans are loyal watchers of the A&E TV show Hoarders and find it entertaining, I can tell you firsthand that when an older family member is a hoarder, there is nothing amusing about it.
“And when you’re the one who winds up footing the bill to clean up your loved one’s out-of-control mess — well, that’s its own kind of challenge.
“At a glance, my husband’s 84-year-old Uncle Dan appears to be a typical retiree in Florida. He is socially active, participates in volunteer programs and lives in a lovely mobile home community for seniors — a tidy trailer park. But he is not living in a tidy home.
A Risk of Eviction
“Our troubles with Dan began earlier this year when his HOA (homeowners’ association) contacted my husband in California to say that Dan’s one-bedroom property was in major violation of its policies; Dan was at risk of eviction.”
MORE ABOUT HOARDING – Anxiety and Depression Association of America
“Hoarding is the persistent difficulty discarding or parting with possessions, regardless of their actual value. The behavior usually has deleterious effects—emotional, physical, social, financial, and even legal—for a hoarder and family members.
“For those who hoard, the quantity of their collected items sets them apart from other people. Commonly hoarded items may be newspapers, magazines, paper and plastic bags, cardboard boxes, photographs, household supplies, food, and clothing.”
MORE ABOUT HOARDING – The Mayo Clinic
“Some people also collect animals, keeping dozens or hundreds of pets in unsanitary conditions because they can’t care for them properly.”
MORE ABOUT HOARDING – “Let it go: Are we becoming a nation of hoarders” – The New Yorker magazine
“My mother survived to the age of ninety-three, so she had time to develop a number of habits that people now consider to be symptomatic of dementia. Hoarding, for example.”