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Dazed and Confused

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Pinky_the_Cat

Member
Joined
Dec 22, 2019
Messages
5
Location
Utah, USA
I have a friend who's a classic hoarder just like the TV shows. She's never let anyone into her life or her house for the last 30 years, until me. She's also terminally ill and cannot live in her home any longer. She has no friends or family and will not go to a care facility. I offered to let her live with me in my RV until I could get her home in order so we both could live in it together.

She doesn't fully trust me and she gets angry with me when I don't do what she wants, but she knows she has no other options and when I suggest I bow out of our arrangement she will comply or sulk silently (which I can live with).

The reason I came here was to seek advice on how to make this poor woman's life at least a little happier in her last few months she has left. She is anxious, fearful, jumpy, and often angry. She wants to reminisce about the past all the time, but only grandiose stories of her life as superwoman (in her mind), which I'm ok with, or about people who wronged or crossed her and her need to see them punished or get revenge. At these times I don't seem to be able to say anything right and she ends up being angry with me when I suggest that forgiveness would make her at least feel better. She actually expects me to be her avenger if it turns out she can't do it from her grave.

And to top it all off, I've told her I've had to pack up her hoard in order to get electricians, plumbers and other contractors in her house. I've been working on it for months and have spent over $10,000 of my own money to do it. The house goes to me in her will so I'm not worried about the money, but she fully expects me to keep her hoard intact to restore back to the house and live with it all, when done.

So far I've taken at least 20,000 pounds to the dump and 12,000 to scrap metal recyclers. I've admitted to about 1/10th of this because mice and rats had destroyed so much and she has always been aware there was a rodent problem. I've also had to assure her that I handled the rodents humanely by trapping and releasing them elsewhere (I did try, but finally called an exterminator, which she doesn't know about).

I hate not being entirely open with her but there is no reasoning with her. Her reality is not the same one I live in. I guess my question is, do I confess to her what I've really had to do to make her house habitable? A friend visiting tonight accidentally mentioned that it was a shame I had to throw out something that was one of her many treasures and I had to kick my friend under the table to remind her to say that it was actually sent out for repairs.

Anybody got any advice for me?
 
Mayflower7

Mayflower7

Well-known member
Moderator
Joined
Jan 4, 2013
Messages
11,072
Location
England
Hi,
Welcome to the forum
Well done for helping your friend, I think your doing your best.
Probably wise not to tell her to much as she's poorly.
Hugs
 
Warrior

Warrior

Well-known member
Joined
Jul 23, 2019
Messages
1,517
Location
UK
The reason I came here was to seek advice on how to make this poor woman's life at least a little happier in her last few months she has left. She is anxious, fearful, jumpy, and often angry. She wants to reminisce about the past all the time, but only grandiose stories of her life as superwoman (in her mind), which I'm ok with, or about people who wronged or crossed her and her need to see them punished or get revenge. At these times I don't seem to be able to say anything right and she ends up being angry with me when I suggest that forgiveness would make her at least feel better. She actually expects me to be her avenger if it turns out she can't do it from her grave.
Hello Pinky :welcome: to the forum and Merry Christmas to you 🎄

Sorry to say this, the collection of stuff is your friends safty net with how her health is and to me she's need help with a doctor or counsellling, rushing in and doing what you are will throw that womans mind into a pure frenzy on the day, as your hitting her with things she's not used to and not totally trusting you, well you may lose what bit of trust was building.

Things have happened to make her like this and taking matters into your own hands will make the situation worse...trust is an hard thing to do and breaking that barrier will destroy her. :)
 
P

Pinky_the_Cat

Member
Joined
Dec 22, 2019
Messages
5
Location
Utah, USA
I agree she needs professional help - and I know I don't qualify for that. And you're very right about things having made her how she is. She's had a very sad life, filled with terrible experiences, some brought upon her as consequences of her own choices but she has been traumatized and abused by others. I've contacted social services to request counseling but she says she doesn't need it.

I've told her on more than one occasion, I will respect her wishes as long as they're not illegal, immoral, unethical or endanger her health and safety. We already had a row over something she wanted me to participate in that was illegal and immoral. Her house and the condition of many of the things she's hoarded, definitely affects her health and safety.

