Elder Neglect

Elder Neglect Is…

The failure of an identified caregiver or responsible other to provide basic necessities, including:

  • Nutrition
  • Hygiene
  • Shelter
  • Clothing
  • Necessary medical care
  • Safety

If the elder is neglected and there is no formal or presumed caregiver, then it is Self-Neglect.

Signs Of Elder Neglect Are…

  • Lack of medical aids (glasses, teeth, hearing aid, medications)
  • Lack of assistive medical devices (wheelchairs, walkers, scooters, canes)
  • An unsupervised person with dementia
  • A bed-bound person left without care
  • Medical orders not followed, including administration of medications
  • Delay in seeking care for injuries or medical conditions, including bedsores
  • Unchanged diapers or lack of incontinence supplies

If You Suspect Elder Neglect, Ask…

  • Does the caregiver isolate the elder?
  • Are medications being taken properly? Are prescriptions current?
  • Is the elder eating regularly? Do they require help at mealtime?
  • Who pays the bills? Who cashes the social security check?
  • Is the caregiver compensated? How? Are they “living off” the elder?
  • How does the victim’s area compare to the rest of the house (cleanliness, safety, access)?

If You Suspect Elder Neglect…

  • Use the First Responder Checklist to document AND DESCRIBE the victim’s hygiene, bedsores (if applicable), living environment, as well as the victim’s overall level of independence and functioning.
  • Take photographs of any physical injuries, as well as the living quarters. (See Photo Tips.)
  • Financial exploitation often accompanies elder neglect. Explore and document the possibility of other types of abuse.
  • Report victim to Adult Protective Services.