Do we really understand the impact of hoarding?
We understand hoarding is not a lifestyle choice, and is recognised as a mental health disorder.
We also understand that people can often feel overwhelmed by the amount of clutter in their homes, and find it difficult to part with possessions regardless of their monetary value.
We are here to support you if you do hoard items as we understand how difficult it is.
We also understand this often creates a very poor state of condition in your home, which can be detrimental to your health.
So it is important for us to help tenants to declutter so their homes become safer places to live.
We do this by creating and agreeing a person-centred action plan of support with the tenant(s).
This is done by our Community Support Officers Samuel Griffiths and Gemma Jones where we feel we cannot carry out mandatory repairs such as gas and electrical safety checks due to the poor condition of the property.
From a health and safety perspective, it is important that we invest in supporting tenants who have hoarding tendencies because this can increase fire risks to themselves and their neighbours.
Our support can also help tenants identify repairs, and reduce the risks to themselves and our colleagues and partner agencies who may need to visit.
- For more information on how we can help you, call us on 03333 204 555 or email email@example.com.
Myths and Truths: (Understanding Hoarding by Jo Cooke)
Myth: You can go in and clear out all of the clutter and that will help the person to keep it that way.
Truth: No – this approach will usually lead to trauma for the person concerned and a problem which is very quickly built up again, sometimes to a greater degree than previously.
It is important to recognise the humanistic side to hoarding rather than the stigma often associated with the condition.
For example: A woman frustrated at the number of tyres her terminally ill dad had in his home, she asked for advice as she was hoping to get rid of items before he passed away.
She was given this advice: "I don't think that he really imagines he'll have much need or capacity for tyre changing in these last months of his life, but to relinquish that possibility is also to admit, 'I can no longer hope to do this. I have changed my last tyre. I will die soon.' So let him keep his things. Let him hold on to some notion of continuity if it softens the gut-wrenching reality.
"Unfortunately, his natural response to that is to keep burrowing in his things as this is his safe space. I regret that he couldn't take comfort in something we could all have been a part of. But, as long as we can safeguard his health, I will forgive him this comfort blanket made for one."
Hoarding in numbers
- The incidence of 'hoarding' in the general population is between 1- 6%, so in Leyland alone there will be between 370 - 2,220 people who are currently exhibiting hoarding behaviours.
- Lancashire and South Cumbria NHS Foundation Trust has a Hoarding Peer Support Group which meets fortnightly. For more information email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01772 520857.
- Blackburn with Darwen Council is part of a pilot to trial a support group: https://theshuttle.org.uk/borough-pilots-training-to-tackle-hoarding
Image credit: Top right - graphic supplied by Onward Homes with permission.
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