Self-Neglect in the Elderly Is a Silent Issue in Elder Abuse
The Virginia Department for Aging and Rehabilitative Services recently released a report showing self-neglect is the most common form of abuse in the elderly or disabled. Assistant Director of Henrico County’s Social Services, Shawn Rozier, says self-neglect is where “adults are losing the capability of meeting their day-to-day needs.” From July 1, 2012 through June 30, 2013, Adult Protective Services in Richmond, Henrico, and Chesterfield received over 2,000 reports of abuse, neglect or exploitation of the elderly. In Henrico alone, two-thirds of their cases could be attributed to self-neglect. Unfortunately self-neglect is an issue that is kept hidden from the public, mainly because of the nature of the beast. It begs the question of asking if an individual is competent but chooses to neglect their health and safety, then is this abuse? This leads to intervention, and the appropriateness of doing so in cases of self-neglect. If self-neglect is included as a category of elder-abuse, then according to statistics from the Public Policy Institute of AARP, self-neglect represents 40 to 50 percent of cases reported to states Adult Protective Services.