Self–Neglect in Older Adults
Risk factors for self-neglect include
Disorders that impair memory or judgment (eg, dementia)
The presence of multiple chronic disorders
Substance misuse or abuse
Warning signs of self-neglect include lack of a caregiver plus any of the following:
Differentiating between self-neglect and simply choosing to live in a way that others find undesirable can be difficult. Social workers are often in the best position to make this determination.
In the US, Adult Protective Services or the state unit on aging (whose numbers are available through the Eldercare Locator at 800-677-1116) can help by coordinating in-home safety assessments and helping older people obtain counseling services, emergency response systems, referrals to additional support services, and, if necessary, hospitalization.