Putting a loved one in a nursing home is a major decision, and one that we all take very seriously. A major fear we all share when choosing a long term care facility for an aging loved one is the fear that they will be mistreated in some way. This fear is not without foundation, especially if your aging loved one suffers from dementia.
Unfortunately, our most fragile loved ones are neglected and abused in nursing homes at much higher levels than the general population. There are several different types of nursing home abuse, including physical, emotional, sexual, and financial. It is more difficult for people with dementia to report cases of abuse, so we have put together a list of warning signs that might indicate your loved one who is suffering from dementia is being abused by their caregiver(s).
Statistics on the Abuse of People Suffering From Dementia
The many types of elder abuse include physical abuse, sexual abuse, emotional and psychological abuse, neglect and financial exploitation. It is estimated that between two and five million elderly Americans suffer from elder abuse every year.
In a 2010 U.S. study, abuse and neglect of people with dementia was detected in 47.3% of the surveyed caregivers. That is almost 50% of all the people suffering from dementia. Given the fact that by the year 2030, it is projected that 7.7 million Americans will be suffering from Alzheimer’s disease, this already serious issue is poised to become a major public health crisis over the next fifteen years.
Red Flags That May Indicate Your Loved One with Dementia is Being Abused
Most cases of nursing home abuse are accompanied by many warning signs, which should never be ignored.
- Verbal Reporting
The biggest red flag of abuse is when our loved one tells us about it. Often such claims are not treated seriously, especially when our loved one is suffering from dementia or other memory-altering conditions, so many cases of abuse are never investigated. Never discount the report of a loved one who tells you they are being mistreated in some way or by someone at their nursing home. If your loved one complains about abuse, no matter what their mental state, it is worth further investigation.
A second warning sign of nursing home abuse is if your loved one becomes agitated in the presence of certain staff members. It is often the case that there is just one “bad apple” in a nursing home, but that person has scared your loved one into not reporting anything against them. If you notice signs of agitation around specific staff members, this is a red flag that deserves further investigation.
A third warning sign that your loved one with dementia may be the victim of nursing home abuse is when there is interference in your relationship with your loved one. Sometimes, when there is someone abusing your loved one at a nursing home, that person or those people will actually interfere with your ability to visit with your loved one, or when you do visit, they do not allow you to be alone with your loved one. There will usually be noticeable agitation with your loved one triggered by whomever is interfering, and if you see signs of interference in your relationship, it warrants further investigation.
We Can Help You
If you are concerned that your elderly loved one who is suffering from dementia may be being abused, call the David Aylor Law Offices in Charleston today. We know what the warning signs are, and how to investigate them further. Contact us for a free consultation today.