Recognised as a form of self neglect (failure of an adult to take care of himself or herself that causes, or is reasonably likely to cause within a short period of time, serious physical, mental or emotional harm or substantial damage to or loss of assets), hoarding is described by the NHS as ‘where someone acquires an excessive number of items and stores them in a chaotic manner. The items can be of little or no monetary value and usually result in unmanageable amounts of clutter’.
Hoarding can be indicative of a Mental Illness and is seen to be a significant problem if:
The response to hoarding will vary depending on the cause, the level of perceived risk and also the person’s Mental Capacity. Sometimes a criminal response is appropriate, at other times a health response, housing response or safeguarding response may be more suitable.