“Elder Abuse: Sometimes It’s Self-Inflicted” (NYT)

This is a story of a man living alone with two dogs in San Antonio, TX.  Someone called adult protective services, who sent a caseworker to the man’s home.  The caseworker found a bad situation, which pointed to an under-recognized problem called self-neglect.  “Self-neglect refers to someone whose behavior threatens her health and safety.”  Case workers “look for factors like hoarding (of objects or animals), poor personal hygiene and unsanitary conditions.”

Self-neglect “accounts for more calls to adult protective services agencies nationwide than any other form of elder abuse.  Yet efforts to identify and help older people who neglect themselves often collide with Americans’ emphasis on self-determination.”

“Family members get fed up and don’t want to get involved,” said Courtney Reynolds, a research analyst at the Benjamin Rose Institute on Aging in Cleveland. “They attribute it to a character issue, like stubbornness, instead of a decline in the person’s ability to manage.”

Read the article to learn what happened next…


Elder Abuse: Sometimes It’s Self-Inflicted
The New Old Age: The New York Times
By Paula Span
March 2, 2018