Tag Archive: food hoarders

Hoarding Assessment Checklists

Checklist 1

Put a check mark when risk/hazard

is found

Some areas in the home have visible fire hazards

Hoarding of excrement and/or urine

Bathroom has no running water

Bathroom is unusable and unsanitary

Emergency personnel will be unable to enter the house quickly due to hoard

Windows cannot be opened from the inside

Doors cannot be opened or can barely be opened

Stairs are unsafe to use

Living room floor has clutter

Bedroom floor has clutter

Dining room floor has clutter

Materials are piled high from floor to ceiling

There are piles of heavy materials

There are unstable piles of materials that can shatter or break (e.g. glass)

There are sharp items mixed with the floor clutter or piles

Electrical wiring is unsafe

There are no smoke alarms

Smoke alarms are present but are defective

An area or several areas inside the home have pooled water

Structural damage is present

Stairways are physically damaged and are not usable

Rotting food is present

Insect infestation found

Rodent infestation found

Dead animals are found mixed with the clutter

There is presence of animal waste inside the house

There is presence of fluids such as blood and vomit

Some parts of the home are structurally compromised due to molds and other fungus

Running water is not present in other parts of the home

Electricity has been shut off

Garbage collection has been discontinued

Click here to download and print Hoarding Assessment Checklist #1

Checklist 2

Rate the ability

of the person to conduct a specific activity

Scale: 1 – 5

He/she is able to cook in the kitchen and prepare his/her own food properly.

He/she is able to make full use of the refrigerator.

He/she is able to safely use the stove or oven.

He/she is able to use the kitchen sink and counters.

The dining room table is not cluttered or is at least usable. The person is able to eat on the table.

He/she can navigate the house safely and is able to access all the areas of the home.

He/she is able to use the bathroom and the toilet.

He/she is able to use the sink in the bathroom.

When someone knocks on the door, he/she is able to respond quickly and he/she can reach the door quickly, as well.

He/she sleeps in the bedroom and on the bed.

He/she is able to do laundry (there is running water, washing machine is working, laundry area is accessible, etc.)

He/she is capable of finding important documents with ease.

He/she is able to care for animals adequately.

Click here to download and print Hoarding Assessment Checklist #2

Why Are They Hoarding Food?

Hoarding of food is a common type of hoarding disorder. As with other types of hoarding, food hoarding usually begins as a result of anxiety. Quite often hoarders collect items because they are afraid that if they discard them, something of significance will be lost. Some hoarders experience a extreme sense of grief when they try to give away any of their possessions. These fears of loss seem to stem from an exaggerated responsibility of being prepared for any possible situation and of not wanting to waste things.

Compulsive hoarders also have trouble making even small decisions, such as what to wear or what to eat. Since hoarding does tend to run in families, it could be influenced by modeling behavior or transmitted genetically. Some researchers believe that the reason why individuals hoard food is because they may have experienced some sort of deprivation earlier in their lifetime.

Obsessive food hoarding presents a multitude of concerns. Rotten food or contaminated food containers can become a health hazard that can cause illness and attract pests like flies, roaches, mice or even rats. Most hoarders do not even acknowledge that their excessive accumulation of clutter is a problem. They may think that their behavior is sensible and that saving things is beneficial. They also become oblivious to the odor of rancid food or the harmful health risks associated with it.

Each case of hoarding is unique. However, while everyone is different and people hoard for different reasons, it is believed that those who hoard food do it as a result of past experiences. Sometimes, it is due to the fact that the individual was neglected when they were younger. Their basic needs for life-sustaining food may have been denied or inadequately met. Food hoarders will rationalize keeping a particular food item even if it is expired. They are often in denial about the harm they are doing to their own bodies from eating expired foods.

Those individuals who hoard food also have a tendency to buy large quantities of food items that are on sale and are unable to curb their perpetual need to purchase items. They generally think they are conserving, but ironically compulsive food hoarders often waste more food than the average individual because they often let uneaten food to become moldy and expired or lost in the clutter.