Wednesday, August 14, 2019 from 8:30 AM to 12:45 PM EDT
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Area Agency on Aging 
2131 Park Avenue West
Hawkins Corner, Suite 300
Ontario, OH 44906

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Laura Barber 
Ohio District 5 Area Agency on Aging, Inc. 
Area Agency on Aging Educational Seminar 

The Challenges of Cleanliness, Clutter and Hoarding with Older Adults and their Families 

Wednesday, August 14, 2019


One of the current challenges of working with older adults and their families is keeping households functional for as long as possible. Most older adults desire the highest level of independence possible while their families are concerned about the safety of day to day living arrangements. An issue which influences this dynamic in families is the amount of "stuff" in the house or apartment. In addition, service providers are often challenged to provide quality care in environments which may not be ideal from a cleanliness or clutter standpoint. This workshop examines the issue around cleanliness, clutter and hoarding. It looks at the psychosocial dynamics of each as well as the possible causes and reasons for the behaviors when they become a barrier to care. It will provide practical suggestions for assessing situations as well as providing quality care while respecting individual rights. 


  • Provide a uniform definition for the terms we are using to describe behaviors.
  • Identify the psychosocial components surrounding cleanliness, clutter in households and hoarding behaviors including the DSM-5 definition of hoarding disorder. 
  • Describe the assessment tools which look both at the person and the living situations. Provide tips and suggestions to use in assessment. 
  • Describe 3 strategies for assisting families to communicate about these issues more effectively.
  • Identify 10 practical suggestions to continue to provide quality care in situations where the cluttered conditions are a barrier. 

Presenter Information:

Paula works part time at the Central Ohio Area Agency on Aging as an Outreach & Education Specialist. As such, she has presented over 720 workshops in the last decade. Paula holds a Master's Degree in Gerontology from Scripps Gerontology Center at Miami University and a License in Social Work in the State of Ohio. She is a PAC Approved Trainer under Teepa Snow's Positive Approach Certification. She is developer of the "Aging In Ohio" course which is required of many professionals who work with older adults. In addition, she is one of two developers of the "Fundamentals of Guardianship" course sponsored by the Ohio Supreme Court's Judicial College. 


Views and written materials presented during this seminar are those of the individual presenter and do not necessarily represent the official views and/or opinions of the Ohio District 5 Area Agency on Aging Inc.