Hoarding Happens Here in Santa Barbara County

National Hoarding Epidemic Hits Home

On Thursday, April 21, 2011, from 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m., ServiceMaster Anytime presents, “Collecting, Cluttering & Hoarding; When is hoarding a lease, sanitary code, or fire violation?” The workshop aimed at increasing awareness about hoarding, will provide information to the professional community about this staggering disorder. Expert speakers and panelists include representatives from Santa Barbara City Fire Department; Santa Barbara County Adult Protective Services; local law firm Reetz, Fox & Bartlett; home care provider Senior Planning Services; and ServiceMaster Anytime.

An estimated 2 million people in the U.S. suffer from compulsive hoarding, according to mental health groups that treat the condition. Hoarding is an obsessive compulsive mental health disorder defined as the acquisition and inability to discard things. In many cases due to the level of contamination in a hoarder environment, workers must utilize protective gear to avoid infection.

In recent years, shows like “Hoarders” on the A&E television network and TLC’s “Hoarding: Buried Alive,” have exposed this epidemic to the general public and have brought more attention to the psychology behind the compulsion of hoarders and the potentially fatal hazards of hoarding.

“It is important for both those with a hoarding disorder and their family members to know that there is help,” said Jackie Quinn, Geriatric Care Manager for Senior Planning Services, who will be on the expert panel. “This kind of event helps experienced professionals right here in our own community educate each other so we are all working together to provide support for both the affected person and for their loved ones to keep them safe - and connected with support available in the community.”

Thursday’s workshop will feature experts in aging and elder care issues, specialists in adult protective services and health and safety codes. Speakers will cover topics such as:

· Why people hoard

· How to identify and assess hoarding and how to intervene

· When is hoarding a lease, sanitary code, or fire violation

· Clean up, rodent and pest infestation, bio cleaning, etc.

· How can property managers and housing providers talk effectively to a person about hoarding?

· Who needs to be on a team to address hoarding and who are the local partners and resources?

· When does hoarding threaten the removal of kids from the home

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