Question: I live in a O.A.P unit complex. One resident hoards massive amounts of newspapers, paper bags, jars/bottles in his bin, any other bin he can and his unit. All other residents are worried about fire. What can be done to insure a win-win situation?
Answer 1: This is a very difficult situation and some communities are now beginning to develop task forces of housing authorities, fire, police, social service and other organizations to work on this problem. An important part of the problem is often the lack of motivation on the part of the person who hoards to change their behavior. This can sometimes be enhanced if they can see a clear benefit in reducing the quantity of items of confining it to areas where no hazard exists. Someone will need to talk to the resident in a non-threatening way to find out what they are motivated to do (have more storage space, have more space in their flat, organize their things, so they can find items they need, etc.). Undoubtedly the person will need help in meeting whatever goals are set and how to do this depends on the resources available to help and what help the resident will accept. It seems pretty clear that removing the offending items without the hoarder’s cooperation will likely just lead to a repeat performance. Good luck finding alternatives. Continued near the bottom of this page.
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Answer 2: This form of OCD is very hard to treat in part because the hoarders usually don’t want to deal with it as it causes too much anxiety. If you can get the individual involved with someone who understands the treatment of this type of problem then you may see some progress. It may be hard to find anyone who has treated this. There are a few things written about what we know about treating hoarding.