How to talk to a hoarder: Tips for communicating with a loved one who hoards

Talking to a hoarder can be a sensitive and difficult topic to broach. Hoarding is often associated with shame, embarrassment, and fear of judgment, which can make it challenging to approach the subject with a loved one who hoards. However, open communication is crucial to helping hoarders overcome their behavior and start the recovery process. Here are some tips for talking to a hoarder:

  1. Be patient and non-judgmental: It’s important to approach the conversation with compassion and empathy. Avoid criticizing or blaming the hoarder and instead focus on expressing your concern for their wellbeing.

  2. Use “I” statements: Instead of making accusatory statements, use “I” statements to express how their behavior is affecting you. For example, “I feel overwhelmed and worried about your safety with all the clutter in your home.”

  3. Listen actively: Allow the hoarder to express themselves and listen actively to their concerns. This can help build trust and establish a productive dialogue.

  4. Offer support: Let the hoarder know that you are there to support them and that you want to help them overcome their hoarding behavior. Offer to assist with the cleanup process or to accompany them to therapy sessions.

  5. Seek professional help: Hoarding is often a complex issue that requires professional intervention. Encourage the hoarder to seek professional help, such as therapy or a hoarding cleanup service.

Remember that recovery from hoarding is a process and may take time. It’s important to approach the hoarder with patience, empathy, and understanding. By providing support and encouraging them to seek professional help, you can help them on the path to recovery.