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Elder Neglect

Elder neglect is a serious issue. This involves the neglect of an elderly individual. Elder neglect can range from instances where a caregiver withholds the appropriate attention from the elderly person to intentionally failing to meet the basic needs of the elderly person. Neglect can include failure to provide food, water, clothing, and medication. Neglect may also manifest if the caregiver is responsible for paying the elderly person’s bills and fails to pay the bills.

There are basically two types of neglect: passive and active. Active neglect is where the caregiver intentionally fails to meet their obligations with respect to the elderly person. Passive neglect is where the caregiver unintentionally fails to properly care for the elderly person. Examples of both active and passive neglect include:

  • Signs of malnourishment
  • Bed sores or other sores
  • Dehydration
  • Chronic health or mental problems, issues, or injuries
  • Overmedicated or under-medicated
  • The elderly person is not permitted to speak to another without the presence of the caregiver

Elderly Persons Have Basic Rights

A caregiver neglects an elderly person if they deprive the elder person of their basic rights. Some of those rights include: the right of the elderly person to receive and read mail, the right to observe certain religious holidays, and the right to privacy.


An elderly person is the victim of self-neglect if they chose to neglect their personal health or safety. Several things may lead to self-neglect including depression, the loss of a loved one, dementia, illness, loneliness, and isolation. It is recommended that caregivers and family members pay close attention to ensure that the elderly person is not engaging in a phase of self-neglect.

Copyright 2014 LexisNexis, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc.


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