Help with a Family Member who is a Hoarder

Ask A Therapist OnlineHelp with a Family Member who is a Hoarder
Amanda asked 13 years ago

Hi there, I am just trying to get any information possible on hoarding and what to do if you have a family member who suffers from this. I recently found out my aunty is a hoarder. She is about 60 years old and about 9 years ago she lost her dad while she had a husband suffering from cancer. Within that same year she had lost her husband. She has no children, lives alone in a seniors building, and works an entry level position at Zellers. I am more than ever worried about her happiness. Her small apartment is packed with items from the Dollar Store and Zellers. Thank you for any information you can give me.

1 Answers
Best Answer
Insight Psychological Staff answered 12 years ago

I can appreciate your concern for your aunty’s well-being.  She is fortunate to have a niece as supportive and caring as you.  It sounds like your aunty has experienced a number of losses and life transitions over the past 9 years and is probably feeling quite isolated and alone.  The hoarding behaviours she has exhibited may very well be a reaction to the loss of her father and husband or even to her transition into late adulthood.  Her “stuff” may be a source of comfort for her.  The hoarding could represent a number of things for your aunty, so it would be necessary to meet with her to discuss this matter further.  Unfortunately, you cannot do the work for her.

If you feel comfortable and if it is appropriate, I encourage you to gently approach her with your concerns, provide her with education about hoarding, and recommend our counselling services to her.  Our therapists are absolutely fantastic and would be more than willing to work with your aunt on addressing these issues.