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Elder Self-Neglect and Abuse linked to Increased Risk of Dying

Elderly self-neglect is associated with a nearly six-fold increase in the risk of dying within a year. Elder self-neglect and abuse are serious, common and under recognized. There are an estimated 2 million cases of elder self-neglect and abuse in the United States. When elderly persons threatens their own health and safety by refusing to adequately feed, shelter or clothe themselves they are committing elder self-neglect. The Chicago Health and Aging Project created a report saying that of the 1,544 participants in a 9,000 study were guilty of elder self-neglect and 113 participants were reported for elder abuse. Participants with reported or confirmed self-neglect had a one-year mortality rate of 246.36 deaths per 100 person-years and mortality for participants after one year was 9.46 per 100 person-years. This is compared to a mortality rate of 5.01 deaths per 100 persons-years for participants who did not report self neglect. Self neglect is also a marker for increased mortality regardless of cognitive or physical function. The authors of the study suggest that high-functioning elders might be more capable of recognizing elder abuse and seeking help to end such abuse. To read more about the elder study, please click the link.