Self-neglect is a situation where you push aside or ignore the things you need.
In the elderly, self-neglect can happen due to aches and pains that arise with arthritis. It can be a case of cognitive decline. It can also be a lack of enthusiasm due to depression.
In a survey issued by the National Association of Professional Geriatric Care Managers, self-neglect was the leading type of elder abuse. About 9 in 10 of the care managers surveyed said self-neglect is an issue they’ve seen in their areas. Most cases go unnoticed.
Signs of Self-Neglect
There are ways to tell if your parent is neglecting his or her needs. The main sign is lack of personal care and grooming. If your parent isn’t showering regularly or at all, it’s a sign. If your parent stopped shaving, going for haircuts, or never trimming his or her fingernails and toenails, self-neglect is an issue.
If your parent is losing weight and not eating properly, that’s another sign of self-neglect. Your parent may be dealing with malnutrition and dehydration. Your parent is eating infrequently and making poor food choices. Instead of eating a balanced diet, your parent sticks to foods that are ready to eat. Your parent’s fridge is packed with containers of yogurt. If you don’t come and cook a meal or eat with your mom or dad, yogurt is the only thing that is eaten each day.
A dirty home is another sign of self-neglect.
Your parent stopped doing housework. Dishes pile up in the sinks, counters are covered in dust, crumbs, and stains. Floors never get vacuumed or mopped. The toilet and sinks are all filthy.
Failing to follow doctor’s recommendations is another sign of self-neglect.
You finally persuaded your mom or dad to go for a physical. The doctor prescribed medications for something like high blood pressure or diabetes. Despite the clear instructions on when to take the medications, your parent is forgetting dosages or simply never had the prescription filled.
The remaining sign of self-neglect involves household finances. Your parent stopped paying bills or is overdrawing accounts. Your mom or dad has past-due notices and is about to get power or water shut off for lack of payment.
What Can You Do?
When self-neglect is present, it’s important to share your concerns. Your parent may feel that he or she is perfectly fine living alone without help. Without being accusatory, suggest that home care services would ease your mind. Ask your parent to try having a caregiver helping out just one day a week.
As your parent gets used to having help, adjust the caregiver’s frequency. Your mom or dad may soon find caregivers go beyond helping around the home. The companionship that’s offered is going to be appreciated. Help with meals, cleaning, and laundry also become important to your mom and dad.
Learn more about these and other elder care services offered by caregivers. Talk to an agency about services that correct self-neglect.
If you or an aging loved one is considering Homecare in Madeira, OH, please contact the caring staff at Queen City Elder Care today. Serving Cincinnati and Surrounding Communities. Call Us Today (513) 510-4410.
Michele Vollmer is a visionary leader who is perpetually searching for ways to improve, so to remain at the leading edge of the home care industry.She has served in the healthcare industry since 1989, including pharmaceutical and home health sales, as well as hospice sales and sales management.
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