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Occupations of Our Parents

Apr 13, 2006
My brother and I received a call on Sunday March, 26th that they found our Mother
dead in her home. AND MY MOM WAS A NURSE! No one knew, the people at work
would say she would show up to work clean, she didn’t stink and her hair and makeup were always done.

My mom was a nurse and before my grandma died recently she visited her 3 times
a week, and she visits other “little old ladies” (this is cute since Mom is 71), makes
music tapes for people, buys them things, and hands out candy to everyone she
meets. (Though her level of interest and involvement in me or my life is not nearly so high, I might add.
I notice the same tendency in myself. I can make order out of chaos in any situation, but I tend to not be able to do it for myself nearly so well. I don’t know if that’s nature or nurture.

I’m not sure education has anything to do with it-In the case of our mom I think it is more of a need to be needed and to have a “role”, along that darn compulsion to
AVOID things.

Apr 18, 2006
While my family weren’t nurses, they sure tried to take care of too many people . It’s now hard for me to find the balance between being a stooge for someone or just being a good neighbor or friend.

My mom has a huge need to be needed. So much so that she neglected us for
others when we were kids. I think she likes being the center of attention and feeling

My wife is a nurse and her mother was a nurse! Both hoarders.

Nov 1, 2006
My mom is a nurse too! How weird!

Mar 26, 2006
I agree that my mom is MOST like the woman in the Paula Zahn -Now ( divorced
nurse with mostly grown children who piles up thrift-store purchased books, videos
and holiday supplies)

2/ 20/ 2008
I want to let Tracy know that I understand. My mother—a nurse –also died squalor,
at the age of 61.

I remember as a kid, a neighbor down the street was a hoarder. She was our school
nurse – an extremely nice woman.

Subject: [COH] New Story Sent In, 10/31/06-Daughter
I too, suffer from panic anxiety when my doorbell rings, but my house doesn’t look
like that. I have wanted to help her for years and understand it. I feel like if we did
an intervention she would end up in the Looney Bin. Most people who don’t know
her personally would not believe that my mother has been a nurse for over 40

Apr 18, 2006
I have noticed that too about the number of nurses who have this and always
wondered if anyone else picked up on that. Maybe the Nurses Assn. of America
should get some info. on this. Perhaps it has something to do with the caretaker
role, and when the patient gets better their role/ID entity is over, the are no longer needed…and things ALWAYS need you?

My mom is not a nurse, but has been taking care of elderly people her whole life.

Jan 24, 2008
My mom was a candy stripper and nursing assistant before she had kids. She often
talks about how she wishes she had gotten her nursing degree. She also fancies
herself an amateur therapist. She’s always taking on the “hard luck” people at work,
dropping EVERYTHING to listen to their problems, lending them money, letting them
call her at all hours for a sympathetic ear, etc.
Yet, she has almost no real friends.

My mother’s behavior has been getting worse with each passing year; she’s combative, hostile and bitter. She rarely says anything positive. She worked as a registered nurse most of her life

1/ 28/ 2008
My MIL, father, and grandmother…big hoarders…ALL of them partially completed
nursing school. They later made it their mission to care for elderly relatives to the
detriment of their own families.

Nov 1, 2006
I’m amazed at the NUMBER of nurses who have this hoarding/filth problem! Other
jobs are probably as demanding as nursing….what’s the deal?!
Nurses (yes, my Mom is a nurse) take care of people and make the other people’s
lives better and then come home to live in a garbage dump…shaking head and
sighing [My mom didn’t have a filth problem due to the fact that she was a germaphobe or whatever people are called that like to keep the germs/yuck off stuff–but she has TOO much stuff!!!]

My mom works in this profession. She also is a “Visiting Angel” which is a caregiver
group she works for taking care of senior citizens.
Before that, she was a teacher. Taking care of people from one extreme age to
another. I would be interested in how this all plays into the hoarding brain.

I’m unsure of the relevance, but my mother was an RN for 25 years.

My mom is a NURSE!!!!

My mom was a nurse, and she visits other “little old ladies”, makes music tapes for
people, buys them things, and hands out candy to everyone she meets. (Though
her level of interest and involvement in me or my life is not nearly so high, I might

My Aunt, the worst hoarder in the family, IS an LPN.

