– behavior of an elderly person that threatens his or her personal health or safety.
Self-neglect typically manifests in an elderly person as a refusal or failure to provide himself or herself with adequate food, water, clothing, shelter, personal hygiene, medication, and safety precautions.
Important Note: This definition of self-neglect excludes a situation in which a mentally competent older person, who understands the consequences of his or her decisions, makes a conscious and voluntary decision to engage in acts that threaten his or her health or safety as a matter of personal choice.
Signs and Symptoms
- dehydration, malnutrition, untreated or improperly attended medical conditions, and poor personal hygiene
- hazardous or unsafe living conditions and arrangements (e.g., improper wiring, no indoor plumbing, no heat, no running water)
- unsanitary or unclean living quarters (e.g., animal/insect infestation, no functioning toilet, fecal/urine smell)
- inappropriate and/or inadequate clothing, lack of the necessary medical aids (e.g., eyeglasses, hearing aids, dentures)
- grossly inadequate housing or homelessness