Aims: To explore the unique aspects of the elder self-neglect phenomenon and to achieve phenomenological understanding of self-neglect through the eyes of self-neglecting elders. Method: A qualitative study based on a sample of 16 self-neglecting elders. Data collection was performed through in-depth semi-structured interviews, followed by content analysis. Findings: Four major themes emerged from the older participants: "I was unlucky:" a life course of suffering; "That's the way it is:" self-neglect as a routine of life; "They tell me that I'm disabled:" old age as exposing situations of self-neglect; "My empire:" how do I perceive my old age. Conclusions: Self-neglect is not necessarily an issue of old age, but is related to the person's life history. Self-neglect as a way of life accompanied the participants into old age, but it was not originated or created there. The overall message of the self-neglecting elders was to see them as human beings and not as old neglected people; not to label them as an "age syndrome" but to perceive them in a holistic and humanistic manner.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
The authors would like to thank the Maccabi Institute for Health Services Research , Maccabi Healthcare Services, Israel, for funding this research.
- Elder abuse
- Elder neglect
- Self neglect
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Issues, ethics and legal aspects
- Health Policy