The way I see it, hope of going back to live as she did before (the lifestyle that is probably what has shortened her life. She has COPD and the house was full of black mold), is what's keeping her somewhat functional now. If I had left her alone in the hospital and not brought her home with me, her house would have been condemned by the city and everything burned or buried. She had received citations. This is why she brought me in. I worked with the city to get her yard in compliance and the house is next.

I'm afraid you're right though. Losing her hoard is going to shatter and maybe destroy her. When is the best time for that? Now or later?
 
Warrior

Warrior

Well-known member
Joined
Jul 23, 2019
Messages
1,517
Location
UK
I'm afraid you're right though. Losing her hoard is going to shatter and maybe destroy her. When is the best time for that? Now or later?
Don't do it now because you'll make issues a lot worse like i said and social services make them your last root of call. She needs to see her doctor and things explained and referred on to psychiatric treatment as hoarding is a mental illness and if she refuses who ever is next of kin can get the correct help through her GP.
All this as come about because of her past and when she sees you and chats on, she's releasing the disturbances which are troubling her mind, i know it might look a right load of rubbish to you but to her it's her life and what she holds dear but sometimes it can get out of order if the person isn't getting the correct help.

Hoarding is a disorder that may be present on its own or as a symptom of another disorder. Those most often associated with hoarding are obsessive-compulsive personality disorder (OCPD), obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and depression.


Take myself for example there's only me and my hubby and my OCD concerns a few issues but i like the rooms clean and basic and anything moved i recognise straight away and anything left it's moved but it causes my anxiety levels to go high and it causes me to shout when in reality it shouldn't and no disrespect to yourself but nobody knows what goes on through another person's mind.

The place doesn't sound healthy regarding damp and her lung disease but all i can say is tread very carefully. :)
 
P

Pinky_the_Cat

Member
Joined
Dec 22, 2019
Messages
5
Location
Utah, USA
Thank you for that insight.

I am her caregiver and only heir, with complete POA. I have spoken with her GP and her heart doctor. They suggested I have the county health department come check on her a couple times a week - if and when we get her back in her house. I've got contractors working on it but we're stalled during the holidays. Of course she refuses those suggestions.

I've got her with me in a 38' motorhome which is cozy for her as she can't walk but she can still manage a potty chair on her own. I bring her a few things each day, from her hoard, and allow whatever she can fit in her nest surrounding her. She has the front and I have a bedroom in the back. I'm not comfortable with the mess but have conceded to all except the food hoarding. We fight over that and I reminded her it's a health hazard, so what she doesn't eat of a cooked meal will get stored in the fridge for no more than 3 days. Candy, chips and unopened things are in a container at her side and once a week I help her reorganize and make sure junk mail, used tissues and real trash are taken out.

Hardest for me, periodically she gets a bit smelly and she adamantly refuses to let me touch her much less help her bathe. She has curtained privacy and I have taken her blankets and washed them and given her packaged, disposable, moist wash cloths and clean clothes and most times she's taken the hint within a few days. We're going on the second week of this most recent episode. I get that it's very difficult for her to move around but when I put an air freshener plug in, she complained that was making her choke and that they were dangerous. I expect the time will soon come when I'll have to touch her. Do you have any suggestions to make that part of caregiving less stressful on her?

I do have an amazing support system of friends and family who are assisting and supporting me very much in the background because she gets anxious with more than a few people even being aware of her 'business' as she calls it. But no one has experience with any of this. This is how and why I've found you. Thank you so much for your compassion and the time you've given us.
 
Warrior

Warrior

Well-known member
Joined
Jul 23, 2019
Messages
1,517
Location
UK
Hello @Pinky_the_Cat
Right i've got the out look on issues happening and have been doing some looking for you to help best possible because of her mental state and by what you've said i gather she's elderly, so in that aspect you do have to be careful more because of anxiety levels causing issues.

I hope you'll read the 1st link it helps you to understand it better but regarding the washing of her body the 2nd link as professionals for on line chat in your area...where you could phone and get more help yourself :) this is taken seriously in our country because of excess food and rats developing.



