What is Elder Neglect?

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  • Written By: Tara Barnett
  • Edited By: Melissa Wiley
  • Last Modified Date: 29 January 2020
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Elder neglect is any inaction that could be construed as ill treatment of an elderly person. This includes withholding essential material possessions, failing to perform necessary medical duties, or even failing to provide stimulation. A person might not be neglecting an elderly person maliciously, but action must be taken in all cases of elder neglect in order to remedy the situation. It is common to see this type of neglect at nursing homes, but it may occur in hospitals or residences as well.

In most cases, elder neglect takes the form of a failure to take adequate care of an elderly person. The elderly person may not be able to leave the neglectful situation independently, whether due to mobility or financial issues. Sometimes, abusive caretakers may threaten elderly people in order to ensure that neglect goes unreported. When neglect involves threats or violence, the situation is called elder abuse rather than simple elder neglect. Physical abuse can almost always be prosecuted under the law wherever assault on adults is considered illegal.

Commonly, the signs of elder neglect are physical. The elderly person may develop bedsores or may become sick from sitting in urine and fecal matter for long periods of time. Sometimes, an obvious health problem may go untreated and develop into a more serious disorder. In many cases, the physical health of an elderly person is already fragile, and these neglectful actions can cause a senior citizen to die.


Neglect can be non-physical and still have negative effects on the health of a senior. Being unloved, unstimulated, and isolated can cause an elderly person to fall into depression or to give up hope. It is very difficult to prove that this type of neglect is occurring, particularly when an elderly person is living at home. The best solution to this type of neglect is to move the elderly person out of the neglectful environment.

Depending on the area, someone may or may not be able to prosecute a certain person or group for elder neglect. In most areas, elderly people have the right to be treated in a way that is not dangerous to their health, but it is not always possible to accuse family members of mistreatment. A lawyer can provide the best possible advice for seeking asylum from elder neglect or for helping out an elder in need. No matter a person's age, a person always has the basic rights a country grants to human beings, and when neglect becomes unbearable these rights can be invoked.


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Post 1

Neglecting the elderly is like neglecting children. When someone is no longer able to take care of themselves, neglecting that person is evil. Taking advantage of children and the elderly, or those who cannot understand, is worse than criminal.

If an elderly person says something is going on, listen to them. They may well be delusional or even hallucinating, but it's worth checking into, just to make sure they're all right.

There is judgment coming for those who neglect children and the elderly, and it will not be pleasant.

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