Intervening in self-neglect requires contacting either the individual’s health care provider or Adult Protective Services (APS). You should NOT try to intervene by yourself. The information provided on this website is not intended to be used to diagnose or treat self-neglect.
Although APS or the health care provider can be contacted, APS is recommended. No matter who is contacted, they will probably contact the other. If you contact the health care provider first, they are required by state law to notify APS of all cases of self-neglect. However, if the health care provider does not believe it to be a case of self-neglect, they may treat the condition by themselves. Adult Protective Services will contact the individual and their physician as part of the investigation.
The National Adult Protective Services directory provides contact information for local offices throughout the US.
What Questions Will be Asked?
Each APS agency is state controlled. Because self-neglect laws vary from state-to-state, reporting will also vary from state-to-state. In every state, however, APS Specialist will ask several questions to determine what to do (Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich, n.d.). It is not required that you know the answer to every question. If you have a concern, they will investigate.
- Your name, address, phone number and relationship to the person you have concerns about. Most states will allow you to make a report anonymously. Name, gender, date of birth if known or approximate age of person in concern? Language/s spoken?
- What is going on with the person that makes you concerned? Or what made you concerned? Or How did you become aware of the situation you are concerned about?
- Does the person show signs of neglect or abuse? How long has this been going on?
- What are the adult’s financial resources? Who pays the bills? Who else is might be involved or possibly living with the person?
- Is there any use of illegal drugs or abuse of alcohol or abuse by the person or anyone on else in the house?
- Do you think the person is in need of immediate help? Should 911 be called?
- Do you think the person is doing something to harm themselves? For example, is the person wearing torn cloths during the cold months or has the person lost weight since you saw them last?
- Do you know other family or relatives who may be aware of the situation? Any contact information?Who else might be aware of what is going on (doctor, friend, neighbor, church)?
Self-Neglect Specific Questions
- Does the person have shelter, food, heating or medication?
- Can the person bathe and dress themselves?
- Can the person manage their own finances and pay their own bills?
- Does the person have anyone come into the home to help?
- Is the person receiving services from any community agencies, family or friends?
- How long has the person lived alone?
- Are there any injuries? Describe them. How current are the injuries?
- Is there a history of other injuries?
- Any history of mental health problems or violence?
- Has law enforcement been notified?
- Are you concerned for the person’s health and safety?
- Are there weapons, dangerous animals or substance abuse in the person’s home?
Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich. (n.d.). Elder abuse information and training guide. Retrieved from https://www.azag.gov/seniors/elder-abuse-information-and-training-guide#9
Last updated: June 7, 2020 at 16:42 pm by
I. M. Abumaria, Doctor of Nursing Practice