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Health Soc Work. 2001 Aug;26(3):176-84.

Hoarding by elderly people.

Author information

  • 1School of Social Work, Boston University, MA 02215, USA.

Erratum in

  • Health Soc Work 2001 Nov;26(4):234.


Although hoarding has been studied in adults, little is known about problems of hoarding by elderly people. This study used a structured telephone interview with elder services providers to investigate hoarding behaviors in relation to functional impairment, cognitive deficits, and physical and psychological conditions in 62 elderly clients. Most elderly hoarders were female, unmarried, and lived alone. Extensive clutter was associated with significant impairment, interfering with basic hygiene, and posing a serious physical threat for many elderly clients. Clients were rarely insightful about their collecting and often resisted change, rendering interventions generally ineffective. Never-married status was associated with more severe hoarding and greater impairment and possibly with worse outcomes of intervention efforts. Health and mental health implications of hoarding by elderly people and implications for treatment are discussed.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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