Dementia Risk Factors And Prevention
Some things can increase your risk of getting dementia, including your age, genes and lifestyle. There are also ways you can reduce your risk.
Abuse Of Seniors With Dementia Or Alzheimers By Memory Care Workers
Its estimated that two-thirds of nursing home residents in the US have Alzheimers disease or other cognitive diseases such as dementia, with many nursing homes specializing in offering further care for residents with cognitive impairments. Unfortunately, even with specialized homes being widely available, residents with dementia or Alzheimers are at greater risk of abuse or neglect in homes because they cannot speak up and make decisions for themselves.
If your loved one has Alzheimers and lives in a nursing home, its important to understand the potential risk of abuse, how to recognize the signs, and when its time to speak up for them.
The injury attorneys at Thompson Law Firm in Phoenix have significant experience in helping clients who have experienced nursing home abuse, including abuse of patients with Alzheimers or dementia. Our offices are conveniently located in Chandler, Peoria, and North Phoenix, and we can meet in-person or or video call. You can contact us for a free consultation, or read on to find out more.
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Common Signs Of Nursing Home Abuse
Nursing home residents with dementia are more vulnerable to nursing home abuse because they often forget about the incidents or cannot communicate what happened. Be on the lookout for the following warning signs which may indicate your loved one is being abused:
- Financial problems – If your family member has suspicious credit card purchases, unpaid bills, or unexplained withdrawals from bank accounts, he or she may have been financially exploited by a staff member.
- Physical injuries – If you notice unexplained injuries, such as cuts, bruises, or broken bones, they may be a victim of physical abuse.
- Emotional distress – If your loved one seems irritable, depressed, or withdrawn, he or she may have experienced verbal abuse, intimidation, or threats from a staff member. If you are not allowed to see your family member in private, it may indicate emotional abuse.
- Poor hygiene – If your family members hygiene has significantly declined, he or she may be the victim of neglect. Unwashed hair, body odor, overgrown nails, and dirty skin all indicate that your loved ones personal hygiene needs are not being met.
If your loved one has contracted a sexually transmitted disease, it is a huge red flag that sexual abuse has occurred in the nursing home. Other signs of sexual abuse include bruising or bleeding in the genitals, blood-stained clothes, and trouble walking.
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When Do You Take Action
If you suspect that a loved one with Alzheimers is being abused or neglected, you must protect them. This includes reporting the incident to the facility administrator, your local agency on elder affairs, and law enforcement if the situation is immediate and life-threatening. It is better to err on the side of caution, particularly because the symptoms of Alzheimers can make it difficult to spot abuse.
Importance Of Nursing Home Abuse Statistics
Even though nursing home abuse is a well-known problem, it is still misunderstood by many. Fortunately, nursing home and elder abuse statistics allow us to better understand the overall issue and why it occurs.
Nursing home abuse statistics provide snapshots of why abuse occurs, who is most at risk, and what can be done if someone is suffering from abuse.
Our team has compiled and organized dozens of nursing home abuse statistics from leading organizations like the National Council on Aging , the World Health Organization , and the National Center on Elder Abuse .
Use these statistics to get answers to questions and learn how you can help your loved ones.
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Statistics About Nursing Home Neglect
Neglect is the failure to provide an elders basic life necessities, such as food, housing, health care, or hygiene. While it may not always be intentional, nursing home neglect can have just as serious consequences as abuse.
- Just as elder abuse is broken up into several types, NAPSA breaks down neglect into subsets. These include physical, emotional, and financial neglect, as well as elder abandonment and self-neglect.
- 12% of nursing home staff members reported neglecting the needs of residents, according to a 2020 report from the WHO. Nearly 12% of residents or their families also reported cases of nursing home neglect in the same study.
- According to a 2014 review of previous studies, neglect had the highest prevalence out of any other type of elder mistreatment in the United States.
- Not every state has the same definition of elder or nursing home neglect. The NAPSA recommends checking local definitions with your states Adult Protective Services to learn more.
Emotional Nursing Home Abuse Statistics
Elders can also be emotionally abused with threats, intimidation, social isolation, and more.
- Emotional abuse was the most prevalent type reported by nursing home staff members, according to a 2020 WHO study. Nearly 1 out of 3 of staff members admitted to emotionally abusing residents.
- Verbal abuse was the most commonly reported type of elder mistreatment committed by family members, according to a study reported on by the NCEA.
- 60% of self-reported elder abuse cases involved verbal or emotional harm, according to the NCVC.
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People With Dementia At Increased Risk Of Elder Abuse
Alzheimers Australia welcomes Federal Attorney General George Brandis announcement today, committing to an Inquiry into laws which will safeguard older Australians against the increasing incidence of elder abuse.