Apr 18, 2006
Something else occurs to me as I read posts here and at Friends Of Hoarders: It
seems that an awful lot of the hoarders are nurses. Has anyone else noticed that?
My mom, too, was once a nurse. She still considers herself one and tries to counsel everyone around her on health

RE: Channel 4 Albuquerque
I nearly passed out when I saw on the news what they entitled “FILTHY HOUSE” I
swear you guys this was my mothers house (it wasn’t but looked like it could have
been) Then while showing pictures of the house…they are saying AND YOU WON’T
It was a 51 year old nurse. She said she just got completely overwhelmed and lost
total control.

My mom is not always punctual, but not consistently late, and very reliable for important stuff (she’s a nurse, so I guess it’s been trained into her).

My mom is real busy besides the mess. She is a full time nurse and going to school to get her Bachelors degree. She has always had excuses even when she has no other extra-responsibilities.

I think in my mom’s case, it also has to do with her avoiding her own life and responsibilities. If she’s out of state “taking care of” her mother, then she doesn’t have to deal with her job or her mess, or her bills.

Recap of Dr. Keith Ablow Show on Hoarding, “Inside The Lives of Women Who
“Kathleen is a nurse and mother of three children who can’t bear to throw anything

Interview with owner of DisasterMasters
, cleaning service in NY:

Who is most likely to be a compulsive hoarder?

Alford says that through his work he has noticed that “the people who suffer the
most from compulsive hoarding are people in the health care industry”
. Health care worker, nurses, social workers, and even psychiatrists are among his clients. He says this is because some health care workers are so focused on helping others that they never get around to learning how to take care of themselves.

The second largest group of compulsive hoarders consists of schoolteachers and professors, says Alford.

The hoarder I know was a nurse too, and she’s caring and giving, in fact so very
caring, sometimes it’s over the top because people feel obligated due to her insistence.

About all these patterns of behavior we observe: Some of them are probably quite real, can are probably tide in to certain biochemical predispositions, but some of them are probably not really patterns at all.

One of the hardest things about being a scientist or researcher, is that the human brain is predisposed to identify patterns, whether or not they are actually there. A good scientist has to work very hard to ensure that his/her biases for particular patterns do not influence experiments or conclusions, and we’re not always successful at that. When you hear about some crazy scientist spending a lot of money proving something that is “obvious”, what you are really seeing is someone who is being honest and trying to make sure that our intuitions are not misleading us, because our intuitions often do exactly that.

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  • Oniwashere

    my mom is a hoarder and she is a pediatrician. my ex husband’s mom is a hoarder and she was an animal behaviorist. they are both on disability now. MY mom has mysthenia gravis and his mom has multiple sclorosis

  • Cljking

    My dad, a hoarder, is an engineer. 

  • Lisa

    My dad, a hoarder, started his career as a social worker and while his line of work changed to government paper-pusher, his NEED to help people never left. Over the years, his “helping” everyone has negatively affected the relationship with his immediate family. Dad gives his money and time to every needy individual he runs into. He has so many moochers, but he feels needed. 

    It is amazing to see the common threads throughout these comments.  I never realized that these two tendencies could be linked. 

  • Farrahfrances

    My mom is an RN. She currently works for Hospice.

  • Farrahfrances

    Oh, and she’s a hoarder, duh.

  • Guest

    My father was an accountant, then in his later years a mail man.

  • Sg Viloria

    wow….i really cant believe what i’m reading…do you really think there IS a direct correlation between hoarders and healthcare workers? It must be a coincidence but both of my parents are RNs and they’ve been in their professions for over 30 years now…My dad is retired now, he hates the mess around him yet he still buys crap….My grandma (moms side) was a hoarder and i’ve always thought that was how my mom got it…..I’m 22 now, i had the chance to move out for 3 years (18-22) and found that i did have some hoarding tendencies but managed to stop as soon as i realized. I’m now back at home (life is too expensive right now) and it seems like their place has gotten even FULLER than when i last left….anyways, i’d always assumed that the disorder was hereditary and maybe it is…..I dont know how to help them and i hate being in this environment, it’s extremely frustrating!!!!  

    • Charandtek

      My mum is an occupational therapist and a horder also

  • Azucarbarbie

    Sg Viloria– your situation sounds very similar to mine, I was able to move out at 17 but at 21 I’m back here again and it’s crazy! I don’t know how to help either, trying to clean anything just gets my mother angry.

    My mother is not a nurse, though, she works in the early childhood and teaching field although I think as some people mentioned earlier connections between jobs in social work fields and hoarding. It’s crazy how many of these descriptions sound like her though, like needing to be the center of attention and neglecting her own children while caring for others, ect..

    If you need anyone to talk to in a similar situation, you can contact me as, I would like to chat with someone in similar circumstances as my friendships have been dampened since moving back to solidarity.

  • Anonymous

    Mom was a nurse briefly, before she had kids, but I think she became one because that’s what women did then. I have met a lot of hoarders who had other occupations: Farmers and Computer repair specialists are examples of their occupations.

  • guest

    My mom is a nurse. I never knew that was a common denominator with hoarders. I don’t get how they can work in suck clean and sterile environments and go home to filth. My dad’s girlfriend, who is also a hoader, worked as a higher up for MADD for many years. I really think the hoarding began for her after her son was killed by a drunk driver, but it’s hard for me tell because I didn’t know her then. My best friend’s mom who hoards has been on disability most of her life. I have been around women like this all my life. I never knew there was a name for it until it went to cable. 

  • In ten years of working with hoarders, the occupations we have seen most often are teachers, nurses and engineers.

  • Holasrmateo

    Both of my parents and my grandmother are hoarders and they were all teachers.  I had other teachers or friends whose parents are teachers who had at least hoarding tendencies.

  • Anonymous

    Whoa! This is amazing. My hoarding single-parent mom has been a nurse for about 25 years. It never occurred to me that nursing was a common denominator for hoarders.  I wonder if there is an equal percentage of male nurses who are also hoarders.

  • Beckanddavid

    Hm. Both parents were hoarders–dad was an engineer, and mom was a nurse. Never thought about the connection between nurses/health care workers & hoarders, but it does make a bit of sense–they just get burned out and can’t care. My husband’s first wife is also a hoarder, and also a nurse.

  • Joni

    How weird!  My mother is also a nurse and a hoarder.  My husband is also a hoarder and he is a mechanic – but his mom was a nurse and he spent his childhood living in a home his mom owned and operated for disabled people. 

  • sisofhoardergirl

    This is so interesting. My sister is a xray technician, unemployed currently for failure to show up on time repeatedly(and then writing a 4 page letter explaining why her life was so hard and she should be given preferential treatment blah, blah…) Her life is not so hard btw, she has a husband at wits end, who supports her habit,  teenager just chomping on the bit to leave, tweens that are having to care for themselves and the younger sib.  Has an excuse for everything. My mother has the tendencies, but less so, she was a Phlebotomist for 40 years.

  • This is totally out of topic but I have a practical question. How do you clean profoundaly a house of a hoarder? I’ve heard the Monofoil Technology is the best to clean and protect but would love to hear from your experiences.

  • nc mom

    I have two parents who are hoarders, and my mother is also a nurse.  Which was the profession available to most women of the 40-60’s who had any kind of math or science aptitude.  I have been wondering if there is some kind of codependant quality of women who are nurses that makes them want to give and give where they are recognized (at work) and then have general apathy with their family.  (I am a stay at home mom and I love it, but admit to anybody that you don’t get general recognition for the work done there… its just how it goes.) With codependants (and my mom is one, for sure – parents were abusive, she would seek recognition from them by performing at school… they are still abusive in some ways.. and she is in her  60’s) there is that need to be loved by people who aren’t loving… and in the work place you are not with loving people… but good performance at work does end up giving you positive feedback in the form of raises, recognition, etc.  I just wonder if anybody has done research on codependancy playing into this problem of hoarding… contributing to it. 

  • Curly

     My mom is a hoarder and she is a psychiatrist.  Makes it incredibly hard to talk to her about the issue.

  • Guest

    wow my mom is a hoarder and she too is a nurse !!!!!!!! Her mom (my grandmothers) was not a nurse but I remember hearing stories of her about how she would always help everyone out and let people take advantage of her. Crazy to see so many people with the same story.

  • Lucysmama2005

    My Grandmother passed away in February. I’m still working on cleaning out her house with the help of my husband. She was a nurse’s aid in the emergency room for 25+ years. Its just too weird to read this long list of nurses and caregivers. Grandma was all about appearances and keeping the secret of our house, the illusion of class and sophistication. I was so excited to read the term doorbell dread, there is a term for it and we all have it. Talking to my mother and aunt who grew up in Grandma’s house (I grew up there too) we discovered we all have anxiety and panic even at the thought of someone coming to the ftont door. Glad to have found this page.

  • Tina Anton

    My mom is a hoarder and she is a non-medical Care Giver for elderly and disabled clients. She doesn’t think she has a problem.

  • LA

    My mother is a hoarder, and she is a RN. :-(. She now lives with me because her house is so far gone, and it is so hard to get her to help me clean up around the house, its causing arguments that are really bad. I am so depressed about it,  I wish I could help her I do not know what to do. 

  • AimeeK1967

    My Mom was also a Nurse.. Better Yet she worked in a Mental Health Hospital… 

  • Alice Smith1204

    My hoarding father is a doctor, specialising in obstetrics and women’s health

  • Mae12541

    My mother is a teacher-hoarder. It got progressively worse when her children moved out, then when she retired. We never knew that this was “a thing” until that reality show. My brother and i thought we were the only ones growng up.  I think that “doorbell dread” has made me anti-social in regards to my home-I do not like people to come into my home unless I know them well. Visitors make me uncomfortable….I cant shake it, just automatic reaction. Source of strain between my ex and I….I dont like unexpected visitors. Hopefully someday I can get over that anxiety! 

  • Freegirl

    My mother has been in a caregiving role for the majority of her life. Interesting that there seems to be a “helping profession” potential link within the hoarding issue.

  • This is a discussion on nurses as hoarders in Parenting /
    Family Center, part of Family Central … Are there a lot of hoarders
    who are nurses or a lot of nurses who are hoarders?…,

  • Clear_Horizons

    My Mom didn’t finish her college degree, but always wanted to be a teacher and is great with kids. She helps out an elderly aunt a lot. She was a great care giver to me when I came home from the hospital after surgery. I was nervous about it because we’ve had friction over the years but she was wonderful and very healing. She also has healing hands and has made my migraines go away just by putting her hands to my temples. Her official job was an office manager at a family therapy unit for delinquent kids. She was great with the kids and their families and is a wonderful (amateur) therapist to them and the other therapists.

  • Sara

    Wow. My HP was a physician, married to a psychiatrist.

  • TC

    My MIL was a nurse; she started to hoard when she decided to go off her meds for bipolar disorder. Prior to that she was obsessively neat, and knew exactly where everything was in the house. Her hoard was heaps of clothes, manic-induced purchases and a fridge full of ancient takeout leftovers.
    My parents are hoarders, but don’t have any of these typical professions.

  • my_sharona

    My mom was a teacher. Her long hoarded house has come to the attention of public health and she has an inspection in two weeks. I’ve just come back from there after slipping in the sludge of mouse crap and filth on her kitchen floor. The house reeks of human sewage. She’s had no working water or heat for years and years. It’s as bad as anything anybody has ever seen on Hoarders. I have so many emotions.

  • brandolinium

    My mom got her BA in fine arts, wanted to be an architect, but worked as a computer programmer for most of her working life, which was ended early due to ‘disability’. She made money on the side through cake decorating, sign making (in the days before computers and printers, using calligraphy markers and large posters), baking, chocolate making, stained glass and now beading. Unfortunately, each of these hobbies resulted in the acquisition of countless items, tools and things that remained in the house throughout the years, long after the hobby was abandoned. The stained glass was the worst as it meant wearing shoes in side constantly from then on, and even then getting the occasional shard in the foot when you forgot and took them off.

    She really is a good artist, but her mental problems prevent her from following through with selling, staying focused and having the energy to sell. There have always been A LOT of unfinished projects in the house.

  • Tracer Thong

    Mom is a hoarder, shes a fat fucking cow!

  • Shelly

    I am a teacher, and not a hoarder, but I’ve seen many teachers that are. It can be very frustrating for principals. I can’t walk into a couple of classrooms without getting anxious from the mess. I’m sort of the opposite…I pickup my classroom at the end of each day. I have a hoarder in my department, and it’s so bad that you can’t throw away anything of your own in front of her or she hauls it to her room. At a local university there was a chemistry professor that was ordered to clean up his lab…it was cluttered with stacks of journals…when he refused, the university came in and did it on a weekend, resulting in a lawsuit, which the university won. By the way, I teach science. I think science and English teachers are the worst about hoarding!

  • Slim

    Holy… My hoarder step-grandmother was a nurse; her enabler husband worked at a manufacturing plant. My hoarder grandmother was a hotel receptionist, and hoarded animals along with every other sort of junk because “they needed her!”