Hoarding and the elderly
Whilst not all hoarding is quite to this extent it can become an issue. Local to me Jasmine Sleigh also from Devon has forged her career sorting other peoples clutter freeing them up to live normal lives once more.
Age UK Exeter staff received training last week from Jasmine whose business ‘Change your Space’ is all about identifying and supporting older people who find it hard to throw things away.
There are estimated to be up to 15,000 people who hoard items in Devon, often to the extent that they gradually lose their living space to the items they’ve accumulated.
These items are usually of little or no value and are often comprised of old newspapers and magazines, leaflets, junk mail, books, plastic bags and containers, old clothing and broken household appliances. The problem hoarders’ face is that they find it very hard to dispose of things they think may one day come in useful.
Such behaviour is often the result of underlying depression or obsessive compulsive disorder. Changing such behaviour can be a time consuming and sensitive process in order to help people let go of the things they don’t need. Jasmine, who is based in Exmouth, is a member of the Association of Professional Declutterers and Organisers and as well as helping many local people manage the space and clutter in their homes more effectively she has also been commissioned by local authorities and the Fire Service to help people who are more serious hoarders manage their problem.
Martyn Rogers, Director of Age UK Exeter, said “The issue of hoarding seems to get more prevalent as people get older. It is recognised that between 2% and 5% of the population may have symptoms of a hoarding disorder and we have certainly supported a number of older people who struggle to keep their homes free of rising amounts of clutter. Jasmine has a wealth of experience and insights and has been great in giving our staff guidance on how to recognise a hoarding problem when they see one and the strategies they can use to help people take back control of their living spaces and homes”.