Senator Brandis acknowledged the growing problem at the 4th National Elder Abuse Conference in Melbourne.
Dementia Australias National President, Professor Graeme Samuel said with elder abuse continuing to increase, a national inquiry is a welcomed step towards tackling this distressing issue.
People living with dementia are at significantly higher risk of being taken advantage of. We need to ensure that older people, especially those with cognitive impairment are protected against all forms of elder abuse, whether they are in aged care facilities or in the community, Professor Samuel said.
A report by Alzheimers Australia Preventing Financial Abuse of People With Dementia highlights the problem of financial abuse of people living with dementia happening all too often, mainly perpetrated by family members or the people appointed to manage the person with dementias finances. It outlines strategies on how to protect the person with dementia from financial abuse and indicates who to contact if you or a loved one have been a victim of financial abuse.
A national inquiry will help to bring this issue into the spotlight and ensure that all involved in the sector work together to protect and value our older Australians. Ms Bennett concluded.
Abuse In Alzheimers Care Facilities
Though abuse in Alzheimers Care Facilities is not common, it does happen. People with Alzheimers have a higher risk of being abused than other nursing home residents. Because of their condition, these patients are more vulnerable, and so they are more often targeted for abuse. Abusive medical staff believe Alzheimers patients are more vulnerable because compared to other residents:
- They have more difficulty taking care of themselves and communicating
- They have serious short-term memory loss and may forget the abuse
- Others may not believe them if they report abuse
- They are more easily confused and may not understand that they are being abused
Like other types of elder abuse, family members and caregivers must be vigilant in order to detect signs of abuse that are occurring. Physical injuries such as bruises, broken bones, and lacerations could be signs of abuse. Sudden changes in personality and behavior, depression, and agitation can also be symptoms of suffering from abuse. Unfortunately, detecting abuse is very difficult for those with Alzheimers because they may be unable to explain their injuries and emotional changes do not guarantee abuse.
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Abuse Of People With Dementia By Family Carers: Representative Cross Sectional Survey
- Accepted 4 November 2008
Objective To determine the prevalence of abusive behaviours by family carers of people with dementia.
Design Representative cross sectional survey
Setting Community mental health teams in Essex and London.
Participants 220 family carers of people newly referred to secondary psychiatric services with dementia who were living at home.
Main outcome measure Psychological and physical abuse .
Results 115 carers reported some abusive behaviour and 74 reported important levels of abuse. Verbal abuse was most commonly reported. Only three carers reported occasional physical abuse.
Abusive behaviour by family carers towards people with dementia is common, with a third reporting important levels of abuse and half some abusive behaviour. We found few cases of physical or frequent abuse, although those with the most abusive behaviour may have been reluctant to report it.
Nursing Home Abuse Is A Growing Danger
As the population of adults aged 65 and older is expected to increase over the next several decades, the issues of elder and nursing home abuse are likely to become even more prominent. However, family members and loved ones can take steps to protect their loved ones.
Elder abuse will not stop on its own. Someone else needs to step in and help.
National Institute on Aging
Heres what to do if you or someone you know is being abused:
- Review the nursing home statistics above and note if you or a loved one is at risk
- Tell someone you trust
Family members commit elder abuse in nearly 6 out of 10 cases, according to the National Council on Aging . Other studies found that family members are the most common perpetrators of nearly every type of elder abuse. Learn how to keep an older person you love safe. Family and the Problem of Elder AbuseRead More
After a spike in COVID-19 cases attributed to the Delta variant caused thousands of deaths in nursing homes over the summer, its important to focus on how to protect yourself and your loved ones living in long-term care facilities. COVID-19 poses a higher risk to nursing homes as residents often share living spaces and haveRead More
Nursing Home Abuse Justice sheds light on the dangers of nursing home abuse. It provides reporting that exposes truths previously hidden.
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What The Society Calls For:
- Dementia training for staff in care homes and hospitals. Lack of training is an important cause of poor quality care. Staff may be unable to communicate effectively with people with dementia, involve people with dementia in decision-making following the principles of the Mental Capacity Act and care for people with dementia who experience behavioural and psychological symptoms. This can mean that people with dementia do not receive person-centred care, are deprived of their legal rights and receive inappropriate treatments, such as physical restraint and anti-psychotic drugs, that can exacerbate symptoms. Health and social care professionals should receive training to provide high-quality, person-centred care to improve dignity and quality of life even when communication has diminished. For more information, please see our position statement on anti-psychotic drugs and the Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards page.
- Effective and robust enforcement. Abuse and mistreatment are too serious to be considered as part of a general complaints procedure. The Society believes that regulators, not providers, should deal with such complaints. For more information, please see our position statement on the regulation of dementia care.
