What Is Alzheimer’s Abuse?
Alzheimer’s abuse is very similar to other forms of nursing home abuse, with the only difference being that it targets Alzheimer’s patients. All forms of nursing home abuse are devastating but Alzheimer’s abuse is even more common because residents suffering from dementia cannot report it. Sometimes, these patients do not even understand the abuse is occurring. If you have a loved one that suffers from Alzheimer’s and that is in a nursing home, it is important to know what types of abuse occur, and how to try and prevent it from happening.
What is Alzheimer’s Disease?
Alzheimer’s disease is a type of dementia that occurs in individuals aged 65 or older. Alzheimer’s disease impairs a person’s cognitive function and that causes problems with daily activities, communicating, and even maintaining meaningful relationships. It is often troubling and confusing to Alzheimer’s patients who cannot remember certain things. Left untreated, Alzheimer’s can lead to anxiety, severe depression, wandering, aggression, and even death.
Types of Alzheimer’s Abuse
Of all the seven forms of nursing home abuse that can occur, there are four that are most common. These are as follows:
- Physical abuse: Physical abuse is one of the most common forms of Alzheimer’s abuse and may include kicking, shoving, slapping, pinching, or using physical or chemical restraints.
- Financial abuse: Perpetrators of financial Alzheimer’s abuse are usually family members. They may abuse their power of attorney, or use bank accounts they have access to for their own personal use instead of for the elder’s needs.
- Sexual abuse: Sadly, sexual abuse is a very common form of Alzheimer’s abuse. Nursing home staff members know that patients cannot report it and so, they are more likely to become a victim of it.
- Negligence: Alzheimer’s patients often cannot voice their needs and without regularly asking for basic needs, such as food or water, staff members may forget to provide them. This is no excuse for negligence, or for how often it occurs.
How to Prevent Alzheimer’s Abuse
For some families, preventing Alzheimer’s abuse may seem impossible, particularly because victims often cannot speak up for themselves. Fortunately, it is possible. The best way to prevent this type of abuse is to regularly visit your loved one in the facility and to look for the common signs of abuse. These may include unexplained cuts and bruises, strange activity on their financial accounts, or chapped lips and dry skin that may indicate dehydration. Changes in your loved one’s mood and behavior may also indicate abuse is occurring.
If at any time you suspect abuse is happening, it is important to speak to the staff members at the facility. There may be a good explanation for what you have noticed. If the staff members are uncooperative, you then need to report the abuse and potentially remove your loved one from the facility. Once your loved one is safe, you should then speak to a lawyer about holding the nursing home liable.
Call Our Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer in Tampa Today
Alzheimer’s abuse is devastating for families, but our Tampa nursing home abuse lawyer at Kohn Law can help you make it right. Call us today at 813-428-8504 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation.