Warning signs when elders neglect their own care
Elder self-neglect is a growing problem that commonly goes unreported because of so many elders living alone. Eleven million older adults live by themselves. The National Adult Protective Services Association defines self-neglect as “an adult’s inability, due to physical or mental impairment or diminished capacity, to perform essential self-care . . .”. Elderly self-neglect is the most common non-financial form of elder abuse/neglect. The following are a few of the warning signs: 1) Poor personal hygiene 2) Spoiled food in the refrigerator, inadequate food in the house or forgetting to eat or drink 3) Dirty or messy living conditions or signs of hoarding 4) Unopened mail or unpaid bills 5) No medication management or failure to take medication consistently 6) Signs of extreme weight loss due to improper nutrition and 7) Unkempt yard or failure to take care of home repairs. 8) Forgetting appointments 9) Lack of socialization. Self-neglect is not intentional but is the inability to help oneself combined with the inability to communicate it because of embarrassment, loss of executive function, or fear.
Most if not all of these problems can be avoided with the help of an Aging Life Care Professional. These professionals can hire and oversee the work of a home care agency to make sure that the aging adult is bathed and well-groomed on a regular basis, that clothes are changed and washed and that teeth, hair and nails are clean and maintained. They can also make sure the house is stocked with nutritious food and the adult eats healthy meals on a regular basis. These professionals make sure the home is cleaned and items are picked up and put away. They can make sure that all home repairs and maintenance are taken care of and that all bills are paid on a regular basis. Aging Life Care Professionals can oversee medication management and make sure that all appointments are attended including transportation to and from the location.
Seeing that the aging adult is not isolated and has plenty of socialization is another solution the Aging Life Care Professional can provide.
Providing care management, medication management and personal oversight, can help prevent self-neglect taking the life of a loved one and can enhance and improve a person’s quality of life.