Long Beach Senior Self-Neglect Lawyers
Compassionate Elder Abuse Lawyer for Patients in Nursing Homes & Assisted Living Facilities in Long Beach, Tustin, Huntington Beach, Irvine, Santa Ana & Nearby Areas in Southern California.
It’s a tragic story often seen on the news: an elderly person is found in poor health surrounded by filth and disarray. Who is responsible? Who is to blame? Why does this happen?
In some cases, it may be because the senior has, indeed, pushed away everyone who cared enough to try to help him or her. But is this cause for criticism, or a cry for help? If a senior is engaged in self-destructive behaviors or showing evidence of self-neglect, what can and should be done?
What Is Self-Neglect?
Simply put, self-neglect is the failure of an individual to properly care for him or herself. This may be seen in any of the following ways:
- Failure to maintain sound hygiene practices. Individuals may stop bathing, cleaning their homes, shaving, wearing deodorant, or keeping themselves and/or their surroundings in a habitable manner. He or she may appear unkempt and unclean, may have offensive odors, and may be fighting dental infections that make eating difficult if not impossible.
- Refusal to take medications or visit the doctor. This may be shown in not only a failure to make appointments but an outright refusal to do so.
- Impassable pathways or clutter in the home. This may include multiple obstacles, including animals that have been “taken in” but for which the senior is unable to provide adequate care. There may also be copious amounts of animal (and sometimes human) waste present.
- Inadequate nutrition. The senior is not keeping his or her pantry or fridge full of nutritious foods. There may also be a large amount of spoiled food or garbage present.
- Self-isolation. The senior may refuse entry to visitors, fail to pay bills resulting in the shut-off of utilities, and refuse to leave the house believing that if he does so he may not be able to get back in.
These are almost always signs of mental decay or illness, and should be treated as such.
What Should You Do If You Suspect Senior Self-Neglect?
Especially when your senior is a beloved family member, seeing him fail to care for himself in his later years can be a traumatic and upsetting experience. However, only those who step up and insist on checking in can identify and report a senior whose living, physical, or mental condition has deteriorated to the point where he is a danger to himself.
Any suspected self-neglect cases should be reported to your local Adult Protective Services. Reporting may not be a pleasant thing to do, but your actions in doing so may be the thing that spurs your senior to get the help he clearly needs. Is it possible that his behavior is deliberate and that he is choosing this as a lifestyle? Of course. Is it also possible that he is suffering from an untreated psychological disorder? Yes.