Senior Self Neglect Increases Risk of One-Year Mortality

It starts with neglecting one’s hygiene, nutrition and medications, and can lead to death within the year. According to data compiled by the Chicago Health and Aging Project (CHAP), an older person’s risk of dying within the year increases six-fold when he or she starts to ignore his or her physical and medical needs.

The CHAP?study took place from 1993-2005 in three Chicago neighborhoods and the 9,318 participants were ages 65 or older. Among that population there were 1,544 reported cases of self-neglect (mean age of 73.2 years old) and in the average follow-up within almost a year, there were 927 deaths (47.8%) in that group.

Elder abuse of any kind also generated a greater mortality rate, with a 61.6% death rate within an average of 2.7 years.

By the self neglect cases, the increased mortality rate wasn’t affected by whether or not the senior’s cognitive or physical functions were impaired. However by confirmed abuse cases there was a significant difference – increased mortality was not associated with elder abuse of high functioning seniors, demonstrating that this group was more likely to recognize abuse and seek help.

21. September 2009 by Ruth Folger Weiss
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