Since our parents died my brother has let the house go and I fear he is a hoarder

DEAR DEIDRE: SINCE our parents died several years ago my younger brother has let the house go and I fear he now has a hoarding problem.

He is 59, always lived at home, never married or even had a partner.

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He hasn’t worked for more than 15 years and has few, if any, friends. He was always a loner and very stubborn.

I am his older sister aged 63 and live 150 miles away but I visit him once a month. I can see a difference in him lately.

When I visited just before lockdown I was shocked at the piles of boxes and the dirty state of the house.

He refuses to see that he has a problem and he just told me to mind my own business.

We never really got on as children and it’s not got easier over the years.

It tears me apart to see my childhood home in this state.

DEIDRE SAYS: Can you manage to reframe your worries as being concerned for your brother’s well-being, rather than being critical?

Hoarding is a complex condition, usually involving high levels of anxiety, and won’t be solved just by having a good clear-up, I’m afraid.

Ask your brother how he’s feeling and talk about how you miss your parents as that might make it easier for him to share his feelings.

Hoarding UK (020 3239 1600, offers one-to-one support.

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