Help pack a million meals for struggling seniors on 9-11. Volunteer today


AARP Staying Sharp: Keep Your Brain Healthy


The tablet with free 24/7 customer support. Learn More


Military and Veterans Discount



AARP Games - Play Now!


Learn From the Experts

Sign up now for an upcoming webinar or find materials from a past session.


Planning for Long-Term Care for Dummies

Get expert advice on planning for your own or a relative’s future care needs.

Learning centers

Get smart strategies for managing health conditions.



Heart Disease


Most Popular


Inside E Street

Hoarding: A Growing Disorder

We all enjoy having stuff, but when is it too much?

Hoarding is a growing phenomenon that particularly affects older adults. It’s a mental illness typically hidden behind closed doors but is increasingly getting more public attention.

See also: The difference between hoarding disorder and OCD.

Cities and towns are becoming burdened by this public health issue that poses a danger to the hoarder, first responders and the community. Treatment is difficult and there is no cure. 

The International OCD Foundation estimates that 1 in 20 people hoard.  According to the Mayo Clinic, hoarding can begin in early adolescence and tends to get worse with age. People are more likely to become compulsive hoarders if they have close family members who hoard. Some people develop hoarding after a stressful life event.

Inside E Street talks to Gloriana Welsch from Milford, Conn. — who denies she’s a hoarder. Welsch owns approximately 2,000 pairs of shoes. A lot of the rooms in her house are so full of stuff that they are uninhabitable. To her, that’s not hoarding, it’s just clutter.

Also, Lark McCarthy has an eye-opening discussion with Randy Frost, professor of psychology at Smith College and co-author of Stuff: Compulsive Hoarding and the Meaning of Things, and Cynthia Lester, filmmaker and director of the documentary My Mother’s Garden. Her film tells the story of her mother’s struggle with hoarding. Frost and Lester share their firsthand experiences of dealing with hoarders and help us understand what goes on in the hoarder’s mind. They also share advice on what you can do to help your loved ones who may have a hoarding disorder.

Topic Alerts

You can get weekly email alerts on the topics below. Just click “Follow.”

Manage Alerts


Please wait...

progress bar, please wait

Tell Us WhatYou Think

Please leave your comment below.


Discounts & Benefits

From companies that meet the high standards of service and quality set by AARP.

Walgreens 1 discount membership aarp

Members can earn 50 points per $1 spent on select health & wellness products at Walgreens.

member benefit aarp hear usa

Members save 15% on easy listening devices and more at the HearUSA Hearing Shop.

Eye Med 4 Membership Benefit AARP Discount

Members save up to 60% on eye exams and 30% on glasses at Target Optical.

Membership Benefits Discounts Email Genius

Brain boost? Get AARP email for access to memory exercises & more that help you focus.

Rewards for Good

Your Points Balance:

Learn More

Earn points for completing free online activities designed to enrich your life.

Find more ways to earn points

Redeem your points to save on merchandise, travel, and more.

Find more ways to redeem points