What is neglect of an elderly person?

Neglect occurs when the caregiver doesn't try to respond to the needs of the older adult. This may include physical, emotional, and social needs, or withholding food, medication, or access to health care. Abandonment is leaving an older adult who needs help alone without planning their care. Elder neglect occurs when a caregiver fails to protect an older adult from harm, resulting in serious injury or illness.

Neglect is another form of elder abuse. When a person who is in charge of the welfare of an elderly person does not guarantee their health and safety, that can also be a criminal offence. But self-neglect is a more complicated subject. This occurs when an elderly person does not want or is unable to maintain his or her own well-being.

The National Association for Adult Protective Services (NAPSA) reports that they receive more phone calls about self-neglect than any other form of elder abuse. And the Aging Life Care Association says 92% of aging life care professionals (also known as geriatric care managers) identified self-neglect as a major problem in their area, a problem that often goes unreported. If you've been a victim of abuse, exploitation, or neglect, you're not alone. A lot of people care and can help.

Tell your doctor, friend, or family member you trust, or immediately call the Eldercare Locator helpline. Frequent arguments or tensions between the caregiver and the elderly person, or changes in the elder's personality or behavior can be broad signs of elder abuse. The stress of caring for the elderly can lead to mental and physical health problems that leave caregivers exhausted, impatient, and more susceptible to neglecting or attacking the elderly in their care. When someone with power over an elderly person intentionally harms them or puts them at risk of harm, their actions or inaction are considered elder abuse.

Emotional and psychological changes can often go hand in hand with other types of elder abuse, such as physical harm or neglect. If you think a neighbor or other elderly person you have contact with is neglecting their own health and safety, contact your family if possible and share your concerns. Signs of elder abuse can be difficult to recognize or confuse with symptoms of dementia, or the frailty of the elderly person or caregivers can explain them that way. A lawyer specializing in elder law can explain your legal and financial options, such as guardianship or a power of attorney.

Elder abuse includes physical, emotional, or sexual harm inflicted on an older adult, financial exploitation, or neglect of their well-being by people who are directly responsible for their care. Laws in most states require professions that help on the frontline, such as doctors and home health care providers, to report suspected abuse or neglect. While many seniors face health problems as they age, they should never have to suffer abuse or neglect. If you are the caregiver of an elderly person and think you are at risk of hurting or neglecting them, help and support is available.

Such contact may involve physical sexual acts, but activities such as showing an older person pornographic material, forcing the person to watch sexual acts, or forcing the person to undress are also considered sexual abuse of older persons. If you suspect that an elderly person is at risk of being neglected or overwhelmed by a caregiver, or of being the victim of financial grievance, it's important to talk. Neglect is a relatively common form of elder abuse because older adults have a higher prevalence of medical conditions and functional limitations that make them vulnerable to neglect. .

Erika Shipley
Erika Shipley

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