Helping Seniors Deal with Self-Neglect

There are tons of agencies out there teaching you about how to look for people who abuse the elderly and others who share the signs an elderly person is being abused. However, the often undetected and underreported situation is a senior who is neglecting themselves. You will hear this being referred to as self-neglect and it can become extreme, and you may not know how to help your senior parent, but maybe a home health care services provider can?


Home Health Care Medford MA: Senior Self Neglect
Home Health Care Medford MA: Senior Self Neglect


Firstly, if you live far away and you are only able to visit occasionally it is essential that your elderly loved one has a team of professionals helping them. Home health care agencies provide multiple types of professionals who can help a senior age in place. Many seniors are choosing to age at home where they are the most comfortable instead of uprooting their lives to live in a nursing home. In theory, this sounds good but self-neglect does happen and it is something that you and professional home health care services can look for.

Numerous family members can notice and report neglect or abuse of family members. Less obvious are the indicators of self-neglect, which some caregivers may not even be able to recognize. When this occurs, individuals may feel helpless to effectively address the issue with their loved ones. The following are some of the most prevalent and obvious indications and symptoms of self-neglect among the elderly. There are also suggestions for dealing with the situation.

Understanding the Signs of Self-Neglect

If you see your parents often enough the signs will be clear. They may have stopped taking care of their home and leaving it messy, they may refuse to take medications that they need, or they may not be eating like they used to.

It is crucial to remember that seniors who behave in this manner are not always in perfect control of their behavior, particularly if they are suffering cognitive decline and challenges. In fact, self-neglect is how some caretakers discover that anything may be amiss with the cognitive health of their loved ones.

How to Address Self-Neglect

It is difficult to inform elderly loved ones that they are not properly caring for themselves. Many elders have spent their whole lives caring for themselves. They may feel violated or assaulted if you imply that they are not doing so presently. So, what can you do?

Be Their Friend

Maybe you are their son or daughter but sometimes when you have an elderly loved one you also need to be their friend. Rather than expressing astonishment, disgust, annoyance, or wrath, it is crucial to be attentive to all conceivable reactions and to inquire about their well-being on a broader scale. It is beneficial to attempt to provide companionship that may lead to observing daily patterns and being able to “remind” the individual of crucial self-care tasks. Sometimes folks just need to know that someone is monitoring their well-being.

Communicate With Them

Even if you can’t visit physically, you should still try to talk to your mom or dad most days. Hop on a video chat with them and encourage them to be healthy even when you’re away. This is a time when you can glimpse at how they’re living too. You should never shame them or judge them for what they’re doing but instead, be kind and supportive.

If you or an aging loved-one is considering Home Health Care in Cambridge, MA, or the surrounding areas please contact the caring staff at Visiting Nurse & Community Care today. (781) 643-6090