What is Elder Neglect?
Elder neglect occurs when a caregiver fails to be responsible for or provide assistance to the older adult. Neglect can be intentional or unintentional. It is the most commonly reported form of elder mistreatment.
Caregivers may not fulfill their responsibilities to the older adult for many reasons: some are mean or angry at the elder or greedy. Others may be immature or lack the finances and skills necessary to give good care. Whatever the case, neglect can be physical, psychological, social or financial.
It is difficult to determine the incidence and prevalence of elder neglect. Some reasons include:
Abandonment is a form of elder mistreatment in which the caregiver abandons or deserts the older adult. Examples include leaving the older adult:
Self neglect is the most commonly reported form of neglect. The older adult may refuse the help or the care that they need. Healthcare providers must preserve the individual's autonomy while giving the best care possible. Healthcare providers need to determine whether the patient has the capacity to make decisions about their care.