Hoarding, Cluttering and Older Adults

The training on Hoarding will focus on hoarding behaviors among the elderly. The essential feature of the hoarding disorder is to have persistent difficulties discarding possessions regardless of their actual value, according to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, DSM V, (2013). The saving of possessions for those who hoard is considered to be intentional. Because hoarding behavior appears to be almost three times more likely to be found in older adults (ages 55-94) than younger adults, we will focus on the older adult population.

In this training, we will discuss risk and prognostic factors; the impact of hoarding on the quality of life of older adults; the functional consequences of this behavior; co-morbidities (including suicidal ideation);and ways in which we can support those who suffer from this distressing disorder. While no evidence-based treatment interventions have been demonstrated, cognitive behavioral therapy shows great process according to Dr. Randy Frost, a pioneer in hoarding research. Working with a multiple disciplinary team can also be effective; grief counseling, clutterer anonymous groups, AA, and other programs will also be discussed.

Topics Include:
  • Learn the scope of the public health problem of hoarding
  • Understand that hoarding behavior begins as early as pre-adolescence
  • Identify the possible reasons and risk factors for hoarding behavior
  • Recognizing indicators of possible abuse or neglect of a vulnerable adult and reviewing law requirements as a mandated reporter.
  • Learn communication skills to connect with older people who hoard and clutter.
  • Discuss cultural differences and similarities regarding hoarding
  • Recognize effective treatments for hoarding disorder based upon the pioneering work of Randy Frost and others
Course Code