Are you concerned that that someone you know, perhaps a friend or a neighbour, is neglecting themselves?

Signs - how to spot

Perhaps you have noticed some of the following signs of neglect in their home

  • Lack of essentials like food, water or heat
  • Poor living environment such as lack of utilities (gas or electric), sufficient space, and ventilation
  • Animal or insect infestations
  • Signs of medication mismanagement, including empty or unmarked bottles or outdated prescriptions
  • The home is unsafe as a result of disrepair, faulty wiring, inadequate sanitation or poor cleanliness
  • Hoarding of items or animals

Or have you spotted any of the following physical indicators

  • Poor personal hygiene including soiled clothing, dirty nails and skin, matted or lice infested hair, odours, and the presence of faeces or urine
  • Unsuitably dressed
  • Bedsores/pressure ulcers
  • Skin rashes
  • Lack of the necessary medical aids (e.g. eyeglasses, hearing aids, dentures, walking frame)
  • Signs of dehydration - not going to the toilet, dry fragile skin, dry sore mouth, apathy, lack of energy, and mental confusion
  • Untreated medical conditions including infections, soiled bandages, unattended fractures and untreated cough

Self-neglect can happen to anyone, but the elderly and those with physical or mental health problems may be more likely to self-neglect, and suffer serious consequences as a result.

Remember, you should always report any concerns straight away. If adult social care is notified early enough, it might be possible to prevent harm and further self-neglect.

If you make a report, someone will talk to you about this as soon as possible. If there is immediate danger, they will aim to visit you, or the person you are concerned about straight away. If there is a significant risk of harm, they will aim to visit within 24 hours. For other reports of abuse, they will normally visit within five working days.

Adult social care will:

•    talk to the person at risk to and out what they want to happen
•    support the person to have an advocate (someone to represent them) if they need one
•    respond professionally and sensitively and take your concerns seriously
•    talk to the police if a crime may have been committed
•    talk to other agencies that need to be involved
•    agree the best way of helping, including other types of support
•    work with the person to help keep them safe
•    make a plan to look into the concerns

If the person refuses help, but others may be at risk, adult social care will take appropriate action.

Download the BSAB self-neglect leaflet here

Self-neglect leaflet thumbnail

Self Neglect & Hoarding

The multi-agency Self Neglect and Hoarding Panel (SNaHP) manages complex risks to individuals in cases where the single agency approach has not resolved the risks to the person concerned. These are usually held on a monthly basis at the Civic Centre, Stockwell Place, Bromley BR1 3UH.

You can visit the professionals page on the Self-Neglect & Hoarding Panel here for more information on how to make a referral to this multi-agency group.