How To Help A Hoarder Parent?

Hoarding Disorder is a mental health condition affecting millions. Understanding the signs and symptoms of hoarding can help you better support and help your hoarder parent. Some common signs and symptoms include:

  • Persistent difficulty discarding or parting with possessions
  • Severe anxiety or distress when faced with the idea of getting rid of items
  • Accumulating excessive amounts of items, even if they have no practical value
  • Living spaces becoming cluttered and unmanageable• Avoiding or feeling overwhelmed by decisions about organizing possessions

By recognizing these signs and symptoms, you can begin to address the issue and provide the necessary support for your hoarder parent.

How To Help A Hoarder Parent

Approach with Empathy and Understanding

When dealing with a hoarder parent, it’s crucial to approach the situation with empathy and understanding. Here are some tips to help you navigate this challenging situation:

Showing compassion towards a hoarder parent

  • Be patient and understanding, acknowledging that hoarding is a complex issue.
  • Avoid judgment and criticism, instead focusing on expressing concern and offering support.
  • Listen actively and validate their feelings, creating a safe space for open communication.

Educating yourself about Hoarding Disorder

  • Take the time to educate yourself about hoarding disorder and its underlying causes.
  • Understand that hoarding is not a choice but a mental health condition.
  • Learn about available resources and treatment options to support your parent better.

By approaching your hoarder parent with empathy and educating yourself about the disorder, you can create a foundation for effective communication and support.

Communicating with Your Parent

One of the first steps in helping a hoarder parent is to have an open and honest conversation about their hoarding behavior. Approach the conversation with empathy and understanding, expressing your concerns for their well-being and the impact of hoarding on their living situation.

Using non-judgmental and supportive language

Using non-judgmental and supportive language when discussing hoarding with your parent is crucial. Avoid criticizing or blaming them, as this can escalate the situation and make it more difficult for them to accept help. Instead, offer empathy, understanding, and reassurance that you are there to support them through decluttering and organizing.

Encouraging Professional Help

Professional help: is essential when dealing with hoarding behaviors. Hoarding can be a complex and challenging issue, and trained therapists and counselors can provide the necessary guidance and support. They can help address the underlying causes of hoarding, provide effective treatment strategies, and offer ongoing support during recovery.

Researching and suggesting suitable therapy options

It is crucial to research and suggest suitable therapy options when encouraging a hoarder parent to seek professional help. Different therapeutic approaches, such as cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) and exposure therapy, effectively treat hoarding disorders. Support groups or online forums can provide a sense of community and understanding, allowing your parent to connect with others facing similar challenges.

Creating a Plan and Setting Boundaries

When helping a hoarder parent, creating a plan together is crucial. This plan should outline the steps and goals for decluttering their living space. Encourage open and honest communication while considering their emotional attachment to their belongings. Break the process down into manageable tasks to prevent overwhelming feelings.

Establishing boundaries and accountability measures

Setting boundaries is essential to help a hoarder parent. Establish clear guidelines about what can be kept and what needs to be let go. Encourage your hoarder parent to make decisions about their belongings while providing gentle guidance and support. Consider implementing accountability measures, such as regular check-ins, to ensure progress and offer ongoing support.

Offering Practical Support

When helping a hoarder parent, offering practical support is essential. Here are a few ways you can assist them in organizing, sorting, and cleaning their living space:

  • Help them create a plan: Work together to create a step-by-step plan for decluttering and organizing their home.
  • Offer physical assistance: Provide hands-on help sorting items, cleaning, and creating an organized system.
  • Encourage breaks: Remind your parent to take regular breaks to avoid becoming overwhelmed or exhausted.

It’s also crucial to provide emotional support throughout the process. Let them know that you are there for them and offer a listening ear when they need to talk. Remember, patience and understanding are key when assisting a hoarder parent.

Maintaining Ongoing Support

When helping a hoarder parent, it’s essential to continue offering support even after they have progressed in their recovery. Here are some tips for maintaining ongoing support:

Continuously checking in on your parent’s progress:

  • Regularly communicate with your parent to see how they are doing and if they need any assistance.
  • Provide encouragement and praise for their efforts in decluttering and organizing their living space.

Offering ongoing support in their journey towards recovery:

  • Help them establish a maintenance routine to prevent future hoarding behaviors.
  • Offer to accompany them to therapy sessions or support group meetings.
  • Provide resources and information about professional organizers or therapists specialized in hoarding disorder.
  • Remind them that recovery takes time and that setbacks are normal.

By staying involved and offering ongoing support, you can help your hoarder parent maintain their progress and continue on their journey towards a clutter-free and organized life.


Dealing with a hoarder parent can be challenging, but it’s important to approach the situation with patience, understanding, and ongoing support. Hoarding is a complex issue that requires professional help, and as a child of a hoarder parent, it’s crucial to educate yourself about the condition and seek guidance from therapists and support groups. Remember, change takes time, and with the right approach, your hoarder parent can find a path to recovery and a healthier living environment.

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