The Learning Catalog

Hoarding Disorder in Older Adults

Online Courses


The goal of this course is to provide you with a better understanding of the possible factors that may contribute to this disorder and how it affects the individual’s behavior and ability to function within their home and community. Stories and case descriptions are included to provide concrete examples of how hoarding behaviors may manifest and be treated in older adults who have hoarding disorder as a primary diagnosis, as well as those whose hoarding may be due to other underlying medical or mental health disorders.

The course describes the various assessment tools and best practice interventions that have been developed by researchers, health and human service workers, and community task force personnel in their work with people with hoarding disorders. Also reviewed are the ethical and legal issues that can arise when hoarding and clutter endanger the individual or others in the community.


Learner Feedback:

“This course has provided a good foundation to begin addressing Hoarding Disorder with clients if it becomes an issue they need assistance with. I can discuss the topic without being offensive and keeping an open mind. I also think I now have basic skills to assist a client in opening up and understanding the issue and agencies to reach out to for assistance.”

Success Story:   Read how the City of Boston utilized the Hoarding curriculum and worked with BU faculty to train their staff to reduce stigma and hoarding in their community.

Contributing Authors:

Jordana Muroff, PhD, MSW, LICSW, is an Associate Professor and Chair of the Clinical Practice Department at Boston University School of Social Work.  Her scholarship focuses on developing and testing innovative, technology supported evidence-based assessments and interventions for hoarding and other mental health challenges, and reducing inequities and improving access to mental health services for underserved populations.

Bronwyn Keefe, PhD, MSW, MPH is the Assistant Dean of Workforce and Professional Development at Boston University School of Social Work where she is also the Director for The Center for Aging and Disability Education and Research (CADER) and The Network for Professional Education.

Amelia Paini, MSW, Program Manager for Curriculum Development, Boston University School of Social Work

Joan Ead, Eadem Writing Associates


  • Define hoarding disorder.
  • Name the various causes of hoarding disorder.
  • Discuss how hoarding affects the activities of daily living.
  • List the personal and public health risks of hoarding.
  • Summarize the federal laws that protect the rights of people who hoard.
  • Assess risk to personal autonomy as it relates to risk to the community at large.
  • Judge the efficacy of interventions used to treat hoarding disorder.
  • Summarize the ethical principles of confidentiality, autonomy, beneficence.

Course Outline

  • Section I: Course Overview
  • Section II: Background and Scope
  • Section III: Common Issues Due to Hoarding Disorder
  • Section IV: Impact of Hoarding Disorder on Individuals & Families
  • Section V: Animal Hoarding
  • Section VI: Assessment of Hoarding Disorder
  • Section VII: Interventions in Hoarding Disorder
  • Section VIII: Hoarding Disorder and Housing
  • Section IX: Ethical and Legal Concerns in Hoarding Disorder
  • Section X: Course Resources & References

Course Policies

For information about refunds, cancellations, accommodations and to contact us please visit the policies page.

Accessibility Information

All online courses are self-paced and are designed as reading-based and include interactive multimedia components including simulations, video, audio, and discussion boards.

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