No, It’s Not Self-Neglect. It’s Social Neglect.

I found this article disturbing:

Elder Abuse: Sometimes It’s Self-Inflicted, New York Times, 2 March 2018

No, it’s not self-neglect. It’s social neglect. This commenter summed it up:

“Let’s face the real issue: we don’t have the social safety net that most other civilized countries provides to its people. We are often a cruel society. And when confronted with the evidence, we blame the victim to clear our conscience and check the phone for messages.”

Even though most of this article placed the onus for neglect on the individual, that is, individuals are at fault for abusing themselves (?!), it also said:

Neglect was more common among those with poor health and cognitive impairment. African-Americans and those with lower income and education had far higher rates of self-neglect.

The problem is caused by a society that does not provide affordable, quality healthcare, housing, and education – in an equitable fashion – that does not ensure a living wage, parental and eldercare leave, unemployment insurance, and a livable social security. It’s so easy to blame the individual. It’s harder to blame the institutions we put into place (or don’t) to prevent this from happening. You have to care.

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