Help the son and daughter-in-law of a compulsive hoarder!
November 19, 2007 9:23 PM   Subscribe

I have some friends (a married couple) from Denver who have just found out that 1) his mother had a stroke at the age of 70, 2) his mother was a hoarder, and has kept everything in her house for the past thirty-plus years that she's been living alone (with no power, heat, or water) 3) in Peoria, IL. I'm trying to find resources that they can use on their limited budget for psychological (support group), financial, and other assistance.

More tragedy: The husband just got laid off from a networking job in Denver and missed his first interview since the layoff, which was supposed to happen on the day after they found out about the mother. They were skinny in the wallet in the first place, but now they're spiralling further into debt as they have to afford the time away from the husband's job hunt and they incur the costs of hotel rooms and food in a remote area where they don't know anyone... plus medical care for the mother, who is now in a nursing home and needs extensive therapy to recover from the stroke. There's no other family for them to fall back on, and the mother has no assets besides the house which can't be sold.

So far, they're doing everything they can. They've made the house as safe as it can be (it was a fire hazard with junk piled all up around the boiler in the basement and the boiler only half working), they've gotten a lawyer and are moving for guardianship of the mother, and they've told their friends about it so that we can start marshaling resources to help them out.

Beyond the obvious, there's one thing I'm most interested in and that's active support communities (she's found two that are inactive or barely active in Chicago, but Chicago is not Peoria) for the relatives of Compulsive Hoarders. National/Web organizations are fine.

Any ideas on who someone who needs the help of a charitable organization in Peoria, or what charitable organizations (the couple has no religious affiliation... and religious groups might not be the best choice) might be able to provide some resources in the area for them. Right now the mother's house is completely uninhabitable due to the vermin infestation and lack of power and water to the house, and they're staying at the (barely) habitable Holiday Inn before they have to return to Detroit.

Any other suggestions to help them out? We've started a "tip jar" online, are putting a mailing list together, and are looking for other ways to raise money for them.
posted by SpecialK to Human Relations (9 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Why can't the house be sold? Maybe a reverse mortgage solution could help pay for the mother's care.
posted by hjo3 at 9:32 PM on November 19, 2007

The Children of Aging Parents website often has useful info and links to other resources. It may be a good place to start.
posted by occhiblu at 9:36 PM on November 19, 2007

They just did an episode of Oprah on hoarding and their advice was to take one bag of trash and one bag of things to donate to Goodwill out of the house every day. That doesn't sound like an option, however, and neither does a proffessional organizer. I think that the best thing that they can do about the house problem is just get as much as they can out of the house and donated to Goodwill and whatever is in good enough condition sold in a yardsale. That would give them a little extra money for all of the medical costs.
posted by thebrokenmuse at 9:41 PM on November 19, 2007

Maybe they could hire some neighborhood kids to help them clean the place out for cheap.
posted by thebrokenmuse at 9:41 PM on November 19, 2007

and religious groups might not be the best choice

Why not? Sometimes religious groups are the most supportive when disaster strikes and people need help.

(Surely you don't mean they are not willing to accept money from religious groups.)
posted by jayder at 9:46 PM on November 19, 2007

I'd try Children of Hoarders.
posted by jeri at 9:58 PM on November 19, 2007

Response by poster: Maybe they could hire some neighborhood kids to help them clean the place out for cheap.

The place currently requires a Tyvek suit and a pollutant-class air filter face mask to enter. Not sure that's an option. There's a lot of icky details I didn't share.

As for the rest, I'll link this to them and post any responses if they have them. Also, my email's in the profile if you're a local and have any ideas.
posted by SpecialK at 9:59 PM on November 19, 2007

Contact the Central Illinois Agency on Aging here.
If your mother has no assets, then the children should find out what services are available for their mother.

Is their mother going to be able to move back into her house and care for herself? If she can, you may be able to use the case management services of CIAA to figure out what needs to be done. If not, they may need explore options for subsidized, supported living arrangments.
posted by metahawk at 10:06 PM on November 19, 2007

Mental Health Association of Illinois Valley, Inc.
5407 N. University, Peoria, IL 61614
Phone: 309-692-1766
Fax: 309-692-2966
posted by ClaudiaCenter at 10:14 PM on November 19, 2007

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