You may have seen a TV show related to the disorder, in which some people collect and live in mountains of clutter, junk, and garbage. There are believed to be around 1000 homes in Lethbridge with various levels of hoarding concerns.
When you hear the word "hoarding" you likely think of the TV show where people live amongst piles of dishes, garbage, clutter, and junk.
Believe it or not, it's an issue in many communities and Lethbridge is no exception. It's believed there are at least 1000 homes within the city with hoarding concerns.
Candice Fisher is the Case Manager for the Lethbridge Hoarding Outreach Management and Education or HOME Team as it's called. She says Hoarders can vary in their level with the mental disorder. She says HOME has a number of different tools to see where people are at on the scale. Some are moderate and some severe.
In 2016, there were two documented cases in Lethbridge where the local HOME Team is believed to have ultimately help avoid the deaths of two people.
Fisher recently completed some unique training in the U.S. when it comes to hoarding and helping those with the disorder. She says the average age that hoarding tendencies first become evident is between 7 and 11 years old. She notes it's a disorder often involving individuals who struggle with perfectionism, procrastination, and decision-making as well as biological factors which run in some families.
Fisher says there are also some hoarding situations which involve squalor, which is a state of being extremely dirty as a result of poverty or neglect. Cases can involve biohazards and living is unsafe structures.
HOME's Lethbridge caseload currently has more than 20 open files. Referrals to the HOME Team can be made by calling 403-33-7640 or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. Fisher says anyone can do a referral whether it be family, friends, neighbours, or organizations.