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Self-neglect

If you have concerns about someone who you believe to be at risk of self-neglect please look at the following information.

What is self-neglect?

Social Care Institute for Excellence provide this definition of self-neglect:  

'Self-neglect is the result of an adult’s inability, due to physical and/or mental impairments or diminished capacity, to perform essential self-care tasks including providing essential food, clothing, shelter and medical care; obtaining goods and services necessary to maintain physical health, mental health, emotional well-being and general safety and/or managing financial affairs.'


How do I help someone who is going through self-neglect?

If you have concerns about someone who you believe to be at risk of self-neglect, please contact the Access Team to make a referral. You can do this by using the self help tool or by calling  0300 1234 131.


Types of self-neglect:

  • Lack of self-care to an extent that it threatens personal health and safety
  • Neglecting to care for one’s personal hygiene, health or surroundings
  • Inability to avoid self-harm
  • Failure to seek help or access services to meet health and social care needs
  • Inability or unwillingness to manage one’s personal affairs

Indicators of self-neglect:

  • Very poor personal hygiene
  • Unkempt appearance
  • Lack of essential food, clothing or shelter
  • Malnutrition and/or dehydration
  • Living in squalid or unsanitary conditions
  • Neglecting household maintenance
  • Hoarding
  • Collecting a large number of animals in inappropriate conditions
  • Non-compliance with health or care services
  • Inability or unwillingness to take medication or treat illness or injury


Hoarding disorder:

A hoarding disorder is where someone acquires an excessive number of items and stores them in a chaotic manner. The items can be of little or no monetary value and usually result in unmanageable amounts of clutter.

It's considered to be a significant problem if:

  • the amount of clutter interferes with everyday living – for example, the person is unable to use their kitchen or bathroom and cannot access rooms
  • the clutter is causing significant distress or negatively affecting the person's quality of life or their family's – for example, they become upset if someone tries to clear the clutter and their relationships with others suffer

Help for Hoarders are a charity offering support to those affected by hoarding.

For more information regarding Hoarding, please visit the NHS website.

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