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Hoarding Help Message Boards : Welcome to the new board! : Hoarding Grandmother
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Hoarding Grandmother

Posted: 12 November 2013 - 09:27 AM
Hi Heather,

Your grandmother is very fortunate to have you to help her. It's sad that her daughter (your mother) is done with her but sometimes it takes that skipping of a generation to blur painful mistakes and form a more loving bond.

With your support and the support of a retirement community where they are aware of such behaviors and stay on top of it your grandmother has a good chance of living well.

As always, Tillie's advice on how to handle the realities of the current hoards is right on target.
Posted: 10 November 2013 - 09:17 AM
Hello Heather :)

The retirement community sounds like a wonderful place for your Grandmother.
They have pot luck get-to-gethers, games, socializing and other group activities.
She will have people to relate to every day rather than trying to fill a void with "stuff".
Also, these places like to keep hoarding behavors in check with regular the regular cleaning services.

At the top of this page is a link to "national resources".
Click on the link and then click on your state to find a listing of companies.
Ask for estimates to have the duplex cleared to see if that help can be afforded.

As for your health and safety...
Be extremely careful when you try to declutter.
Wear protective clothing, sturdy shoes, gloves and a face mask to avoid breathing in the dust you will stir up.

Good luck and best wishes (((hugs))).
Please post here any time you have any questions or just need a sympathetic listening ear.
Posted: 09 November 2013 - 11:32 PM
Hey everyone! My name is Heather. I'm 30 years old, married, and have two small children. I also work full-time in a very stressful field-- child protective services. My maternal grandmother has been a hoarder for as long as I can remember. She started hoarding in 1981, the year that my grandfather passed away suddenly and unexpectedly of a massive heart attack. She started hoarding by filling the home she had with my grandfather with "stuff". She never got rid of anything of my grandfather's or my mom's (who grew up in the house). She left that house in a mess and rented a duplex in 2003. So, her original home is sitting untouched and abandoned and is full of very emotional objects for her. Meanwhile, she's filled her duplex with so much stuff that the doors won't even open. She had the same landlord for years, until recently when he died and his daughter inherited the rental property. She forced her way Into my grandmother's duplex and was, of course, shocked at what she saw. The landlord has now given my grandmother until December 5th to be out of the duplex.

My grandmother has never, ever been able to get rid of anything, but I actually made progress with her today. She let me inside and she is definitely a level 3-4 hoarder. She doesn't even have paths to rooms anymore. I could only see the living room today and the room is just one huge pile of stuff. It's mostly clothes and suitcases, with some household stuff thrown in (small trash cans, canisters, etc). We were able to clear a car full of stuff, which I immediately took to the Goodwill donation station close to her house. However, there is so much work to be done. So much that I don't think it can be done in a month with just the two of us. The duplex also strongly smells of dead animals -- rodents, I'm guessing. I could see rat droppings everywhere.

She's signed a lease on a new place that we picked out together. It's a retirement community that cleans her room for her, does her laundry, is served 3 meals a day, and they handle taking her to doctors visits and anything else she may need. They go shopping once a week, have errand days, work out classes, and tons of other activities to keep her busy. I am concerned that she will begin to hoard this new place as well, although she really won't have an opportunity. Does anyone have any experience with a situation such as this? Can her hosting truly be turned off? She believes that it can. Can she be distracted from hoarding? She believes that she does it as a result of being lonely and needing something to occupy her time.

Sorry for the incredibly long post. Anything you can offer is very much appreciated! I just need to commiserate with someone that has been in any situation similar to mine.

Oh, by the way, I'm pretty much the only person available to help my grandmother. My mother has washed her hands of my grandmother a long time ago and refuses to help in any way. I do have my husband, who is wonderfully supportive, but he is usually on childcare duty as I would never allow our small kids in her home.
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