Self-neglect is an extreme lack of self-care. It is sometimes associated with hoarding and may be a result of other issues such as bereavement, loss or addiction. Self-neglect can be caused by mental or physical illness that has an effect on the person’s physical abilities, energy levels, attention, organisational skills, or motivation.
Recognising signs of self-neglect
Sign of self-neglect can include:
- living in very unclean or unsanitary conditions
- looking dishevelled or wearing inappropriate clothes for the weather
- the presence of vermin, flies or unpleasant smells in or around the home
- property in a poor state of repair or with waste accumulating outside
- neglecting household maintenance, and creating hazards within the home or to a neighbouring property
- poor diet and nutrition
- declining or refusing prescribed medication or other community healthcare support
- refusing to allow access to health or social care professionals in relation to personal hygiene and care
- refusing to allow access to other organisations with an interest in the property
- repeated episodes of anti-social behaviour – either as a victim or source of risk
- being unwilling to attend external appointments with professionals in social care, health or other organisations (such as Housing)
- lack of personal hygiene resulting in poor healing or sores, long toenails, unkempt hair, uncared for facial hair, body odour, unclean clothing
- isolation either of an individual or of a household or family unit
- repeated referrals to Environmental Health
Hoarding disorder is where someone acquires an excessive number of items and stores them in a chaotic manner, usually resulting in unmanageable amounts of clutter. The items can be of little or no monetary value.
Recognising signs of hoarding
Signs of hoarding can include:
- keeping or collecting items that may have little or no monetary value, such as junk mail and carrier bags, or items they intend to reuse or repair
- finding it hard to categorise or organise items
- having difficulties making decisions
- struggling to manage everyday tasks, such as cooking, cleaning and paying bills
- becoming extremely attached to items, refusing to let anyone touch or borrow them
- having poor relationships with family or friends
- a lack of personal or professional visitors to the home
- refusal to open the door fully to callers or to accept deliveries
- visible clutter in the home
- window blinds or curtains continually drawn
- a build-up of waste or other items in the garden or failing to take their bins out for collection
- very regular deliveries to the home
A diagnosis of Hoarding Disorder can only be made by a specialist medical practitioner.
Our Housing team can support anyone displaying hoarding behaviours regardless of the property tenure or location where the behaviour is impacting negatively on the person’s health and wellbeing, living conditions or affecting a neighbouring home.
- Hoarding UK - support for hoarders and local support groups
- Cloud’s End CIC - resources to help hoarders
- Help for Hoarders - support and advice for hoarders and their families.
- NHS hoarding support
- OCD UK - Information on Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder
- RIPFA - Resources to help hoarders and housing associations dealing with hoarding
- The Association of Professional De-Clutterers and Organisers (UK) - support for members of the Professional Organising & Decluttering industry
Report self-neglect and hoarding
If you think you know someone who could be experiencing or living with self-neglect and hoarding or has a build-up of rubbish or household waste at their property contact us online.
You can also contact us by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (01226) 773555. You can report an issue anonymously, or provide us with details so we can put the right support in place.
Berneslai Homes are able to provide support to residents living in Council housing and can offer a range of specialist, tailored ways to help residents successfully maintain their tenancies and enjoy where they live. Find out more about Berneslai homes or contact Berneslai Homes online.
Watch our video on Self Neglect and Hoarding