Our society is witnessing a steady climb in assisted living facilities and nursing homes as the population of the boomer generation continues to grow older. While some of our elderly are able to carry out the task of self-care, others require additional assistance.

Basic Care and Necessities of Life

“Elder neglect” refers to the service provider’s failure to ensure basic care and the necessities of life for the elderly. The service provider is anyone charged with the responsibility of caring for the elderly, such as an adult child, a family member, caregiver, or attendant. Necessities generally refer to food, water, shelter, clothing, medication, safety, personal care, and financial support. We attribute self-neglect as an elderly person’s failure to perform self-care. Depending on place of residence, an elder person is someone who is 60-65 years old.

Signs of Elder Neglect

Some signs that can suggest elder neglect are bedsores, poor hygiene, dehydration, weight loss, malnutrition, bruises or broken bones. The living environment does not have running water, heat, or appears to be unsanitary. Missed medical appointments, unfilled prescriptions, untreated medical ailments can suggest lack of care.

Contact the Authorities

If there is possible elder neglect, concerned citizens should, while not required by law, contact the proper authorities. Protective services agencies have the responsibility and resources to investigate reported cases or concerns they receive. In an emergency, please contact law enforcement and medical services. You may be the only help the neglected elder has, so take your concerns seriously.

Elder Abuse Prevention

In the same manner, if you suspect that an elderly person has suffered neglect and abuse, contact protective services agencies in your area. Protective services agencies will perform the necessary investigations to establish if there has been elder abuse. If it is warranted, contact emergency medical services and law enforcement. Concerned citizens are not lawfully required to report cases of elder abuse. However, the elderly may not have anyone else.

Elder Law Lawyer

The information provided in this article serves as a general introduction of an important subject matter. The law surrounding elder neglect or elder abuse requires a professional lawyer. Please contact a lawyer if you are dealing with a case of elder neglect or elder abuse.


Elder Abuse & the Law