The Dangers of Hoarding
According to research, an estimated 2 percent to 5 percent of Americans suffer from hoarding, which is officially recognized as a mental disorder. It can be associated with OCD, anxiety disorder, depression and more. It is dangerous to the hoarder, their loved ones and those living in close proximity.
Here are the top dangers associated with hoarding:
- Fire is the number ONE danger. When there are more contents in a home or building, especially paper, cloth and flammable items, there is more fuel for a fire. Limited access to the home as well as within it. This makes it more dangerous for the inhabitants as well for emergency responders. Not to mention the added danger to neighbors and their homes from the intensely hot, fast burning fire that occurs in these situations.
- Structural damage is another major danger of hoarding. The weight of hoarded items puts added strain on structural supports not made to withstand such excessive loads. Collapses of upper and ground-level floors are very common in these situations.
- Injuries are another danger occupants face. Tripping over contents because pathways are too narrow, stacks falling on top of occupants, possibly trapping them. Makes for more injuries and a harder time for emergency personnel to reach the occupant.
Hoarding is not limited to a specific age, race, gender or nationality. Hoarding behavior can begin early in life but is more prevalent in older adults. They are unaware that their living circumstances pose a danger to themselves and to others. They are also unable to change unsafe conditions on their own.
Click here to read about the 5 levels of hoarding, and how they can help differentiate hoarding from clutter.
A professional and understanding approach
Cleaning the home of a hoarder is a difficult task that requires effective planning, detailed execution, and the right equipment. Our professionals apply their expertise to ensure proper debris removal, biohazard disposal, content cleaning for salvageable items, and general cleaning, sanitizing, and deodorizing services. In many cases, due to the level of contamination in a hoarding environment, our trained technicians must utilize protective gear to avoid infection. Not only does a hoarding situation require experts who can navigate the issues, but also people who treat each client with compassion and respect. Remove clutter and clean up debris
- Help locate lost jewelry, hidden money and/or other valuable items
- Coordinate recycling and shredding
- Help distribute donations
- Assist in distributing kept items to family members (local and national)
- Help facilitate paperwork required by local governments or agencies