Q. I recently visited my dad out of state and was shocked to see the state of his house. Apparently he has become a hoarder. What can I do to help him?
This problem has gained wider visibility in recent years, thanks in part to several hoarding-related television shows. Hoarding’s effects can extend beyond an overstuffed home. It can put people’s health at risk. It can affect surrounding neighborhoods. And treating it requires more than a big box of trash bags.
Experts usually draw the line between a messy lifestyle and hoarding when it comes to the person’s ability to function. If they’re no longer able to cook meals in their own home, if they can’t live safely in their own home, if the household is a threat to others due to sanitation and health issues, that’s where the experts say it crosses the line between messy and hoarding.