Objectives. We sought to identify the functional, cognitive, and social factors associated with self-neglect among the elderly to aid the development of etiologic models to guide future research. Methods. A cross-sectional chart review was conducted at Baylor College of Medicine Geriatrics Clinic in Houston, Tex. Patients were assessed using standardized comprehensive geriatric assessment tools. Results. Data analysis was performed using the charts of 538 patients; the average patient age was 75.6 years, and 70% were women. Further analysis in 460 persons aged 65 years and older showed that 50% had abnormal Mini Mental State Examination scores, 15% had abnormal Geriatric Depression Scale scores, 76.3% had abnormal physical performance test scores, and 95% had moderate-to-poor social support per the Duke Social Support Index. Patients had a range of illnesses; 46.4% were taking no medications. Conclusions. A model of self-neglect was developed wherein executive dyscontrol leads to functional impairment in the setting of inadequate medical and social support. Future studies should aim to provide empirical evidence that validates this model as a framework for self-neglect. If validated, this model will impart a better understanding of the pathways to self-neglect and provide clinicians and public service workers with more effective prevention and intervention strategies.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health