Hoarding will affect not only the individual but also his/her family and friends. Most of the loved ones are usually concerned over the welfare of the hoarder but are usually met with resistance, thus creating more tension between them. Fortunately, there are a number of ways that they can help the hoarder with the problems.
The first thing they need to do is learn more about hoarding. There are a number of resources, both online and offline, to help the family and friends to understand the behaviour so that they are in a better position to help. It is important for them to know that hoarding takes more than just messiness. It may end up disrupting their social life and work.
The other thing they need to do is to try to form a relationship with the hoarder. Hoarders have the deep need to be appreciated and understood because they are vulnerable and unsafe. For them to be able to come out and share their issues with another person, they need to feel understood.
Once the relationship has been formed, it is time to consider helping the hoarder to find a professional. While it might difficult, there are a variety of resources that they can use to find the best ones. Most of these professionals will use the Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, which will help in dealing with a number of features of hoarding.
The loved ones need to be very patient to facilitate quick treatment. The treatment will not a quick fix, because it is will focus on teaching the clients the skills needed for them to control their behaviour. For this reason, patience is needed.
Taking in mind that the process takes place slowly, the family and friends can consider rewarding the hoarders for showing progress. It is also important to avoid common traps such as making decisions for the hoarder or even discarding some of their possessions. This will only make things difficult as it takes away the ability of the hoarder to fully participate in decluttering his/her life and home. The loved ones should also make sure that they are mindful of their comments when dealing with the hoarder. They must avoid making negative comments because it may result into recluttering.
When it comes to therapy, it is important that the loved ones select therapy that is individualized to meet the needs of the clients. There are some cases in which additional help can be required, for example when the hoarder lives in dangerous conditions or when they are facing eviction. In such cases, the family and friends should look for legal help to assist with the disposal of items.
The family and friends should also keep in mind that the process does not end with decluttering the house. It involves more than that. The hoarder needs to learn the skills to create a new environment free from clutter and unnecessary stuff.
The best thing is that there is so much information hoarders and their loved ones can use to handle the hoarding situation in a calming manner.