A brief summary about self-neglect

Selfneglect.org is dedicated to educating the families and friends of those with self-neglect

Overview of Self-Neglect

What is SN?
The different definitions of self-neglect

Self-neglect is one of the most common problems investigated by Adult Protective Services

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Test Yourself!
What do you already know about SN?

See what you already know about self-neglect!

Take the Self-Neglect Quiz

History of SN
In Greek history, who was Diogenes?

What did Diogenes tell Alexander the Great?

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Risk Factors
What increases the risk of self-neglect?

Old age is a risk factor for self-neglect

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Can self-neglect be prevented?

What steps can you take to stop self-neglect before it starts?

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Professionals & SN
Self-neglect requires professional help

Cleaning services are part of the non-medical services team

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Hoarding commonly occurs with self-neglect

Hoarding is when a person struggles with discarding items, regardless of their actual value

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Dementia is not a normal part of aging

Dementia is a brain disorder that leads to poor memory and/or poor reasoning

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What does Adult Protective Services do?

A visit from an APS agent is critical in addressing self-neglect

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The Law & SN
The legal aspects of self-neglect

Each state has their own laws regarding self-neglect

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How to handle Care Refusal

What can you do when your loved-one refuses care?

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Express healthcare wishes through ADs

Living Will

A Living Will and a Durable Power of Attorney are two types of advanced directives

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The physical, ethical and legal boundaries of SN

The need for guardianship can be a barrier to treating SN in cases of incompetency

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Reporting SN
Who do I call to report self-neglect?

What questions will be asked?

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The ethical considerations of self-neglect

The ethical concepts of autonomy and beneficence guide the treatment of self-neglect

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How to Talk
How do you start the discussion?

How to talk to your loved one about self-neglect?

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Not Sure?
Worried about what will happen?

Self-neglect is one of the most common problems investigated by APS

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Recognizing SN
How to look for signs of self-neglect

Learn How to Recognize Self-Neglect

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Depression can often be treated

Depression is a persistent overwhelming feeling of sadness even when everything is going right

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Get Involved!
Fight SN and become a hero

By intervening, you can become the hero that saves your loved one

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Welcome to Selfneglect.org

Self-neglect is described when self-care activities and or the living environment of an individual is that are potentially harmful to the health, safety or well-being (National Adult Protective Services Association, n.d.). Most researchers agree on five findings or symptoms frequently seen in cases of self-neglect including squalor, social withdrawal, apathy, hoarding, and lack of shame (Pavlou & Lachs, 2006; Lee & LoGiudice, 2012). Also, abusing alcohol or illegal drugs, dementia, and depression are frequently accompany symptoms of self-neglect (National Committee for the Prevention of Elder Abuse, n.d.). However, researchers do not agree on exactly must be present to diagnose self-neglect. An expert must evaluate the individual to determine if self-neglect exists (Culo, 2011).

You can report suspected self-neglect by calling your local Adult Protective Services. You can remain anonymous.

Our Mission

Our mission is to educate the families and friends of individuals with self-neglect about the basics of self-neglect. Selfneglect.org is a free, educational, public service project that is available to anyone interested in self-neglect.

Our Vision

Our vision is to continue to provide evidence-based and unbiased information for the families and friends of individuals with self-neglect.

Our Purpose

Our purpose is to provide unbiased, evidence-based information about self-neglect in order to educate the families and friends of individuals with self-neglect.

Our Message

  • You are not alone,
  • Self-neglect requires intervention, and
  • Treating self-neglect can improve the individual's life in most cases.


Hoarding is when a person struggles with discarding items, regardless of their actual value. Hoarding is long lasting and difficult to treat

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More Info


Depression goes beyond normal sadness. Depression is an overwhelming feeling of sadness persisting even when everything in one’s life seems to be going right

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More Info


Dementia can be severe enough to reduce a person’s ability to perform daily activities. The most common type of dementia is Alzheimer’s disease (60 to 80% of cases)

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More Info

Culo, S. (2011). Risk assessment and intervention for vulnerable older adults. British Columbia Medical Journal, 53(8), 421-425.

Lee, S. M., & LoGiudice, D. (2012). Phenomenology of squalor, hoarding and self‐neglect: an Australian aged care perspective. Internal Medicine Journal42(1), 98-101.

National Adult Protective Services Association. (n.d.). Other safety concerns and self-neglect. Retrieved from http://www.napsa-now.org/get-informed/other-safety-concerns-2/

National Committee for the Prevention of Elder Abuse. (n.d.). Neglect and self-neglect. Retrieved from http://www.preventelderabuse.org/elderabuse/neglect.html

Pavlou, M. P., & Lachs, M. S. (2006). Could self‐neglect in older adults be a geriatric syndrome? Journal of the American Geriatrics Society54(5), 831-842.

Last updated: June 7, 2020 at 16:24 pm by
I. M. Abumaria, Doctor of Nursing Practice
Version 2.00