Out of Control Hoarder

December 27, 2013 Updated: April 24, 2016

Dear Kathy,

    I went to my grandmother’s for Christmas. My aunt, “Carol,” moved in with her a few months ago and she’s a hoarder. We had hoped that moving out of her own hoard and living with my grandmother, who is very neat, would help her.

    We were all shocked to see what a cluttered mess she’s turned my grandmother’s house into. When we confronted my aunt about it, she became angry and defensive. My grandmother is 87 years old and she doesn’t deserve this.

    What can we do to resolve this? We have to do something for my grandmother’s sake.


Dear Bonnie,

    No one deserves to live in a hoard, including your Aunt Carol. It is a desperately sad situation unfit for any human being. Generally speaking, the root cause of hoarding behavior is anxiety. Additionally, a significant percentage of hoarders have experienced trauma.

      I suggest that you seek out a therapist specializing in anxiety disorders and hoarding to work with your entire extended family. If you can all team up with Carol, instead of against her, your chances of successfully addressing the hoarding situation will be greatly optimized.

Wishing you my best,


P.S. Please let me know how things work out.

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