These days, Americans are living longer, healthier lives than ever before. Because the average life expectancy continues to get older with each generation, we are dealing with more age-related issues than previous generations did, one of which is dementia.
According to the Alzheimer’s Association, Alzheimer’s disease is the most common type of dementia, which mostly affects people age 65 and older, but it can affect people in their 40s and 50s.
In the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease, the forgetfulness and confusion may be mild, and hardly noticeable. But this is a progressive disease; as it advances the memory loss becomes severe.
The individual may not recognize their children or grandchildren, or even their spouse. They get confused about where they are, where their home is located, and how much time has elapsed. They can even have difficulty speaking and walking.
Dementia Makes Seniors Vulnerable to Abuse
The Alzheimer’s Association confirmed what many nursing home abuse attorneys already suspected – that dementia makes older people vulnerable to abuse. They can be prime targets of unscrupulous people who take advantage of them because of their cognitive impairment.
According to the Alzheimer’s Association, “People with dementia are especially vulnerable because the disease may prevent them from reporting the abuse or recognizing it.” We have learned that often, it’s the person’s caregiver who neglects or abuses them.
Unfortunately, when the nursing home resident complains of the abuse, people sometimes don’t believe them because they think it’s the dementia talking. Essentially, family members must remain vigilant; they have to be their loved one’s voice when they cannot speak up for themselves.
Types of abuse and neglect:
- Neglect (e.g. malnutrition and dehydration)
- Physical abuse
- Sexual abuse (nonconsensual sexual contact or activity)
- Emotional abuse
- Financial exploitation
- Willfully depriving the person of medical care, assistance, medication, food, shelter, etc.
If you suspect that your loved one is being neglected or abused by their caregivers, we urge you to contact the Law Offices of Craig Goldenfarb, P.A. to speak with a West Palm Beach personal injury attorney about what can be done to help.