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Help for hoarding parents

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This topic contains 39 replies, has 7 voices, and was last updated by avatar LisforLeslie 5 months ago.

Viewing 12 posts - 13 through 24 (of 40 total)
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  • #677408 Reply
    Skyblossom
    Skyblossom

    You don’t need to take a year out of your life to clean our their house and out buildings. You can hire someone to do it for you or you can sell it as is with the knowledge that the buyer won’t pay much because they will have all of the work of cleaning it up. Some of the larger things can be removed by charities. They are happy to come and take the item away and that includes things like cars, furniture and appliances.

    #677462 Reply
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    Leslie Joan

    Skyblossom, you don’t know WHAT is there. Or more importantly, what WILL be there, in the span of another 10 or 15 years. There is surely lead paint in the house; if the paint has been peeling and crumbling, there will be lead in the dust. Depending on whether there is a source of moisture (and in some climates it may just be due to the atmosphere), there may be mold. And some houses can have mice, which are unsanitary. There may also be asbestos in the main house from deteriorating ceiling materials or from flooring materials. There almost certainly will be insect carcasses of some sort. You don’t know what you don’t know, and even if everything is intact and it’s just two inches of houselhold dust, it’s not healthy or prudent to breathe that in without at least a hardware store dust mask.

    I’m not fear-mongering. This is simply reasonable protective practice. And the original LW mentioned the outbuildings with critters and asbestos. That’s clearly something that calls for caution, no matter what your own standards of caution or hygiene are. Fortunately, firms that do professional cleanup are prepared for this.

    #677484 Reply

    Hire help.

    #677498 Reply
    avatar
    Anne Shirley

    Leslie Joan, thank you so much for being understanding. There is definitely damp and there are holes in the walls letting in critters and insects. None of which is addressed. I worry about the ceiling falling in because I bet it has asbestos and damp and the wiring is probably bad – the the house is over 100 years old.

    So I cannot let my children go there and I cannot go there myself because I don’t want to get sick or anything.

    My father has made a lot of illegal extensions to the house, so I would not be able to sell it without knocking it down. So I would have to clear (or get someone to clear) the contents of the house and barns, and I’m talking 2 barns that you could stable 6 horses in stacked to the ceiling, complete with possums and asbestos, plus the less stacked house that has furniture and China and things in boxes.

    So massive effort.

    And if they live another 20 years my daughters will no doubt feel responsibility and I do not want to pass the hoard on to them.

    #677500 Reply
    Skyblossom
    Skyblossom

    Whether it has lead paint will depend on whether the base boards were painted or stained. They used to stain a lot of them and they were only more recently painted. Walls were almost always papered and so were ceilings. A house filled with dusty boxes (the hoarding) isn’t necessarily the same as a house that has had no repairs and has holes in the walls big enough for animals to walk through. I don’t know of anyone living in a house with that kind of problem even if they have it filled with stuff. I grew up in a dusty area and the dust didn’t cause disease. In general, the microorganisms in dust are actually beneficial. You need them to stay healthy. Dead insects are gross but again almost never carry disease. They would turn into little dried carcasses.

    If there are holes through walls and roof then those need to be repaired.

    #677503 Reply
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    Anne Shirley

    Skyblossom, I don’t know about paint in the house, it’s mostly wallpaper and wood, but there is definitely damp, probably mould and holes around the windows where the wood has rotted – they won’t fix it or let me fix it or have it fixed.

    With hoarding comes great need for control. Hoarders are so protective of the hoard and the house and everything around it – the last time my husband and I tried to help around the house they verbally attacked us, telling us to mind our own business and have respect for their things. And we were doing tasks they had agreed we would do!

    #677508 Reply

    Then do absolutely nothing until they do move out or die, and then hire help. I don’t know why you are avoiding the best and only real thing you can do. Hire help when the time comes. There’s no reason to worry about for the next twenty years because there is literally nothing you can do about it right now. You are letting your parents mental illness affect you in a negative way when it really doesn’t have to.

