Stepping in to Prevent Elder Self-Neglect

Elder neglect is a concern for all New York families. When conducting long-term care planning, at the forefront of many minds is ensuring one does not end up in a poor care facility that is prone to abuse and mistreatment. With so many horror stories coming out of some nursing homes, this is a natural concern.

But believe it or not, some elder care advocates suggest that the single most prevalent problem is elder self-neglect. This refers to situations where a senior is in need of extra care for any number of daily tasks and fails to do anything about it. An Examiner story on the subject notes that, when using statistics from the Public Policy Institute of AARP, nearly fifty percent of all reported cases of neglect by be of this variety.

The Causes of Self-Neglect
One state department of aging recently issued a report that highlighted the prevalence of self-neglect among seniors. The study notes that every year thousands and thousands of seniors lose the ability to perform daily tasks but remain silent about the need. Why don’t they speak out?

The causes are myriad. Researchers point out that cognitive decline caused by dementia and Alzheimer’s is commonly at the root. Seniors with these ailments often fail to appreciate their needs, leading to steady physical, mental, and emotional decline without intervention. Also, depression can cause self-neglect. Depression is quite common in the elderly community–spurred by lost spouses, isolation, and loneliness. Elderly white males are the single demographic most likely to commit suicide each year.

In addition, lack of access to necessary resources–spurred by poverty–is frequently at the root of the self-neglect. The article points out that many seniors are in the precarious position of living off tiny incomes but not receiving basic support via government programs for food, medication, and daily senior care. Failing to appreciate their options, many of these seniors may simply languish in silence, not receiving the care they need to thrive in their golden years. It is here that having the help of an elder care attorney and assistance with issues like New York Medicaid can prove critical.

Do not let senior friends and loved ones in your life languish without the care they need to thrive in their golden years. Even when they do not ask directly for help, it is important to keep an eye on those who may be vulnerable, stepping in when necessary to ensure they do not fall victim to elder self-neglect.

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