Make two rules:
1. Any shared space in your house needs to be kept clutter free.
2. The room that you give to your hoarder must be kept in a safe condition. This means there cannot be items that pose a safety hazard such as tripping, and most importantly, the room needs to be kept free of items that could cause or inflame a fire.

I also found this video of a lady with it and the two people going to clean her home used to do OCD programmes on the tele as they do have cleaning bad and you will see how bad the ladies body is...sending you an :hug5: Abby x

 
P

Pinky_the_Cat

Member
Joined
Dec 22, 2019
Messages
5
Location
Utah, USA
Thank you so much! I'm so happy I found you! You've helped tremendously! Merry Christmas!
 
Warrior

Warrior

Well-known member
Joined
Jul 23, 2019
Messages
1,517
Location
UK
Thank you so much! I'm so happy I found you! You've helped tremendously! Merry Christmas!
Oh your welcome Pinky and best of luck (y)
Merry Christmas to you also :love: Abby xxx
 
J

Jasmin3

Active member
Joined
Dec 26, 2019
Messages
31
Location
London
I have a friend who's a classic hoarder just like the TV shows. She's never let anyone into her life or her house for the last 30 years, until me. She's also terminally ill and cannot live in her home any longer. She has no friends or family and will not go to a care facility. I offered to let her live with me in my RV until I could get her home in order so we both could live in it together.

She doesn't fully trust me and she gets angry with me when I don't do what she wants, but she knows she has no other options and when I suggest I bow out of our arrangement she will comply or sulk silently (which I can live with).

The reason I came here was to seek advice on how to make this poor woman's life at least a little happier in her last few months she has left. She is anxious, fearful, jumpy, and often angry. She wants to reminisce about the past all the time, but only grandiose stories of her life as superwoman (in her mind), which I'm ok with, or about people who wronged or crossed her and her need to see them punished or get revenge. At these times I don't seem to be able to say anything right and she ends up being angry with me when I suggest that forgiveness would make her at least feel better. She actually expects me to be her avenger if it turns out she can't do it from her grave.

And to top it all off, I've told her I've had to pack up her hoard in order to get electricians, plumbers and other contractors in her house. I've been working on it for months and have spent over $10,000 of my own money to do it. The house goes to me in her will so I'm not worried about the money, but she fully expects me to keep her hoard intact to restore back to the house and live with it all, when done.

So far I've taken at least 20,000 pounds to the dump and 12,000 to scrap metal recyclers. I've admitted to about 1/10th of this because mice and rats had destroyed so much and she has always been aware there was a rodent problem. I've also had to assure her that I handled the rodents humanely by trapping and releasing them elsewhere (I did try, but finally called an exterminator, which she doesn't know about).

I hate not being entirely open with her but there is no reasoning with her. Her reality is not the same one I live in. I guess my question is, do I confess to her what I've really had to do to make her house habitable? A friend visiting tonight accidentally mentioned that it was a shame I had to throw out something that was one of her many treasures and I had to kick my friend under the table to remind her to say that it was actually sent out for repairs.

Anybody got any advice for me?
Hi, thank you for posting this it's really insightful and can I just saw what a wonderful friend you are being helping her endlessly it must be very hard as you've said there's no reasoning with her and she is ill. I would be inclined to not tell her, wouldn't usually suggest this but regarding the circumstances you'd be doing her more harm that go as she's a hoarder that it seems suffers from separation anxiety of her possessions. Hope that's the right wording, she's living in a parallel universe to you where her possessions are her life, her being and her entire existence.

Have you suggested to her family does she have any living relatives, sorry don't mean to pry? Or got a bit more of a backstory from a neighbour or spoken to an institute or therapist or behalf of her to get a professional opinion on combating the on going hoarding?

I guess it feel like a lot of secrecy is being kept from her, this isn't necessarily bad so please try not to think or feel this as prevention is better than cure as this stage for stopping the hoarding or telling a little white lie so to speak.

How is your friend and yourself, how are you finding this all? Must be hard trying to look out for her best interest and coping with the behavioural issues that are engaged with this matter in hand, but stay strong and remember how much good your doing perceive and don't give up hope.

Best Wishes
 
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