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Old 11-23-2012, 02:44 PM   #21
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A very close friend had an adult child living with her for several years who exhibited similar behavior. I learned a lot by supporting her through some very tough times, and not being an expert myself, I can only share what I learned and how she got to resolution for herself.

My friend discovered that hoarding is considered a behavioral symptom of compulsive obsessive disorder. Paranoia is often seen as well because the OCD needs it to protect their bias thinking. Successful treatment usually occurs only when the individual is highly motivated to use medication and talk therapy to work through their behavioral compulsions. This is rare because the OCD itself disallows the insight that change is needed.

What my friend decided to do seemed very cruel at the time, and was very difficult to watch. She met with a psychiatrist several times who helped her understand that she could love her child but be unwilling to tolerate the behavior in her own house. She also met with an attorney so that she clearly understood her rights related to home ownership. The daughter had never paid rent which is a VERY important aspect of the intervention that happened. A renter has many legal rights, and since the OP mentioned the process of eviction, this may be the OP's situation.

My friend set up a formal meeting with her daughter and invited several of us to be witnesses. She then dictated to her daughter that since this was her house, she was going to establish boundaries regarding the appearance of the house including her daughter's room, and that if the daughter didn't like it she could move out. She provided these boundaries in writing at the meeting, and then again several times over the next weeks.

First boundary was that the door to her room was being removed that day. She could no longer keep her mother out of the room. If the daughter didn't like it she could move out.

My friend told her daughter that everything except the furniture and her clothes was going to be removed and placed into a storage locker which she would pay for for 3 months only. The daughter had absolutely no say whatever in what was being removed.
If the daughter didn't like it she could move out.

Another boundary was that the daughter was not allowed to bring anything onto the property. Nothing. That her room, all bags and her purse would be searched daily. If the daughter didn't like it she could move out.

My friend called the local police the morning the removal process was started to alert them to the situation. They came, saw what was happening, expressed understanding that this was a "family" situation they were trying to handle internally, and left. This was preemptive to the daughter calling sometime later in the process.

The first day of removal was terrible. After 3 days of removing over 400 trash bags of stuff everyone was numb.

The daughter made my friends life miserable for weeks, but eventually got a small apartment she could afford....and continues to hoard. My friend has a good relationship with her, they see each other regularly but never in her daughter's apartment.

The key element was my friends commitment to her own well-being and not backing down. Not an inch...ever. It was exhausting. Now it's just sad that mental illness is so difficult to treat.
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Old 11-23-2012, 02:52 PM   #22
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Just a thought...
Seems like there may be more than 2 sides to a problem like this. While I would opt for professional help, I've also seen some downsides to this, especially when elderly people are involved.
At the very least, I think that some type of a reasonable solution should be sought, within the family of concerned people.
According to the OP, a big part of the problem, is the intelligence, and the position of the adult child. It doesn't lead to an amicable discussion.

My own thought would be to prepare a logical exit plan that might be presented, as a basis for compromise. The organization part (of the 'stuff'") sounds good for starters... Maybe a one group at a a time for bagging and labeling... to be stored... in an accessible place... [some years ago, when a neighbor's mom had the problem they worked to move the stuff, a bit at a time, to a nearby unused garage that they rented.] In any case, avoiding the confrontation, whether legal or personal... would be a preferred choice IMHO.

Certainly not an simple situation or a simple solution.
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Old 11-23-2012, 03:49 PM   #23
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Thanks again, everyone, for your thoughts. Thank you, Silver for the detailed reply.

I watched Hoarders on TV and we told my brother he should watch it too. I don't know if he ever did. The take away from the show is that the problem is very difficult to overcome and rarely does the problem go away/get better until the underlying cause of the issue is identified and dealt with.

I have several ideas as to what started my brother down this road but I won't go into them on the forum. My Mom is afraid that if pushed/antagonized too much he will take his own life, though this was never presented as an alternative on the show,so I don't know if it is a valid fear or if she is just being extra cautious because she is a mother.

She desperately wants things to improve, but she also wants to tread carefully.

I am not a caregiven to my brother. As my parents get older and require more help I'm trying to do what I can to help where I can. My mother reached out to me because there are days when she is at her wits end.
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Old 11-23-2012, 04:11 PM   #24
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I think the idea of having him watch Hoarders is a great idea. Hopefully, by doing so, the light bulb with turn on and he'll realize that he's too a hoarder identify with some of the folks there that actually want to change.