Signs Of Emotional Abuse In An Alzheimers Patient
- Unexplained depression or anxiety
- Sudden withdrawal from normal activities
- Fearful or cowering behavior in front of caregiver
- Signs of agitation such as rocking back and forth, sucking thumbs, or muttering to themselves
- Changes in sleeping or eating
- Intense alertness to noises and other stimuli
- Aggressive behavior
- Violence toward others or self
Family members and friends should be on the lookout for threatening or demeaning language or actions by nursing home staff. Another warning sign is a nursing home or caregiver who will not allow you to visit with your loved one alone.
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Nursing Homes That Cater To Alzheimers Patients
Specially designed long-term care facilities are now more available to seniors with Alzheimers. These memory care units are supposed to offer trained nurses and aides who understand the unique challenges of the disease. If you are looking for an Alzheimers nursing facility for a loved one, here are some helpful hints:
- Personal references are certainly the most reliable. Ask a friend or co-worker for a personal recommendation of a nursing home.
- Visit your states elder affairs agency website for a facility listing. You have the right to know about any violations or incidents.
- Check with a nursing home abuse law firm. Their focus on elder law makes them a valuable source of information.
If you would like a free, no-obligation consultation with a nursing home abuse lawyer, please call Nursing Home Abuse Center at 1-866-548-9636.
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Caregiver Of Facility Dependency
Elders are often dependent on others for support and assistance. Unpaid relatives, professional in-home caregivers, or long-term care facilities such as nursing homes can create situations where an elder is afraid to ask for help because they are dependent on that care and believe it would be taken away from them.
Additionally, the pressures of caregivingespecially when it comes to efforts by non-professionals like family membersmay increase the possibility of abuse.
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Elder Neglect Or Self
- Unusual weight loss, malnutrition, dehydration.
- Untreated physical problems, such as bed sores.
- Unsanitary living conditions: dirt, bugs, soiled bedding and clothes.
- Being left dirty or unbathed.
- Unsuitable clothing or covering for the weather.
- Unsafe living conditions .
- Desertion of the elder at a public place.
Signs Of Nursing Home Abuse In Residents With Dementia
Elderly people with dementia require more help with their daily activities than those without the condition. If you have a loved one with dementia, you may have decided to place him or her in a nursing home to be properly looked after. Unfortunately, nursing home residents who suffer from dementia or Alzheimers disease have a higher risk of suffering abuse. It is important to recognize the signs of nursing home abuse and take legal action if necessary.
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Mental And Cognitive Impairment
High rates of dementia and Alzheimers disease among the elderly put them at greater risk of abuse. In fact, according to the National Council on Aging, nearly half of older adults with dementia were abused or neglected.
These and other forms of mental and cognitive impairment make it difficult for victims to understand or describe the abuse. They are also associated with a decline in memory, reasoning, judgment, and complex motor skillscausing memory loss, confusion, and difficulty problem-solvingall resulting in a more vulnerable population.
Warning Signs Of Elder Abuse In Dementia
Elder abuse is any form of mistreatment that causes harm or loss to an older adult.
Abuse is generally divided into 6 categories. In each category, we share red flags that are strong signs of elder abuse.
Even if your older adult doesnt recognize whats happening or cant speak for themselves, these warning signs will help you notice when something suspicious is going on so you can advocate on their behalf.
1. Physical abusePhysical abuse is when someone purposely causes injury, pain, or impairment to an older adult. It also includes isolation and the inappropriate use of restraints.
Warning signs include:
- Unexplained injuries, like bruises, welts, burns, new scars, broken bones, sprains, or dislocations
- Reports of drug overdose or not taking medication regularly
- Broken eyeglasses
- Signs of being restrained, like rope marks on wrists
- The caregiver refuses to let you to see the older adult without them present
2. Emotional abuseEmotional abuse includes verbal abuse, threats, harassment, humiliation, and intimidation.
Warning signs include:
- Any kind of threatening, belittling, or controlling behavior that you observe
- When the older adult shows increased signs of agitation like rocking, sucking, or mumbling to themselves
- Unexplained withdrawal from normal activities, a sudden change in alertness, or unexpected depression
- The caregiver refuses to let you see the older adult without them present
Warning signs include:
- A new best friend or sweetheart
Warning signs include:
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Financial Nursing Home Abuse Statistics
Financial abuse happens when an individuals financial resources are exploited or withheld.
- Elders are more likely to report financial abuse than any of the other forms, according to the NCOA.
- The NCEA reported that family members were by far the most likely people to financially abuse elders. Nearly 60% of all elder financial abuse cases involved a family member.
- 1 in 20 older adults indicated they had suffered from financial abuse, according to the National Adult Protective Services Association .