Neglect is a failure by a caregiver to provide the senior with basic needs, comforts, services or assistance. These include food, shelter, medical care, personal hygiene products, heat or air conditioning.

Such neglect is a crime and should be reported to the police or the Los Angeles County Elder Abuse Hotline at (877) 4-R-SENIORS ((877) 477-3646).

Adult children, especially those with histories of mental illness, substance abuse or criminal activity, may be inclined to neglect their elder parents. It is prudent to avoid placing a senior’s care in the hands of an adult child with these types of problems.

Warning Signs

  • The senior seems to be isolated by a caretaker and unable to speak freely or spend time with others.

  • The senior appears unwashed, unkempt, poorly groomed or wears soiled, ill-fitting or inappropriate clothing.

  • The senior appears to be dehydrated or malnourished.

  • There is an unusual or sudden weight loss.

  • The person does not have necessities, including medications, eyeglasses, dentures, prostheses, hearing aids, canes, walkers or other critical items.


  • Visit the senior unexpectedly to see the quality of their care when the caregiver is not expecting a guest.

  • If hiring an unlicensed caretaker to provide home care, ask for multiple references and check them carefully.

  • Before placing a senior in a nursing home or care facility or hiring a licensed professional to provide home care, visit our Safe Senior Care Resources page.

Another form of neglect is self-neglect. Self-neglect is the inability of an elder who does not have a caretaker to provide for themselves. Self-neglect is not a crime. Help may be sought through the Elder Abuse Hotline at (877) 4-R-SENIORS ((877) 477-3646).