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"Harm Reduction" For The Elderly Rather Than "STUFF Reduction"
on April 25, 2011
This book does a very good job clarifying priorities when it comes to clearing the mess of a hoarder (i.e. instead of approaching the situation with a "TOSS EVERYTHING!" attitude, it advocates a "harm reduction" stance, which focuses on maximizing your loved one's safety & comfort over discarding his or her things). It tries to get the reader accustomed to the idea that the hoarder will probably never be as horrified about their living conditions as those around them.
Fortunately or unfortunately, the majority of the book seems to focus on elderly hoarders (that does put a particular slant on the text), which may be positive or negative, depending on the reader. It goes into great lengths discussing the challenges of dealing with a hoarder in the grips of Alzheimer's or dementia or those who have difficulties getting around without the use of walkers or finding their medications in the clutter.
Unfortunately, for people dealing with younger/youngish hoarders, the condescending psycho-babble in the hypothetical discussions is completely off-putting (eye-rolling at times) & would lose any credibility I personally have with my particular hoarder. Additionally, once a "harm reduction team" is gathered (good luck with that), trying to get the hoarder to sign a contract about how to keep one's OWN property is also condescending, intentionally so or not. This book is really a bit better suited for older hoarders (rather than middle-aged or younger ones).
However, these techniques may work for some. Plus, the more flexible "harm reduction" approach over the more staunch "STUFF reduction" method could potentially open more hoarders to purging.