Are you concerned about someone who hoards? In this video, which takes less than 3 minutes, we share some tips on keeping people safe, even if they don’t think hoarding is a problem.
If you’d like to know more ways to keep people safe, take a look at our online training.
Angela: Are you concerned about someone who hoards but don’t know what to do? I’m Angela Esnouf.
Wendy: And I’m Wendy Hanes, and this is our third video blog in a series about how to keep someone safe, even if you can’t get into their home, or you can but they don’t agree that there is a problem.
Angela: When a person is resisting help you can still work in a harm reduction model. It’s like the clean needle idea, you might not be able to stops someone hoarding, but you can take steps to keep them safe. In our previous video blogs, we’ve talked about smoke alarms and widening pathways. Now we are going to look at other ways of reducing risk, particularly of fire.
Wendy: 39% of fires in hoarded homes are the result of cooking. Removal of clutter from around the cook top and oven is a simple way to reduce this risk. We’ve seen a lot of instances where someone has been told to “clean up the kitchen”. This can be overwhelming and it’s just not necessary. It’s not all or nothing. The whole kitchen doesn’t have to be clean to be safe.
If you are in the home, you can help the person clear the area around cooking appliances. You can even mark out the area around the stove and oven with painters’ tape to remind them to keep that area clear.
Angela: If you are working remotely, you can use some gentle probing questions to find out about the level of risk. “Do you enjoy cooking?” What sort of things do you make for yourself?” This can open up a conversation about simple, specific things they can do to be more safe.
Ensuring clutter is removed from around heaters and electrical items is also important.
Simple questions like, “How are you getting your laundry dry? Are you able to use the clothesline or dryer?” can create an opportunity to identify risks and brainstorm ways to live more safely.
Wendy: These are practical ways you can help keep a person who is hoarding safe, with minimal attention to discarding or behaviour change.