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Neglect is a failure of caregivers to fulfil their responsibility to provide needed care. It can be in three forms: Active, passive and self-neglect. Active neglect refers to the behaviour that is willful where the caregiver intentionally withholds care or necessities. This neglect may be motivated by financial gain or other reasons. Passive neglect refers to a situation in which the caregiver is unable to fulfil his or her caregiving responsibilities, whether caused by illness, ignorance, stress or lack of resources. Self-neglect refers to a situation in which there is no perpetrator and neglect is a result of the person refusing care. The act of omission is when anyone knows that abuse is taking place, but they fail to report it.

Indicators of neglect can be poor personal hygiene, including soiled or dirty clothing; dirty nails, skin, matted or lice-infected hair, odours and the presence of faeces or urine. Other indicators could be pressure sores or skin rashes, wearing inappropriate clothes for the temperature, or no clothing at all. Dehydration, which can be evident by dry skin, low urinary output, dry sore mouth, apathy, lack of energy, and mental confusion. Untreated medical or mental conditions. The absence of needed dentures, eyeglasses, hearing aids, walkers, wheelchairs, braces, or commodes. Chronic illnesses getting worse despite a care plan, and also worsening dementia.

Behavioural indicators observed in the caregiver include expressing anger, frustration, or exhaustion. No contact with the outside world, friends, or relatives. They may also show obvious lacks of caregiving skills, be unreasonably critical, dissatisfied with social or healthcare providers. They may also change their providers frequently. They may refuse to apply for economic aid or resist outside help. Behavioural indicators observed in the victim include emotional distress, crying, depression, despair, nightmares and difficulty sleeping, loss of appetite that is unrelated to a medical condition. They may be confused or disorientated, possibly as a result of malnutrition. They may appear emotionally numb, withdrawn, detached, exhibit destructive behaviour. They may also exhibit fear towards the caregiver. Finally, they may also express unrealistic expectations about their care. They may claim that their care is adequate when it's clearly not, or they will insist that the situation will improve.