As parents and loved ones age, it can become increasingly difficult for family members to provide the necessary care for them. This is especially true when a family member or loved one suffers from Alzheimer’s or any advanced form of dementia.
When caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s disease becomes too difficult, many families place their loved ones in nursing homes or assisted living centers. As one Pennsylvania family discovered, the sheer number of nursing home facilities makes finding the right facility for your loved one a challenge. A nursing home that has inadequate supervision or too few staff to handle the workload can create stressful conditions that expose your loved one to abuse or neglect.
Alzheimer’s and Dementia Facts and Figures
Alzheimer’s and dementia affect a large number of Americans. Yet, many people do not understand the prevalence of the disease. November is National Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month and a time to be mindful of the huge responsibility that family caregivers take on in caring for loved one’s with Alzheimer’s.
Statistics According to the Alzheimer’s Association:
- Alzheimer’s is the sixth leading cause of death in the U.S. and cannot be prevented, cured, or slowed
- One in three senior citizens dies with some form of dementia (including Alzheimer’s)
- It is estimated that, in 2015, 5.3 million Americans have Alzheimer’s disease.
- There are an estimated 15 million Americans who are caregivers of people with Alzheimer’s and dementia.
Signs and symptoms of Alzheimer’s include:
- Memory loss that results in a disruption to the person’s daily life
- Difficulty completing work- or home-related tasks
- Being confused about time or place
- Poor judgment
- Changes in the person’s mood and/or personality.
Preventing Abuse to Alzheimer’s Patients in Nursing Homes
When your loved one suffers from Alzheimer’s or dementia and is placed in a nursing home or assisted living facility, it is important to remain alert for signs that your loved one is being abused or neglected. According to the National Center on Elder Abuse, people with dementia symptoms are at a greater risk of suffering abuse:
- A 2009 study found nearly half of all people with dementia symptoms experienced some form of abuse;
- Another study, released in 2010, found that 47% of patients with dementia symptoms had been mistreated by those responsible for providing care for the patient.
You can help prevent abuse from occurring in the first place by visiting the nursing home or care facility and asking lots of questions before relocating your loved one to the facility. Fox example, does the nursing home have a special unit for Alzheimer’s patients to prevent them from wandering off campus? Try to visit the facility at different times of the day to get a better picture of how it operates and staffing levels. Speak with families who have loved ones at the facility and obtain their opinion of the facility.
If your loved one is at a elder care facility, be on the lookout for these signs of abuse or neglect:
- Your loved one reports being abused or neglected or wants to leave the facility;
- Strange or unexplained marks or bruises appear, or you notice a sudden decrease in the health of your loved one;
- You are unable to visit or speak with your loved one;
- Staff members follow you refuse to allow you to visit with your loved one in private.
If you notice one or more signs, do not delay. Investigate further and report your concerns right away.
Contact an Elder Abuse Attorney for Help
If your loved one is a resident at a nursing home or assisted living facility in Pennsylvania or New Jersey and you suspect he or she has been abused or neglected by staff, do not delay in contacting a Philadelphia nursing home abuse lawyer for help. Contact the Colleran Law Firm, your Philadelphia nursing home abuse attorneys, at (866) 591-1802 today. You may be able to recover compensation on behalf of your loved one for his or her injuries and the additional expenses incurred as a result of the abuse or neglect.