Social isolation is a common characteristic of self-neglect

Social Isolation

Individuals with self-neglect like to be alone. They usually do not trust strangers and can be angry. These characteristics may result in arguments with others (Hurley, Scallan, Johnson, & De La Harpe, 2000). They are difficult to treat because they refuse any form of help (Amanullah, Oomman, & Datta, 2009). . Helping an individual with self-neglect who is like this is difficult. Help must be offered in a sensitive manner. If it is not, it may make it even more difficult to have the individual accept help in the future.

As people get older, they are more likely to stay by themselves. This happens more often if they have experienced a loss, such as the death of spouse or a longtime friends (Social Care Institute for Excellence, 2015). These losses may cause the person to avoid social activities. Being alone can also cause personality changes.

When APS investigates, social services will determine if the individual has a strong social network. APS will try to improve contact between friends and family. Establishing a support system will be encouraged such as social groups, senior centers, adult day care, church group, and volunteer work. Depression screening will also be performed, since depression is associated with being alone (Pavlou & Lachs, 2006).


Amanullah, S., Oomman, S., & Datta, S. S. (2009). “Diogenes syndrome” revisited. The German Journal of Psychiatry, 12, 38-44.

Hurley, M., Scallan, E., Johnson, H., & De La Harpe, D. (2000). Adult service refusers in the greater Dublin area. Irish Medical Journal93(7), 208-211.

Irvine, J. D., & Nwachukwu, K. (2014). Recognizing Diogenes syndrome: A case report. Bio Med Central Research Notes, 7(1), 276.

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.

Social Care Institute for Excellence. (2015, May). At a glance 60: Preventing loneliness and social isolation among older people. Retrieved January 9, 2017 from 

Last updated: March 14, 2017 at 17:25 pm by
I. M. Abumaria, AGPCNP-BC
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