Are Your Elderly Parents Showing Signs of Self-Neglect?Posted by Medicare Made Clear
If you’re like a lot of people, you’ll be spending the holidays with your elderly parents or other family members. This is an ideal time to find out if they’re taking good care of themselves or if they’re beginning to show signs of self-neglect.
According to Agingcare.com, Rush University conducted a study of nearly 10,000 elderly people and found that elder self-neglect was responsible for a five-fold increase in premature death for elders. This risk was most prominent in the year following the diagnosis of self-neglect.1
Self-neglect comes in many forms. Some people may stop taking their medications while others stop bathing or cleaning their home. There are many reasons for self-neglect, namely depression, dementia, poverty and isolation. The Rush University study also found that elders who have a social network that is either lacking or nonexistent are more prone to falling into a pattern of self-neglect. 1
Your elderly parents may find it difficult to accurately gauge their declining health or capabilities. Observe your parents carefully and ask them if they need help with housekeeping, bathing, dressing, shopping, cooking, transportation or other chores. Signs to watch for, especially if a parent lives alone.
- Alcohol or drug abuse
- Frequent falls or bruising
- Undernourished or dehydrated
- Problems taking medications
- Mail piling up on countertops
- Dirty house, moldy food in fridge
- Lacks basic eye, hearing and dental care
- Poor hygiene
- Wears dirty clothes
- Unkempt appearance
If your loved one is beginning to have difficulties with simple chores around the house, you may want to consider they use the services of a home care provider. Receiving help may allow your loved one to live in their home for a longer period of time. Services most home care agencies provide include:
- Grocery shopping
- Bathing and dressing
- Light housekeeping
- Medication reminders
These services are usually billed at an hourly rate and will need to be paid for out-of-pocket by you or your loved. In most instances, Medicare and Medicaid will not pay for home care services. If your loved one needs financial help to cover costs and they have private insurance or long-term care insurance, review their policy carefully for home care coverage. Otherwise, you may want to check out:
- Veteran’s Administration benefits if your parent is a veteran
- State and local programs, such as your local Department of Aging or Area Agency on Aging
- Medicaid programs for low-income seniors
If you’re a caregiver and need local resources in your community, visit Eldercare Locator.
For more information, explore MedicareMadeClear.com or contact the Medicare helpline 24 hours a day, seven days a week at 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227), TTY 1-877-486-2048.
Family Caregiving Alliance: Find caregiver resources, news and support groups.
Elder Self-Neglect: A Harmful, Hidden Hazard: AgingCare.com
Home for the Holidays: National Center on Elder Abuse and Administration on Aging
1 Elder Self-Neglect: A Harmful, Hidden Hazard, by Anne-Marie Botek, AgingCare.com, November 7, 2014