...My mother is a resident and she loves her room, meals and all the staff who are both caring and respectful towards residents and visitors. I wholeheartedly recommend this facility.
Trusted hoarding and squalor support
Finding greater freedom by learning to let go.
Hoarding is a mental health condition that manifests in the compulsive acquisition of possessions. Often the possessions have little value and hoarding them can lead to unsanitary and unsafe living conditions.
For many years Catholic Healthcare have been the trusted specialists in supporting those living with the effects of hoarding and squalor in NSW. We provide comprehensive support and services to assist those in need.
We can support you when:
- You or your loved ones have concerns about your living conditions but feel unable to improve them
- You recognise the need to improve your situation but are overwhelmed with where to start
- Your accumulation of items is making access to your home or parts of your home difficult
- Your living conditions are affecting your health and putting your safety at risk
- You are at risk of becoming homeless
Benefits of our services
- One-on-one assistance to ensure your health and safety
- Support and guidance to reduce clutter and remove accumulated rubbish
- Increased hygiene and improved ability to maintain a clean home
- Improved confidence and self-esteem
Simple steps to get started
Step 1: Reach out
We are here and ready to help. Simply give us a call on 1800 225 474, and one of our highly-trained team will assist you with everything you need to get started.
Step 2: Apply for Government Subsidy
To apply for government assistance, go to myagedcare.gov.au
Complete your application for either Commonwealth Home Support Program (CHSP) or a Home Care Package (HCP). If you need help with your application or which type of assistance best suits you, please call us on 1800 225 474.
If you already receive one of these subsidies and are at risk of homelessness you may also be eligible for Assistance with Care and Housing (ACH). Please call us on 1800 225 474 to find out more.
Step 3: Create a support plan
When your Government subsidy is in place, your dedicated Care Advisor will work with you to create a Care Plan that best suits you.
Step 4: Make a booking
Once you are happy with your arranged Care Plan, we will book your chosen services at times that suit you best.
Hoarding and squalor frequently asked questions
What is hoarding?
In the context of this website, hoarding means to acquire or have difficulty discarding a large volume of possessions which others would consider useless or of limited value. Since 2013, hoarding has been recognised as a psychiatric condition. It differs from chronic messiness and collecting.
Hoarders may see possessions as important or closer to treasure while others may see them as valueless and closer to rubbish. Hoarding can be viewed as one way to barricading or protecting oneself from the world outside.
People who hoard may have great difficulty discarding possessions and can experience great distress in thinking about discarding or in having accumulated possessions taken away from them.
Hoarding doesn't just affect individuals. Families, friends, neighbours and communities are impacted.
What is squalor?
In the context of this website, squalor is used to describe somewhere that is cluttered, filthy and unclean through neglect. It describes a living environment. Hoarding describes a behaviour, related to a mental health condition.
Who is affected? Are there others like me?
Yes. Hoarding disorder is estimated to affect 600,000 or 2.6% of the Australian population, according to recent research.
While it is difficult to accurately give good estimates of the prevalence of hoarding and squalor in the community due to the hidden nature of many situations, international research in Europe and North America suggests that up to 2% to 5% of the population may exhibit compulsive hoarding behaviours.
Hoarding affects people of different ages. Characteristics can begin in childhood with mild symptoms in mid-teens, moderate symptoms in 20s. In adulthood, hoarding can reveal itself after a stressful or traumatic event.
Because of the health and safety risks associated with hoarding and living in squalor, other people, including family members, people living with sufferers, neighbours and communities, are affected by hoarding and squalor situations.
What are the causes? Why do people hoard?
It is not clear what causes hoarding disorder and there is no single answer to this question.
Health, medical and community service providers cite different reasons why people hoard.
Some key causes include:
- family influences and experiences;
- response to significant life events (such as war, trauma);
- difficulty with executive functioning (processing information, categorisation, decision making, memory);
- emotionally driven reinforcement patterns (i.e. where learning is driven by emotions or acquiring possessions can make people who hoard feel good);
- inability to form personal relationships;
- cognitive impairment caused by dementia, alcohol-related brain damage (evidence suggests that between half to two-thirds of people living in extreme domestic squalor may be affected by dementia, alcohol-related brain damage, mental health issues); and
- mental health issues such as schizophrenia, depression.
For people affected by hoarding, reasons or causes may include:
- protection and prevention from other people getting too close;
- creates a feeling of security;
- strong emotional attachment to items;
- a belief that the items are worth valuing and/or might be useful someday;
- a strong desire not be wasteful;
- an intention to sort through accumulated belongings; and/or
- the situation reflects negative feelings about self (e.g. feeling like rubbish, not valued, broken).
Is Hoarding and Squalor genetic?
Hoarding patterns in families suggest that, in some cases, people may have a genetic predisposition to hoarding. The condition can appear as a result of a genetic history of hoarding, ageing related illness, trauma or childhood neglect.
What are the signs and symptoms of hoarding disorder?
There are some common characteristics that you can recognise in a person who is hoarder or living in squalor, but everyone is an individual with a unique set of experiences, beliefs and values.
Typically, a person who hoards or is living in squalor:
- cannot stop bringing items into the home;
- believes that the items are in some way part of themselves;
- is unable to effectively categorise items;
- is affected by indecision;
- is unable to discard items without feeling distressed;
- has lost control of their living environment and parts of the house or entire rooms have become cluttered and unusable;
- feels shame about their situation and may hide their cluttered and squalid living environment from others;
- may or may not seek help depending on their level of insight and feelings of shame.
Some people who are hoarders or living in squalor are able to continue to work, and may appear to others to have a 'normal' life.
What is Assistance with Care and Housing (ACH)?
Assistance with Care and Housing (ACH) provides support to those who are homeless or at risk of homelessness with access to appropriate and sustainable housing as well as community care and other support services. Subject to eligibility, ACH is funded by the Department of Health as part of the Commonwealth Home Support Program (CHSP).
What is animal hoarding?
An animal hoarder is a person who accumulates a large number of animals, usually cats or dogs. Sub-groups of animal hoarders include:
- incipient hoarders in early stages of hoarding;
- overwhelmed caregivers who are strongly attached to animals and usually aware of the situation but cannot give adequate care;
- rescuers who may have initially tried to place animals but ultimately only trust themselves to provide adequate levels of care.
- Breeder hoarders who initially selective breed for show or sale but who continue to breed when conditions deteriorate; and
- exploiters who may claim to be breeders but lack empathy for people or animals (e.g. puppy farms).
Don't just take our word for it!
My mother, Pearl, was a resident at the hostel for the final six months of her life, during which time she received wonderful care and respect from the doctor and all the staff, about whom I cannot speak highly enough...
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