Online Buzz: Compulsive Hoarding

Do you know someone who can’t throw anything away? "I may need it again someday!" they protest, and resist any encouragement from friends and family to discard useless objects.

Some people tend to keep everything—broken appliances, trivial garage sale finds, figurine collections, old newspapers and magazines, worn-out clothes, and most anything they consider of value. Some people are just naturally disorganized and collectors, but for those who are compulsive hoarders, the jumbled collections overflow their living space and can seriously threaten health and safety, let alone cause embarrassment and heartache for family members.

Compulsive hoarding is a distinct disorder in which a person is significantly distressed or impaired in functioning because of their difficulty with discarding items that appear to most people to have little or no value. Functional impairments can include fire hazards because of excessive clutter, inability to prepare or eat food in the home, and infestations from insects, rodents and molds, which can lead to allergies, asthma and infections. While the precise causes of compulsive hoarding are still puzzling to medical authorities, certain brain abnormalities such as lesions or a stroke may underlie the condition as well as a traumatic life event or depression episode.

How can family assist a loved one whose health and safety are compromised by hoarding? Visit the Right at Home blog to learn more.


Right at Home, Inc. is a national organization dedicated to improving the quality of life for those we serve. We fulfill that mission through a dedicated network of locally owned providers of in home care services.