Self-Concept in The Elderly

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The numerous social changes, life events, and functional declines that are related to the expected aging process all affect the self-concept in the elderly. These changes come along with bodily and functional declines which when combined with a disrupted self-concept, leads to self-neglect. It, therefore, adversely affect the elderly’s health. Self- neglect has been mainly defined as a lack of regard for personal hygiene, social isolation, and a refusal of crucial support and service. The self-neglect severity scale is essential to assist with the assessment of the degree of vulnerability of the elderly’s self-neglect. It is used by the Adult Protective Services (APS) for self-neglect screening. Self-care risks in old patients include an unwillingness to participate in health maintenance routines, loss of social engagement, and a lack of interest in self-maintenance and the maintenance of one’s living environment. They also exhibit a tolerance of emotionally abusive relationships which may result in clinical depression. There is, therefore, a need for both mental and physical health care, although a combination of both is highly encouraged (Rathbone-McCuan, 2014).

If the lack of self-care in the elderly is not addressed, it leads to functional breakdown and ultimately, the lack of positive lifestyle behaviors which maximize the well-being. The assessment of elderly patients with self-concept issues requires an exploration of key dimensions including the sense of self and will, and the awareness of capacity, existing environmental supports, and awareness of supplemental assistance. Geriatric nurses strive to improve the patient’s self-care through patient self-care activities and medication management, also through cardiovascular therapy and monitoring of diabetes regimes. These nurses’ practices, combined with the mental health practitioner improvement of the elderly self-efficacy ensure the restoration of the elderly self-concept hence self-care.


Rathbone-McCuan, E. (2014). An Improved Approach to Treating Elder Self-Neglect: The Self-Care Framework. Generations38(3), 80-85.


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