Social Work Professionals’ Knowledge, Perceptions, and Experiences with Hoarding Disorder in Older Adults

Annette M Hintenach, Fordham University


Hoarding Disorder (HD) is a serious mental health condition that has become increasingly prevalent among older adults in the United States. With the burgeoning aging population, there is a greater need for social workers and health care professionals to provide concrete, psychosocial interventions to individuals suffering from HD. While the concept of hoarding is not new, limited research has been conducted on hoarding within the older adult population. This observational, cross-sectional study explores professionals’ knowledge, perceptions of risks, and experiences of HD in older adults, as well as strengths and barriers to treatment. A random sample of social work professionals from New York State working with older adults (N=36) completed a self-administered online questionnaire which captured information about their direct practice experiences with this population. Results found that social workers in aging were moderately knowledgeable about HD. Professionals also had moderately higher difficulty identifying risks. Additionally, their experience working with older adults with HD was relatively modest. Furthermore, social work professionals estimated that approximately 10% of the population they serve have HD. Nevertheless, most professionals indicated that they did not have professional training in hoarding (72.2%). Findings of this study may help social workers, clinicians, and other health care professionals expand their understanding of knowledge, perceptions, and experiences of HD, as well as strengths and barriers regarding HD. Discussions focused on additional practice, policies, and research regarding HD are highlighted.

Subject Area

Social work|Mental health|Gerontology|Aging

Recommended Citation

Hintenach, Annette M, "Social Work Professionals’ Knowledge, Perceptions, and Experiences with Hoarding Disorder in Older Adults" (2023). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI30522508.