HCN News & Notes

Center for Human Development to Host Hoarding Conference on Sept. 25

HOLYOKE — The Center for Human Development will present its annual conference on hoarding disorder on Tuesday, Sept. 25 from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Log Cabin in Holyoke.

This year’s conference includes a keynote presentation from Lee and Bec Shuer of Easthampton. Lee has lived with and successfully managed his hoarding disorder for years. The conference will also include discussion about the latest research on hoarding (featuring author and Smith College Professor Randy Frost), animal hoarding, clinical and peer approaches to dealing with the disorder, and a panel discussion.

Continuing-education units will be offered for licensed professionals. To register, visit bit.ly/hoarding2018 or call (413) 439-2111. 

According to the American Psychiatric Assoc., people with hoarding disorder excessively save items that others may view as worthless. Typically, they save random items that they feel have value or that they may need in the future. Their persistent difficulty parting with possessions leads to clutter that disrupts their ability to use their living or work spaces.

People with hoarding disorder often feel safer surrounded by the things they save, but items can fill, block, and clutter active living spaces at home. Hoarding can cause problems in social or work settings, too, including maintaining a productive and safe environment. Serious hoarding can lead to fire hazards, tripping hazards, and health-code violations, as well as interpersonal strain and conflict, isolation, and loneliness.

“For individuals and families to heal, there needs to be a sense that their community supports them and has hope for their success,” said Shuer. “Such support is effectively demonstrated when communities bring together peers, mental-health counselors, health-department representatives, police and firefighters, elder-services counselors, housing experts, and code enforcers to promote understanding and solutions that aid healing. The conference is an opportunity to demonstrate such support.”

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