Vitamin D deficiency associated with self-neglect in the elderly

J Elder Abuse Negl. 2006;18(4):63-78. doi: 10.1300/j084v18n04_07.


Background: Vitamin D deficiency is common in elders. However, little is known about the implications of vitamin D deficiency in elder self-neglect.

Specific aims: To characterize a group of self-neglecting elders with vitamin D deficiency based on clinical, cognitive, and functional status. Participants. Forty-four self-neglecting elders referred by the Adult Protective Services.

Methods: Vitamin D status of the self-neglecting elders was based upon serum levels of 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25-OHD). Demographics, cognitive, and functional characteristics of vitamin D deficient self-neglecting elders were described and compared to those without vitamin D deficiency.

Results: Vitamin D deficiency (25-OHD < 25 nmol/L) was detected in 16 out of 44 self-neglecting elders (36%). Self-neglecting elders with vitamin D deficiency had lower scores in the Physical Performance Test and higher scores in the Kohlman Evaluation of Living Skills, compared with those who were not vitamin D deficient (p = 0.014 and p = 0.018 respectively).

Conclusions: Vitamin D deficiency is common in elder self-neglect. Self-neglecting elders with vitamin D deficiency have impaired physical performance and inadequate living skills, which can be potentially improved by treating vitamin D deficiency.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Biomarkers / blood
  • Cognition / physiology
  • Elder Abuse / psychology*
  • Female
  • Geriatric Assessment / methods*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Motor Activity
  • Pilot Projects
  • Prevalence
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • United States / epidemiology
  • Vitamin D / analogs & derivatives
  • Vitamin D / blood
  • Vitamin D Deficiency / blood
  • Vitamin D Deficiency / epidemiology
  • Vitamin D Deficiency / etiology*


  • Biomarkers
  • Vitamin D
  • 25-hydroxyvitamin D