Houston Fights Critical Battle on Elderly Self-Neglect

Self-neglect among the elderly is common. Older adults and even baby boomers, may isolate in homes that they've occupied for decades. It's hard to move on when you don't know what's around the bend.

Chron.com recently profiled self-neglect in Houston, Texas, and described the Adult Protective Services (APS), an agency that helps out seniors.

In the Houston area, more than 60 percent of 1,500 cases handled each month by the APS deal with elderly people who no longer can protect and provide for themselves, agency officials said.

Self-neglect can be physical, medical or both. Common neglect problems in Houston, Texas, are:

  • Elderly people can't cook
  •  They can't clean house or bathe themselves
  •  Some don't eat properly
  • Some lack running water or air-conditioning
  • Their houses might be filthy and in disrepair
  • They have inadequate access to medical care
  • Some stop taking medication
  • They no longer see their doctors

Houston has built a multidisciplinary approach, shared among the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston and Baylor College of Medicine.

Caseworkers in Houston agree that the problem knows no socioeconomic backgrounds, but surfaces more often among the poor.

Decluttering is a service offered by the Texas Adult Protective Services. Crews will clean houses and cart away many hoarded belongings, according to Chron.com.