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I trust my Booktalk friends 
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Post I trust my Booktalk friends
Belief religion and philosophy- don't know why I am putting this post here.

I will try to be brief: -

Acquaintance of many years, fellow book dealer phones, out of the blue and asks for help. She is living with blocked drains, no hot water and electricity supply on the blink cos mice might be chewing cables? So husband and I go to see if we can help. She has quite a large old house...series of tunnels now....made of newspapers magazines and muck up to the ceiling. Smell is indescribable.

We need to take stuff to the top, I said. But she takes rubbish out of the bags. She is well educated, well spoken and VERY imperious. She's 'The Lady in the Van' cubed. It is heartbreaking but how best to help her?


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pets endangered by possible book avalanche

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Post Re: I trust my Booktalk friends
Hi Penelope,

Your friend is a compulsive hoarder, which I guess is a bit like OCD. When my wife were looking to buy a rental property, we were told that the woman in one of the units was very anxious about us coming to see her unit. She had stuff piled to the ceiling and was scared to death that someone would take her things away from her. Anyway, if your friend is open to seeing someone about her very real disorder, maybe she could get help. She needs intervention and it seems a good sign that she reached out to you for help. She may not be ready to actually get rid of stuff until she gets treatment.

https://adaa.org/understanding-anxiety/ ... ing-basics


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Post Re: I trust my Booktalk friends
Thank you so much. My husband is managing to clear the drains which have plants growing in them. Also he thinks he can fix her an immersion heater so at least she has hot water. But she is living in absolute squalor and we don't think we can do much more. Social services are aware but say there isn't anything they can do.

She seems vaguely aware that all is not OK. Asked for my hairdressers number and went to an appointment, which was brave of her. My hairdresser said she only agreed to sort out her hair because she was my friend, otherwise she wouldn't have accepted the challenge.

It's about knowing where to draw the line. I am genuinely fond of this lady.

Xx


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Post Re: I trust my Booktalk friends
It is so good of you to reach out to this fellow bibliophile Penelope. There is a new profession, the decluttering expert. One example of practical suggestions is at http://www.insideout.com.au/expert-advi ... -organiser

The sad thing is the loss of pastoral community connections of any sort means your friend looks to be socially isolated. With such cases nobody other than a Good Samaritan like you is even willing to give her the time of day, let alone sympathise with her clutter problems. That loneliness is a growing syndrome in our individualistic societies. I can well imagine social services saying she is too wealthy for them to care. Old magazines and newspapers are junk. Any researcher wanting the information in them can get it far more easily from other sources than from the rotting piles your friend has kept.

I recently went with a bunch of guys from my church to help a woman in similar situation. Her son had died and her yard was a complete mess. A morning's work from us made all the difference for her between pathless despair and an opening to hope.


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Post Re: I trust my Booktalk friends
There is a TV show called "Hoarders" in the US that has been going on for 9 seasons. That surprising to me because it's kind of hard to watch much of it as you see how these folks struggle against efforts to clean up their environment. There are services and treatment resources listed below, perhaps you can find something similar in your area.

http://www.aetv.com/shows/hoarders

I recall someone died near where I lived many decades ago and it was said the old woman lived in a narrow 3 foot space between the ceiling and the junk piled up that high throughout her house. She sort of swam around on her belly on top of what became a massive rats nest. I think the building had to be condemned and torn down afterwards...



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Post Re: I trust my Booktalk friends
Penelope, you and your husbands are saints, if not angels. And no, I am not being facetous when I say this. Some 20 odd years ago I was involved in a probate matter (I am a retired lawyer) where the decedent had been a compulsive hoarder, so I can appreciate the situation. Unfortunately, short of having her declared iincompetent (which I am NOT suggesting), there is little you can do except try to persuade here that her situation is actually dangerous to her health.


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Post Re: I trust my Booktalk friends
It's my husband who has been the angel, not me. He went to 'dig a way through' to get to the kitchen sink and got her drain to operate adequately and then he fought a way through all the rubbish in her bedroom to the airing cupboard and got her immersion heater to work so she had some hot water to wash etc. It took five days visits but he said he couldn't do any more. However, my friend 's nephew has been in touch and has arranged with her brother to get professionals in to clear her out. We are all relieved, especially her neighbours.

It has been a horrible smelly job for him. My husband is a real good kind man. I am so grateful to him myself.

Thanks for all your responses. I do appreciate them. I didn't feel that I could discuss the matter closer to home
As it would feel like gossiping.


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He was born with the gift of laughter and a sense that the world is mad....

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Post Re: I trust my Booktalk friends
Brilliant radio program about hoarding

The psychology of hoarding
http://www.abc.net.au/radionational/pro ... ng/8959398
Listen now(Link will open in new window)Download audioshow transcript
Sunday 24 September 2017 5:05PM
We all have different approaches to how much stuff we accumulate. But what happens when your attachment to things becomes so strong that a decision to let go of anything is impossible? People who hoard often find that they can no longer use all the spaces in their home because their lives are ruled by their clutter. We hear from two people who hoard, and a psychologist who specialises in helping hoarders to control their behaviour.

This is one of the All in the Mind programs within the entry 'Understanding and destigmatising mental illness' which won the Mental Health Services in Australia and New Zealand 2017 media award in the category of sound/vision journalism.

The program was first broadcast 2 October, 2016.


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Post Re: I trust my Booktalk friends
My wife and I often watch the hoarding TV show and it is rather overwhelming to me. It is one of those conditions or disorders I struggle to understand. Before I was together with my wife I had a tendency to save too much stuff myself. She went through my kitchen cabinets and found spices that were 10+ years old and obviously very expired. I had cans of soup that were almost as old. Long story short she has me converted to somewhat of a minimalist. We both regularly go through our stuff and ask ourselves if we will ever really use each individual item. If the answer is a negative it gets sold, donated or trashed. As a result our home is very tidy and organized and I feel we're living less stressed lives.

Penelope, it is very kind of you to try to help your friend. I don't know what the answer is and maybe that's why I find the hoarding TV shows so frustrating. I don't see an easy fix and men like to fix problems. To me the solution is just to go in there and start throwing stuff away but I am aware that hoarders don't sit passive and allow that to happen. I think your friend needs an intervention and professional 3rd party help. That's the only way to get this problem properly under control.


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Post Re: I trust my Booktalk friends
Here's an interesting service that picks up stuff from hoarders, catalogs it, and stores if for them. In theory they could have a clutter-free home, but remain calm knowing all their stuff is safely stored somewhere if they ever have a hankering to get some of the junk back. However I doubt that would work for serious / mentally ill hoarders.

https://www.cnbc.com/2017/10/01/storage ... stuff.html

https://www.clutter.com/



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