Hoarding is a mental health problem that affects about 6% of Americans. Hoarders collect and store an excessive number of personal belongings, and feel distressed over parting with them. As such, their homes become cluttered and unsanitary, often requiring the intervention of waste management services. If you suspect that your loved one is a hoarder, below are a few signs to look out for before helping them to get the medical attention they need.
How to Determine a Situation of Hoarding
1. Piles of Useless Items
Hoarders collect random items that have little to no value, which pile up over time. They save such items, believing that there will be a use for them in the future. These objects include newspapers, clothes, and food products. If left unchecked, the clutter can engulf the entire house and cause accidents or fire hazards.
2. Strong Smells
Waste management services often encounter rancid odors in a hoarder’s house. This is because hoarding usually leaves the person unable to take care of themselves properly, resulting in poor hygiene and unsanitary living conditions. Food may be left to spoil in the kitchen, and dirty clothes may pile up. If the person is a pet hoarder, chances are there might be animal waste on the floor.
3. Mold & Mildew
When the amount of clutter and waste begins to hide problems like plumbing leaks or blocks HVAC vents, the air becomes stale and humid. It's easy for fungus to thrive in this kind of environment. Mold is hazardous to the respiratory system, which can trigger asthma attacks and make it harder for a hoarder to breathe indoors.
4. Pest Infestation
A hoarder house can be a paradise for rats, cockroaches, and other pests. The piles of junk make for perfect nesting spots. They pose a severe health risk for hoarders since they carry bacteria and spread their waste throughout the house. This is why waste management crews wear safety gear before cleaning.
5. Structural Damage
While it's not uncommon for a home to suffer temporary structural damage, a person with hoarding disorder will live in a home that is indefinitely left in disrepair with broken windows, peeling exterior walls, and an unkempt lawn. That's because the disorder can take over the person's life and make them depressed and reclusive. They're not likely to ask for help with fixing their home, so after working with them to clean, provide them with the support that they need to make necessary structural repairs.
Consolidated Waste Services provides 50 years of combined waste management and demolition cleanup experience to construction businesses in Asheville, NC. They also develop custom recycling programs and solutions for their clients. If you need junk removal assistance for hoarder-owned buildings, you can get in touch with the team via their website or call (828) 645-0660.