Self-neglect in older adults is an increasingly prevalent, poorly understood problem, crossing both the medical and social arenas, with public health implications. Although lacking a standardized definition, self-neglect is characterized by profound inattention to health and hygiene. In light of the aging demographic, physicians of all specialties will increasingly encounter self-neglectors. We outline here practical strategies for the clinician, and suggestions for the researcher. Clinical evaluation should include attention to medical history, cognition, function, social networks, psychiatric screen and environment. The individual’s capacity is often questioned, and interventions are case-based. More research is needed in basic epidemiology and risk factors of the problem, so that targeted interventions may be designed and tested. The debate of whether self-neglect is a medical versus societal problem remains unresolved, yet as health sequelae are part of the syndrome, physicians should be part of the solution.