Skip to Content

Elder Neglect For Family Members And Carers


Elder neglect occurs when someone fails to properly care for an elder. A carer may be a family member or someone who is responsible for caring for the elder. The carer may not bathe, dress, or feed the elder regularly. The carer may leave the elder alone in unsafe places. He may not give the elder treatments or give him the wrong amount of medicines. Neglect can happen in the elder's own home, the carer's home, or a facility, such as a nursing home.


Follow up with the elder's healthcare provider as directed:

Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during the elder's visits.


The elder may need to rest when he feels it is needed. Tell the elder's healthcare providers if he has trouble sleeping.


Elder neglect may cause the elder to feel scared, depressed, or anxious. A healthcare provider may suggest that the elder see a counselor to talk about how he is feeling.


A dietitian may talk to you, the elder, his family members, or carer about feeding and nutrition. A special diet may be considered depending on the elder's condition. The elder should eat a variety of healthy foods. This includes whole-grain bread, cereal, rice, and pasta. Choose a variety of fruits and vegetables, including dark green and orange vegetables. Include dairy products such as low-fat milk, yogurt, and cheese. Choose protein sources, such as lean beef and chicken, fish, beans, eggs, and nuts.

Skin care:

The elder may need to sleep on a special mattress called an egg crate or air mattress. He will need to be turned often if he cannot move himself. This will keep him from getting pressure sores.

Care of injuries or wounds:

Ask the elder's healthcare provider for information about how to take care of injuries.

How to help the elder:

  • Report neglect: It may be hard to report neglect, but it is very important. Healthcare providers can help the elder if he is at risk for or is a victim of elder neglect.
  • Attend follow-up visits with the elder: A healthcare provider may talk to you, the elder, his family, friends, or those who should be held responsible for elder neglect. This may include what may happen if elder neglect does not stop.

For more information:

  • National Center on Elder Abuse
    101 The City Drive South 200 Building
    Orange , CA 92868
    Phone: 1- 855 - 500-3537
    Web Address:

Contact the elder's healthcare provider if:

  • The elder cannot get to his next visit.
  • The elder has new signs and symptoms.
  • You or the elder has questions or concerns about his condition or care.

Seek care immediately or call 911 if:

  • The elder develops pressure sores.
  • The elder feels like hurting himself or someone else.
  • The elder feels that he cannot cope with the abuse, or his recovery from it.
  • The elder has shortness of breath, chest pain, or a fast heartbeat.

© 2017 Truven Health Analytics Inc. Information is for End User's use only and may not be sold, redistributed or otherwise used for commercial purposes. All illustrations and images included in CareNotes® are the copyrighted property of A.D.A.M., Inc. or Truven Health Analytics.

The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.