Alzheimer’s disease is a very emotionally painful process for the patient to go through, as well as all their family and friends. Alzheimer’s is a progressive disease that destroys memory and causes confusion and harm to other mental functions. There is currently no cure, but there are treatments like medications and management strategies that can help improve symptoms.
Many Alzheimer’s patients will end up in assisted living centers, where they can receive round-the-clock care from medical professionals who will oversee their treatment when family can’t be there. Unfortunately, when patients are living away from friends and family who care about them, this can expose them to potential abuse from caregivers.
Elder abuse is a more widespread problem than you may think, and those suffering from Alzheimer’s can be especially susceptible to abuse as they may be unable to report it to a loved one.
Have a suspicion that something isn’t quite right at your loved one’s nursing home? Here are some signs that someone who has Alzheimer’s is being abused.
Different Types of Alzheimer’s Abuse
There are several different types of Alzheimer’s abuse according to the Alzheimer’s Association, including physical, emotional, neglect, confinement, financial, sexual, and willful deprivation (denying someone medication, care, food, shelter, or physical assistance and exposing the patient to physical, mental, or emotional harm).
Signs of Alzheimer’s Abuse
One of the biggest difficulties in elder abuse, particularly in cases of Alzheimer’s abuse, is that your loved one may not tell you about the abuse that’s happening due to their condition or from intimidation tactics. Here are a few signs that there may be a problem with their care:
- Bruises, broken bones, abrasions, burns, or other signs that there has been physical abuse
- Withdrawal from normal activities, a change in alertness, or unexpected depression
- Bruises around breasts or genital area may be an indicator of sexual abuse
- Bedsores, poor hygiene, extreme weight loss, or medical needs that are unattended to may be signs of neglect
- Arguments between the caregiver and patient
What to Do If You Suspect Abuse
If you suspect that your loved one is being abused by a caregiver, the first thing you should do is remove them from that person’s care as soon as possible. Then, you should report the abuse to the Alzheimer’s Association at 1-800-272-3900 or the Eldercare Locator at 1-800-677-1116. Once you give either one of these hotlines a call, you’ll be connected to your state or local adult protective services. The onus is not on you to prove the abuse occurred and will be revealed during an investigation.
Lastly, you should contact an attorney who can help you figure out your legal rights and represent you in court. If your loved one has been a victim of Alzheimer’s abuse in the state of Georgia, contact the Fry Law team at (404) 948-3571 to set up a consultation immediately.