Sunday, January 24, 2010

Calgary assists seniors who hoard

A new program in Calgary is aimed at helping seniors who suffer from hoarding, a mental disorder that causes them to obsessively keep what other people consider junk.

While once considered an eccentricity or a nuisance, hoarding is now more correctly considered a mental disorder, says Jane Reid, a social worker who is heading up the new program through Calgary Family Services.

Hoarders, who are often seniors, tend to define themselves by what they have. Reid's job is to try to get sufferers to find another way to give themselves an identity.

The program, called "Making Room," is not simply a clean-up, Reid said. She never tells anyone to throw things out. Instead, she tries to understand why the person wants to keep a particular item.

"It may involve me saying — 'Well, tell me about that paper. What does that mean to you?' — then talking and trying to help them kind of rethink what's important to them and what's not."..." More