DEAR DEIDRE: DEALING with Mum’s hoarding problem has landed me in debt and it is now destroying my own mental health.
She lives in piles of rubbish, which puts her health at risk. But nothing I do makes a difference.
I’m 45 and her eldest daughter. She’s 74 and has lived alone since my father died.
She has always had a problem letting go of things, but over the years it’s got worse and worse.
Nothing gets thrown away.
There are newspapers, other bits of paper and even dirty tissues. It all just piles up.
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A couple of years ago, I decided to intervene.
My husband and I worked for days clearing and cleaning her house and putting all the stuff into storage. But she’s started hoarding again.
Recently she was ill and nobody could get into her room to treat her.
When we finally got her out, we discovered her bed was filthy because she hadn’t always made it to the toilet. It’s dangerous.
Keeping her stuff in storage has cost me thousands.
The spending keeps going up and I can’t afford to continue. I’m worried sick about my mum but I’m also at the end of my tether and no longer coping.
My husband says I should just get rid of everything. But how can I do that to Mum?
DEIDRE SAYS: She needs professional help.
Extreme hoarding can be a sign of depression.
It’s possible she’s no longer capable of looking after herself so ask for a care assessment.
Contact hoardinguk.org which supports people affected by hoarding behaviour.
As for yourself, talk to your GP and ask for mental health support. Tell your mum you can’t continue to pay for storage.
Give her a month or two’s notice to clear her stuff out, after which you will stop paying. And stick to your guns.
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