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Spotting the signs of self-neglect

Self-neglect is when someone does not look after themselves properly.

It can affect anyone, regardless of their background, gender, ability or age.

There are three recognised forms of self-neglect:

  • Lack of self-care may involve someone neglecting their personal hygiene, or not eating or drinking enough. Signs include people looking hungry or losing weight; having poor personal hygiene, such as soiled clothes or dirty nails and skin; not taking their medication or attending medical appointments; or not taking an interest in themselves or life in general.
  • Lack of caring for their environment may result in unpleasant or dirty conditions in the home.  Signs include rubbish piling up, or a very unclean environment, leading to animal and insect infestations; items being hoarded (i.e. nothing is thrown away); lack of basic essentials in the home like food, heating or water; or the home is unsafe as a result of disrepair or lack of maintenance.
  • The third form of self-neglect is refusing services that could help them overcome the above issues.

What to do if you’re worried

Working with partner agencies, Rochdale Adult Care, part of Rochdale Borough Council, are on hand to support people at risk of self-neglect.  And the earlier people get help the better! 

You can contact Rochdale Adult Care on 0300 303 8886 or email adult.care@rochdale.gov.uk.

Adult Care professionals are highly experienced, compassionate and will take all concerns seriously.  They will talk to the person at risk to find out what they want to happen and will work with them, together with other services, to agree a plan of action that best meets their needs and wishes.

If you feel an adult is in immediate danger you should contact the police on 999.

Self neglect leaflet cover image

Some of the signs of self-neglect:

recognise the signs of self neglect about the person    recognise the signs of self neglect in the home

recognise the signs of self neglect in the home    recognise the signs of self neglect about the person

Further public:

Self-neglect leaflet

Further information on self-neglect and public resources are available on our Safeguarding Adults Week 2022 webpage

Self-neglect easy read leaflet

Safeguarding is everyone’s business – how to report concerns

What to do about self-neglect?

Video resources on self-neglect, safeguarding and the role of the safeguarding adults board are available on our YouTube channel.

For professionals:

Self-Neglect and Hoarding Policy

Self Neglect Protocol

Self-Neglect Practitioner Toolkit

Clutter Image Rating Tool

Guidance questions which could be used during an assessment

Hoarding safety tips - Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service

Seven minute briefing in self-neglect

The Social Care Institute for Excellence (SCIE) have published a general briefing on self-neglect , a manager's briefing and a practitioner's briefing.

Self-neglect posters

Index of all pages: