March 14, 2014 — Alissa Schramm was the only geriatric care manager in the Denver area to attend clutter expert Matt Paxton’s seminar for professionals. Matt started his extreme cleaning and organizing company in Virginia in 2006 and appeared as one of the most popular experts on the hit A&E show “Hoarders.” His book, “The Secret Lives of Hoarders,” chronicles his experiences with level 1 (mild) to level 5 (extreme) hoarding situations.
Matt welcomed Alissa publicly, recalling his positive experiences teaming up with geriatric care managers on projects. Professional organizers and insurance agents attended the class as well. Matt encourages a team approach with trained cleaners to address the immediate problem, a professional organizer to assist with maintaining the uncluttered space and a geriatric care manager to provide guidance and support long-term to the senior and the family.
“I was thrilled at the opportunity to meet Matt and learn first-hand about his proven strategies to assist people who hoard,” Alissa said. “The impact of hoarding behaviors on the person and the person’s family and friends is tremendous and demands our best efforts to ameliorate.”
Matt demonstrated great insight and compassion as he taught proven methods of working with people who hoard. Professionals have long suspected hoarding disorder is a mental health issue and received validation of that belief last year. Hoarding disorder was listed as a new diagnosis in the fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, the American Psychiatric Association’s classification and diagnostic tool and the universal authority for psychiatric diagnosis.
The official recognition of hoarding as a behavioral health concern offers a better understanding and renewed hope of ways to help people who hoard and their families and friends who struggle with supporting their loved ones’ living conditions.
“We are learning more and more about hoarding disorder,” Alissa said. “A geriatric care manager can play a critical role in ensuing success in improving the situation.”
Matt’s exposure on “Hoarders” resulted in a flood of calls for assistance from around the country. Unable to respond to all the requests, Matt now collaborates with select ServiceMaster Cleaning and Restoration franchises throughout the country, including one in Aurora, which hosted his seminar. Matt works closely with ServiceMaster franchise president Joe Steffens to train his staff using Matt’s methods.