Phenomenology of squalor, hoarding and self-neglect: an Australian aged care perspective


  • Funding: None.

  • Conflict of interest: None.

Sook Meng Lee, The Aged Care Assessment Service, Sunshine Hospital, Furlong Road, St. Albans, Vic. 3032, Australia. Email:


Aged care health professionals in Australia are increasingly referred patients whose standard of cleanliness and self-care has deteriorated to levels resulting in public health concern. This paper describes three illustrative case studies of people referred to an Australian Aged Care Assessment Service who present with ‘Diogenes Syndrome’. The diversity and complexity of these cases reflect variable underlying diagnoses. Symptoms of self-neglect, hoarding and domestic squalor and combinations thereof may provide a more useful classification system of the older person who presents in such circumstances than the frequently used term Diogenes syndrome. Practical guidelines are required for appropriate assessment and management of these conditions.