Many of us know someone who has packed their houses full of clutter. Perhaps there are even bedrooms or a living room filled with boxes. You know day-to-day living is difficult for them but you’re not sure if you should step in to help. With so many people on the spectrum of hoarding and so many different types, when does the clutter become hoarding and when does “live and let live” become a situation where you need to express your concern?
There are several different signs you can observe telling you to have a serious talk with a friend or loved one who is hoarding.
Broken Plumbing or Electrical Systems
When a person hoards a lot of belongings like trash, food, paper, or other such items, the house can become so packed the person is unable to reach certain areas. When an electrical circuit or pipe breaks or a faucet leaks, the area is so blocked they can’t make their way in to fix it and are too ashamed of the hoarding to let a repairman in to repair the situation. The result of this issue can be:
- water leaking unchecked creating mold
- strong odors
- no working toilets and showers creating a buildup or urine and feces
- no heating or air conditioning
Any of the above issues creates an unhealthy living environment for both humans and animals with the potential of multiple diseases and breathing difficulties.
Signs of Pests and Unhealthy Pets
If you are over to your loved one’s house and you notice insects or rodents such as roaches, termites, carpenter ants, flies, mice, or rats, there is likely urine, feces, and structural damage in places you cannot see. With the additional weight of items on beams already structurally compromised, the house itself becomes a dangerous place in addition to the diseases pests can carry and transmit to humans.
Pets, too, can carry disease and be suffering in silence. If they are sick, there is likely vomit, urine, and feces among all your loved one’s belongings making breathing difficult.
The Suffering of People and Animals Who Can’t Help Themselves
In a hoarding situation, there are usually one or two people who are doing the hoarding and the rest of the inhabitants have no choice but to live with it. People there who have no other alternative but to live in that kind of environment can include:
- elderly people
- people who are disabled
People such as these may not have the mental capacity to stand up for themselves and to get out of the situation on their own. It becomes even more critical for other family members or friends to step in when the hoarding is negatively impacting those that cannot fend for themselves.
Speak to Your Loved One about Their Hoarding
As biohazard cleaners, we can only clean out the homes where we have permission from the hoarder themselves to remove the items and clean the home. Even if the property belongs to someone else, it is stealing to take items that belong to another without permission. It’s important to speak with your loved one, though, for their own protection and for the safety of others living in the home. Without intervention, disease can run rampant and if they ever have a fire or medical emergency, first responders will be unable to enter the home to help them. Don’t wait until tomorrow, talk to them today.
Need Hoarding Cleanout?
If you have any questions about our hoarding cleanup services or would like a free consultation and estimate, we at Georgia Clean are always here to help in whatever way we can.