I have previously written about this and as Winter winds down it may seem a bit overdue, but it is worth repeating. Elders in hoarding homes cut themselves off from basic necessities: water, toilet, laundry, kitchen and heat. Their stuff smothers access or functionality of basic needs. They sometimes have to venture out to eat, clean or socialize.
Both my Mom and Aunt cut themselves off from heat. Partly by mountains of stuff and partly via penny pinching. My Mom surrounded the furnace with stuff and my Aunt buried the oil tank access beneath ten feet of stuff. Both became accustomed to sleeping upright in a chair wrapped in blankets, they decided a heating pad held against their bodies was a good way to stay warm. Seems alright until you realize how easily those heating pads catch on fire.
My Aunt already having had a catastrophic fire in her hoarding home should have been more paranoid of the dangers of over heated electrical devices. Yet she wasn’t. In April 2010 she erred again with an electrical device…the heating pad, which scorched her hands as it caught on fire and started burning her couch and carpet. Bottom line if you know your hoarding elder has no heat….do something and pay particular attention to how they stay warm. Watch not just for space heaters but for heating pads and nip it in the bud!
We have been making great headway in the Hoarding House living room. We need space. We have decided to sell off a couch and love seat to make space. One problem was the couch had a nasty burn hole in it from the heating pad episode.