    #677509 Reply
    Skyblossom
    Skyblossom

    I don’t doubt that they protect their hoard. That might be the key to getting them to do some repairs. If you pointed out that their things will be ruined, or expressed concern that they would lose things if the windows aren’t repaired and then show them how they can store their things in a new location while the repair is being made they might allow it.

    #677510 Reply
    Skyblossom
    Skyblossom

    If the house is in really bad shape in twenty years you hire someone to tear it down or you sell the property with the understanding that the owner would tear it down. They would use a loader and take chunks out and dump them in a truck and haul it away. You wouldn’t need to remove anything that you didn’t want. There is a house near us that is in bad shape and the property has recently been sold as land with a well and septic and buried electric connection. The house was there but it was understood that it would need to be torn down. Even a barn with asbestos can be torn down by the private property owner, at least in my state it can be done.

    #677516 Reply
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    Leslie Joan

    Omg, Skyblossom, you are so completely not getting it. You are not reading and registering what Anne wrote AT ALL. You are too busy dismissing realistic concerns and pretending everything is like a normal house. The house has been hoarded for decades; it’s not just about the baseboards and paint versus stain. And you did not read that the parents won’t have people in to do repairs, or you wouldn’t be blithely saying “those need to be repaired.” They do need to be, and they won’t be – hello. They won’t allow intervention. It ain’t about just dust. With the illegal extensions, who even knows how structurally sound the whole thing is, not to mention the state of the electric wires, which may be dangerous as well. Fortunately, the original LW does have a clue, understands the dimension of the problem, and neither she nor I needs to convince anybody else.

    Anne, I am so sorry. Whatever it is that they have collected, nothing is worth what they are doing to their own quality of life. Really, it is a sicknes, and it is sad. But as long as they are handling the bills and otherwise managing, the truth is that there isn’t anything that you can do. You are doing the right thing to avoid the house – it can’t be healthy, and it’s a source of stress. All you can do is pray that they stay safe, and know that it is out of your hands. Adults, even those with disorders, have the freedom to make choices to run their own lives, even they are really crappy or self destructive choices. It stinks for the people who love them to deal with, but the only thing you can do is practice loving detachment.

    When my parents’ house was at its worst, I knew it was a firetrap, and even though they had battery operated smoke detectors, I figured they’d never be able to get out in case of a fire. All I could do was accept it as their choice and be ready with alternatives when they were eventually forced by circumstances into different choices. Let it go into the hands of fate, and don’t let it crush you. Xoxo

    #677519 Reply
    FireStar
    Firestar

    You are dreading something that is not your problem. Not yet. Don’t meet trouble halfway. In this case there is nothing you can be proactive about. Your parents won’t allow it. Maybe the property will be condemned by the time you inherit. You don’t know. When the time comes, avail yourself of services offered in these types of situations. There are organizations and companies that can help you. The most you can do now is research them so you know who to contact later on.
    Continue to avoid the house for your own safety. If you are worried about your parent’s safety then speak to a lawyer to find out what resources, if any, are available to you now.

    #677526 Reply
    avatar
    Anne Shirley

    Thank you Leslie Joan and Firestar.

    I do need to let it go as something I can’t control.

    It’s funny, right near my house there is a massive retirement village being built – it’s really top quality, beautiful and only a block away from us.

    If I had a magic wand I would move my parents into it, adopt their cat and dog (the dog is the excuse for why the house is the way it is, apparantly she Barks whenever they do yard work,probably out of sheer shock.)

    Then I would just raze the place.

    Take out their clothes and tv and anything else useful and just destroy the rest.

    It’s nice to talk to people who understand. I hesitate to talk about it in real life because people get a bit ‘oh, you are inheriting a huge property all to yourself and that’s stressful? Rich person problems!’

    And I’m not rich, I don’t benefit from them being rich and I’d rather they had nothing and gave me nothing and were happy and healthy. Even without the house itself there, I could never live on that land and not be upset by it all.

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