Ever met an older individual who doesn’t seem to be managing well? By this I mean that they seem to be neglecting simple daily tasks like bathing, eating good meals, keeping their house. And when the subject is brought up, there is a great deal of anger and denial and usually the words “I can do everything by myself, why don’t you just leave me alone.” It’s usually these situations I find most difficult and heartbreaking for two reasons. The individual clearly needs help but in some cases is unwilling to acknowledge that a little help could make life easier. Those that accept help usually improve and do well and admit that having someone around to help is good. The second reason is that the family, if family exists, feels helpless or has reached their limit in dealing with the individual. According to various studies on aging, mental illness and elder abuse, vulnerable persons who neglect themselves usually have a number of medical and psychiatric problems. This relates to persons of all ages, however my experience show that dementia and depression are significant factors with an older adult not providing good self care.

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