Zelfverwaarlozing bij ouderen, een complex probleem

Klinische les
Fransje E. Reesink, Leo Boelaarts en Henry C. Weinstein

Self-neglect in older adults - a complex problem

A 76-year-old man presented at the emergency department with functional decline and extreme self-neglect. He died after a few days. The probable cause of death was pneumonia. His family consented to autopsy. Surprisingly, the neuropathological findings showed a tauopathy consistent with fronto-temporal dementia. Self-neglect in the elderly is a common and complex problem associated with high mortality and morbidity. This syndrome requires a thorough workup to detect possible causes. The most common etiologies are neurodegenerative disorders, psychiatric illness and alcohol abuse. It is important to elucidate the cause of self-neglect in order to give the proper treatment and support to the patient and family.