There are many different hazards associated with moderate to severe hoarding that can cause serious injuries or respiratory problems requiring hospitalization and, in extreme cases, may lead to death.
- Air quality, ammonia, mold
- Toxic or flammable products
- These pose a very real fire hazard
- Every year dozens of hoarders die from fires
- Spilled poisons
- Rodents and insects
Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome (HPS) – An often fatal disease transmitted through rodent droppings
- Bacteria on stale or rotting food or dead animals
Our technicians are trained to properly handle all the above health and safety hazards.
We do not perceive anyone’s belongings as “Junk” to just be removed and discarded. We understand that there’s a reason you have everything and that some items are more difficult to part with than others. That’s why we work closely with you to develop a plan and maintain communication each step of the way.
Our staff is trained to sort belongings so that valuable and sentimental items are recovered. If you are aware of any items that we need to specifically look for, we request you inform us before the cleaning begins.
There are many triggers that may lead someone to hoarding; often, it is found that people begin hoarding after stressful life events. This is a way of coping, as it makes them feel like they have control over something when life seems out of control in other ways. Hoarding can also be indicative of other issues in someone’s mental health, such as dementia or obsessive-compulsive disorder. However, each situation is unique and assigning one specific cause to a hoarding situation can be harmful.
Mental health professionals have recognized a condition known as Compulsive Hoarding Disorder, in which individuals are more likely to hoard. Learn about the signs that someone is struggling with Compulsive Hoarding Disorder here. If someone that you know is struggling with hoarding, we have a list of mental health resources here.
Hoarding behaviors can affect any person at any age. However, studies have shown that hoarding is more prevalent in men and commonly affects older adults from age 55 to 94.
According to the Institute for Challenging Disorganization, there are five different levels of hoarding, also known as the ICD Clutter Hoarding Scale. Level 1 is the least severe of the scale, whereas Level 5 requires significant intervention. You can learn more about the ICD Clutter Hoarding Scale here.
Hoarding Disorders can begin at any point in one’s life. One of the first signs that your loved one may be experiencing a hoarding disorder is a new defensiveness around their living space. They might be distressed at the thought of letting you into their space, lest you judge them for their environment. Someone who is developing hoarding disorders may also start to become withdrawn and won’t be involved in social activities they used to enjoy.
Hoarding can run in families, but psychologists are unclear as to whether this means that it is genetic or if people see their family members hoarding and therefore learn the behavior from them. However, it isn’t always a learned behavior; someone can start hoarding without any previous family history.
Animal hoarding is often caused by the same factors, such as a traumatic life event, that causes the hoarding of possessions. However, animal hoarding can become destructive far more quickly than hoarding of items, as animals can create a lot of waste and may even begin mating. Learn more about animal hoarding here.
Animal hoarding is about more than simply having a lot of animals; this particular type of hoarding is often signified by the care of the animals and the overall living situation. For example, a person could have six pets and take good care of them while preventing them from taking over the home. However, a person who hoards may not be able to handle 6 pets and cannot say no to taking in more animals, even when the existing animals are causing havoc. Learn more about animal hoarding here.
There are no specific ‘cures’ for hoarding, but many people who develop hoarding disorders find that Cognitive Behavioural Therapy is key to helping them stop hoarding and regain inner peace. See our list of hoarding therapists here.