Agency to launch series on hoarding by elderly The Mesa Tribune | The Hometown Newspaper for the city of Mesa, AZ

Agency to launch series on hoarding by elderly

Agency to launch series on hoarding by elderly
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Tribune News Report

Registration is now open for the Area Agency on Aging’s Too Many Treasures Hoarding Therapy Group.  The 14-week virtual sessions will begin in early September and run through mid-December.

The series is designed for Maricopa County residents over 60 “who are challenged by compulsive object hoarding and willing to self-identify and commit to addressing the disorder,” a spokesman said.

Groups will be limited to 12 people and online links will be provided to individuals who qualify for the program.

This is the only object hoarding therapy program in Maricopa County.  Bi-weekly follow-up support groups are offered to individuals who successfully complete the free, confidential and voluntary therapy session.

Qualifying participants will need to complete an intake process by calling 602-241-5577 by Aug. 10.

Participants must be willing to attend the 90-minute weekly sessions, engage in group activities and complete home assignments.

“The goal of the program is to help someone understand their hoarding behavior and to know that they do have the ability to make changes in their lives,” said Heidi Donniaquo, a licensed clinical social worker who manages Too Many Treasures.

The sessions, which are moderated by a licensed professional counselor, are comprised of three phases:

  Understanding the causes of hoarding disorder, techniques to identify obstacles and tools to help decluttering or acquiring.

  Discovering new ways to change unhelpful behavior.

  Techniques to help avoid recurrences and to maintain progress.

Too Many Treasures has been recognized with an Aging Achievement Award by the National Association of Area Agencies on Aging.

“Through the therapy groups, participants suffering from hoarding disorder are introduced to new information and techniques to help them change their current behaviors and thoughts,” Donniaquo said. “Compulsive object hoarding is a serious problem that can be managed.”

According to statistics, 5 percent of the world’s population displays some sort of clinical hoarding that affects between 700,000 and 1 million people in the United States. 

Research at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine indicates that the compulsion to hoard often starts in childhood or the teen years but doesn’t become severe until adulthood. 

According to psychologydegree.net, 75 percent of those who hoard engage in excessive buying, 50 percent excessively acquire free items, 15 percent acknowledge that their behavior is irrational and 50 percent of those who hoard grew up with a hoarding family member.

Information: hoarding@aaaphx.org or aaaphx.org. 

For more information, contact the 24-Hour Senior help line at 602-264-4357.  

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