Aging Well Spotlights Elder Self Neglect Signs and Symptoms

Self neglect signs and symptoms– and strategies for providing help– were the primary topics on the most recent episode of Aging Well.

The discussion was led by Community Social Worker Lisa Waxman and Protective Services Social Worker Norah Al-Wetaid, who outlined common warning signs.

“In it’s most basic definition, it’s a failure to meet the most basic needs, such as food, clothing, shelter, medical care, and sometimes personal care,” said Al-Wetaid, who added the primary goal of Protective Services is working with older adults to reduce risk factors.

Aging Well is a monthly production of Somerville-Cambridge Elder Services (SCES). While SCES offers programs that can help with self-neglect, Waxman advised that people are often reluctant to accept help, indicating that’s often something of a process.

“You need to approach the situation from the other person’s point of view, and work with them to acknowledge whatever the issue is, even if that takes some time,” said Waxman. “What we often see is behavior that’s turned into self-neglect. They’ve been living a certain way for a very long time but as they age—and maybe their mobility decreases, their eyesight decreases, or there’s some more frailty, a common situation can turn into self-neglect.”

Waxman works with the Connect program at SCES, which combines elements of social work and mental health to connect clients with resources that can help with a variety of issues, such as risk reduction or housing issues.

Waxman is also part of Community Living Options, a Private Pay program at SCES that provides care management and a menu of other services that can mitigate self-neglect concerns.

The full episode includes additional tips on self neglect signs and symptoms, discussion of SCES programs that can help, and more tips for discussing concerns about self neglect.

Aging Well airs on SCATV Channel 3 at the following times:

Sundays at 10am

Mondays at 7:30am

Tuesdays at 1pm.

Episodes are also be available through the SCES Facebook page and the new SCES Youtube channel.