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Lack of Social Engagement Becomes a Risk Factor for Older Adults

A study by Rush University Medical Center found that seniors who neglect themselves tend to be individuals with limited social networks and little social engagement. The study is the largest epidemiological study to date examining a wide range of sociodemographic, health-related and psychosocial characteristics associated with elder self-neglect. This is extremely important because reports of self-neglect to social service agencies are rising. Elder self-neglect is defined by the National Centers on Elder Abuse as “the behavior of an elderly person that threatens his/her own health and safety.” Twice as many women as men and more than seven times the number of African Americans as whites were reported for self-neglect. Professionals who work with the elderly need to be mindful not just of their patients’ health profile, but also of their social well-being, a factor that may put them at risk of self-neglect. To learn how to detect self-neglect, please click the link.