Safeguarding Adults Week 2022
As part of #SafeguardingAdultsWeek, Ann Craft Trust are encouraging individuals and organisations to learn more about self-neglect. Do you know how to spot the signs and respond? Self-neglect is when a person is unable to care for their own personal health, hygiene or surroundings and can involve a refusal to seek medical assistance.
In this blog, one of our advocates shares her story of noticing one of her neighbours was experiencing self-neglect and the action she took to help him. Safeguarding is everyone’s business, both at work and in our personal lives, so it’s important we know what to do if we become aware of a potential safeguarding issue:
“I was going out one day when I noticed an elderly man had fallen over at the end of my street. He was unsteady on his feet so I offered to help him into his house to make sure he was ok – I helped him open his door and noticed when I took him in that the house was very dirty and untidy. I chatted to him while he calmed down after his fall and checked if he needed any medical attention. I asked if he received any support from carers or anybody else and he told me due to Covid anxieties he’d stopped people coming into the house.
“He called me later to thank me for my help – he’d been on my mind because I could see from the condition of his home that he was at risk of self-neglect so I took the opportunity to have a chat with him and suggested that we contact our local council to ask for some help to manage his home and his personal care. He agreed so I made contact on his behalf with his permission and helped him to make arrangements with Adult Social Care to get some extra support.
“It can feel uncomfortable or awkward talking to people about how they look after their home or their personal care but by doing it sensitively and with kindness I was able to get my neighbour the help he needed.
“Sometimes, people don’t want to hear what you have to say but in those cases it’s still important to make a safeguarding referral to your local council – sometimes people aren’t in a position to help themselves so it’s our duty to pass the information on.”
More information and what to do if you have concerns
In an emergency or if someone is immediately at risk, you should always call the police.
Otherwise, information is available on the local council website which will usually include a number to call and/or a form to complete and submit. In our area, please see:
You could also talk to a social worker or someone you trust to make the referral or ask them to contact the relevant Safeguarding Board on your behalf. The important thing is to make someone aware - don't keep your concerns to yourself.
For more information about self-neglect and how to spot the signs, see this factsheet from Ann Craft Trust: