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Senior Workers Learn About Hoarding Disorders

Louise Kurzeka, an expert in hoarding disorder, spoke to a group of professionals about the topic at the January 7 monthly meeting of the St. Paul Senior Workers Association. Kurzeka reminded everyone what the official definition of hoarding disorder is: “The acquisition of, and failure to discard a larger number of objects that appear useless or of limited value. Amount of possessions in the home renders living spaces unusable. Causes significant distress or impairment (Frost and Hartl, 1996).”


She explained that what makes the person who hoards different than others are the following:

  • Excessive acquisition
  • Great difficulty discarding
  • Possessions are cluttered
  • Distress caused by the issue

Kurzeka also implored everyone to be careful with the language we use when talking about those with hoarding disorder. She urged people to not say “hoarders” but rather talk about them as “people who hoard” and “a person with hoarding disorder.”

She also shared ideas on how you can support the long term efforts of clients to live in a safer and clutter-reduced environment. These include things such as: setting a staging area; categorize, contain, label; and assess items one at a time.

Kurzeka is a Golden Circle member of the National Association of Productivity and Organizing Professionals and founding member and past president of NAPO-Minnesota. She is also a founding member of the current Minnesota Hoarding Task Force. She has earned the CD and ADD specialist designations from the Institute for Challenging Disorganization. She can be reached at

The next SPSWA monthly meeting will be held Tuesday, Feb. 4 from 8-10 a.m. at Gable Pines at Vadnais Heights.