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Can Elder Self-Neglect Happen in a Nursing Home?

Self-neglect occurs when an elderly person fails to meet their own essential needs, such as by neglecting hygiene, clothing, and food. Self-neglect can be a sign of dementia or another mental illness. It can also indicate that your loved one is struggling with depression, anxiety, or other issues.

If you have an aging loved one who lives in a nursing home, you may wonder if elder self-neglect can happen there as well. The answer is murky because your loved one is under the care of the nursing home. It’s important to understand why and what you can do about it if you believe your loved one is being neglected by the staff at their assisted living facility or nursing home.

Understanding Elder Self-Neglect

Elder self-neglect describes an inability to recognize or acknowledge the needs of oneself, especially when it comes to physical or mental health. This can include a failure to eat, a lack of exercise, and poor hygiene. Elder self-neglect can be caused by a number of factors, including cognitive and physical impairment, malnutrition, and depression.

It occurs when a senior doesn’t take responsibility for their own essential needs like taking care of themselves, their hygiene, or their living space. It can include some or all of the following behaviors:

  • Not getting enough food, causing malnutrition
  • Not bathing, which might lead to infections and other health concerns
  • Leaving the bedroom filled with messes and filth

It’s important to note that an elderly person might not be able to recognize their own self-neglect or they may simply not be able to do much about it.

In a nursing home, self-neglect should never happen. The nursing home is responsible for caring for your loved one. They should be delivering care, not neglect. Unfortunately, sometimes that is not the case. Nursing home employees can neglect to meet your loved one’s needs.

Why Does Self-Neglect Happen in Assisted Living Facilities and Nursing Homes?

Self-neglect might take place in a nursing home where there aren’t enough staff members to properly care for the residents or if staff are otherwise not taking care of residents. In some cases, the neglect is intentional. This can happen with some patients that have cognitive disorders or who might display signs of aggression toward staff.

Regardless of the reason, it is the staff’s responsibility to provide care to the residents of an assisted living facility or nursing home. In this case, residents cannot be victims of self-neglect because they are not in charge of their own care.

Self-neglect within a nursing home or assisted living facility is a sign of negligence as seniors cannot neglect themselves while under care. If you notice signs that your loved one is being neglected, you may be able to sue a nursing home to hold them accountable.

Contact a Nursing Home Negligence Lawyer in New York

Unfortunately, nursing home neglect is more common than many of us think. If your loved one is being neglected in a nursing home, they could be entitled to compensation. Furthermore, it is critical that they receive better care. If your loved one shows signs of neglect, you can contact Dalli & Marino, LLP to take legal action.

Our team can discuss the situation you’re noticing with your loved one and help form a plan, whether taking legal action or simply demanding they receive the right level of care. For more information about elder abuse cases involving assisted living and/or nursing home care, contact us online or call (888) 465-8790. We also speak Spanish.


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