I remember watching one epidsode where in stages, in the first step, the hoarder with the help of the family and professional agreed to start with one room. So, I think the dining room was cleaned up, but the rest of the place still had all the stuff around. Then eventually, a little more, until the place was liveable.
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Old 11-23-2012, 04:32 PM   #25
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I can give you some personal insight re:removing a sibling in a parent's home. Just finished a legal guardianship of a parent /eviction of a sibling last year, the process took just over 3 years. I would first try having him move out on his own. If this doesn't work, treat him like a month to month renter and go through the legal process of a formal eviction with a lawyer, if needed. Based on my personal experience, elder abuse is hard to prove and my sibling actually called the State (IL) elder abuse hotline on me as a way to delay the process of his eventual eviction. After 1 phone call from the state, they never contacted me again. Not having a lease makes it harder to evict someone. Looking back, eviction would've been faster and cheaper, but my mom's mental capacity issues would've been a problem too.
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Old 11-23-2012, 05:50 PM   #26
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Whatever approach you use, I would be very careful. Your brother sounds mentally imbalanced and may have the tendency to resort to some serious violence. He may view your actions as trying to screw him. Having to move can be an extremely disruptive for him and can set him off.
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Old 11-23-2012, 06:53 PM   #27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GrayHare View Post
Relying on a government agency to do what a family does not rarely produces what I'd call a "happy" outcome.
Compared to what-- the "domestic violence happy outcome"?

If the elders could have solved the problem by now, they would have. The element of physical/emotional coercion means that they need an outside authority figure to intervene.

Quote:
Originally Posted by LauAnn View Post
My Mom is afraid that if pushed/antagonized too much he will take his own life, though this was never presented as an alternative on the show,so I don't know if it is a valid fear or if she is just being extra cautious because she is a mother.
That's an empty threat. The hoarder is too busy taking care of their stuff to contemplate taking their own life. And beside if they were gone, who'd take care of their stuff?
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Old 11-23-2012, 06:57 PM   #28
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If the elders could have solved the problem by now, they would have. The element of physical/emotional coercion means that they need an outside authority figure to intervene.
A medical professional is what I recommended. In a not-dissimilar situation I tried the government intervention approach, and it was a disaster, including loss of life. YMMV
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Old 11-23-2012, 09:29 PM   #29
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Quote:
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If the elders could have solved the problem by now, they would have. The element of physical/emotional coercion means that they need an outside authority figure to intervene.
Absolutely.

Quote:
Originally Posted by LauAnn View Post
My Mom is afraid that if pushed/antagonized too much he will take his own life, though this was never presented as an alternative on the show,so I don't know if it is a valid fear or if she is just being extra cautious because she is a mother.
Quote:
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That's an empty threat. The hoarder is too busy taking care of their stuff to contemplate taking their own life. And beside if they were gone, who'd take care of their stuff?
Not sure it is a threat or a fear, but there is no reason to believe it isn't legitimate.

A TV show isn't a substitute for professional help when dealing with mental illness. I am not saying this in response to any particular post or member. From what LauAnn has written, professional help is called for.
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Old 11-23-2012, 09:51 PM   #30
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It sounds like severe OCD to me as well. Silver's example sounds like a really good plan. It's not going to be pleasant or pretty, but your brother needs to get his stuff under control if he wants to stay in your parents house. Getting him out of the guest room seems like it would be a pretty good goal.
Hopefully you can get him treatment as well, and there are drugs that help with OCD, but it sounds like he's not very willing to give them a try.
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Old 11-24-2012, 11:34 AM   #31
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My mother and her siblings are hoarders. From my experience, people suffering from OCD (hoarding, in particular) are very abusive toward anyone who doesn't allow them to hoard. They are also selfish, manipulative and liars. My mother and her siblings are all terrible with finances and you should be pro-active in protecting your parents money. My mother also likes to "hoard" information. If there is a pregnancy, death, illness, holiday invite - anything really, she'll keep it to herself. I think it makes her feel powerful or smart, to know something that no one else knows?

You should set up nanny cam in your parent's house. Good luck. It's a very tough disease to understand.
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Old 11-24-2012, 09:35 PM   #32
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Can he afford to live on his own and do they financially depend on him? On the first post, you said he shared their expenses. I don't think there is an easy answer, but for your parents' sake, I think you should try. It may take involving therapists and authorities.
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