Joan Jerkovich - January 26, 2015 9:51 pm
My elderly Aunt has never had children so she is looking to me for help. My problem is that when I went to her home I discovered that she’s a hoarder. Her house isn’t as bad as those ones you see on TV, but it’s really a mess. I love her to pieces and want to help clean her house, but I’m not sure I have the time to help with this big of a project. How do I support her while not getting overwhelmed myself?
Blessings to you for your willingness to help! Do you know how many people would just walk away from this situation? Too many to count!
You’re on the right path to helping most effectively when you realize your own limitations and the boundaries that you need to set in this challenging situation. If you let this overwhelm you, you’ll most likely come to resent your Aunt, and that’s not what she needs from any of her family, as hoarding is often a form of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder that benefits from Mental Health Care.
I know it sounds crazy, but I’ve always thought it would be fun to tackle a hoarding house…I told you I was crazy! I’m a big project person. I like a challenge! I like to take a big project that seems overwhelming and devise strategies for breaking the work down into smaller parts. Then, I like being the captain that rallies the troops and directs the charge that brings all to victory! Yeah!
As the captain of this project, devise a strategy for cleaning up the house, break tasks down into manageable and attainable goals, bring in the help that you need, and direct the troops.
I salute you El Capitan! Victory awaits you!
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- What plan do you have to protect and support your Aunt’s mental health during this clean up project?
- What resources can you tap into from other family members or within her community for help?
- What limits will you set for yourself?
- How will you communicate to your Aunt your personal boundaries for the amount of time you can devote to this project?
- When and how will you gracefully remove yourself from this project if it begins to overwhelm you?
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