June 15 is World Elder Abuse Awareness Day.
As family caregivers and adult children of aging parents, we should be aware that self-neglect is one of the most prevalent types of elder abuse and could be one of the more difficult to isolate and identify. Although most of us want our parents to remain independent and in control of their own decisions for as long as possible, a responsible caregiver is aware of the delicate balance between independence and self-neglect.
What are the signs of self-neglect?
1. Hoarding items such as newspapers, mail and other items to an extent that the home is unsafe and unhealthy.
2. Not eating or drinking enough for proper nutrition or hydration.
3. Failure to take vital medications.
4. Safety hazards such as leaving a burning stove unattended.
5. Poor hygiene and soiled clothing.
6. Not wearing suitable clothing for the weather conditions.
7. General confusion of key facts such as date and time.
8. Inability to perform housekeeping duties.
If you suspect that a senior loved one suffers from self-neglect, make plans for a family caregiver to provide the care that is necessary for a healthier lifestyle. If a family caregiver is unavailable, consider hiring a private-duty caregiver to assist with daily caregiving needs.
And, if you suspect any type of elder abuse, contact the Texas Abuse Hotline at 1-800-252-5400 or visit www.txabusehotline.org for additional information.
What can you do to recognize World Elder Abuse Awareness Day in your Houston?
1. Plan to visit an older neighbor or loved one who lives alone — regularly.
2. Volunteer for programs such as home-delivered meals or other programs that benefit seniors through vital nutrition programs.
3. Join in a local Annual World Elder Abuse Awareness Day activity in your neighborhood.