Growing up, we all deal with our fair share of bullies, but what makes a bully especially appalling? When they pick on someone who can’t defend themselves. It’s that sentiment that makes nursing home abuse against residents with Alzheimer’s disease so horrifying.
These are vulnerable family members, who through no fault of their own, are slowly losing sight of their former selves. The process in and of itself is painful and devastating for family members to watch the progress. Add to that the pain and trauma of learning that your family member is being abused and taken advantage of – that is a pain we can barely comprehend.
At Hare, Wynn, Newell & Newton, LLP, we have nursing home abuse lawyers in Lexington, KY committed to helping families just like yours hold negligent and abusive nursing homes and long-term care facilities responsible for their actions. Our attorneys have the resources and experience necessary to fight for your family member’s rights and get you the compensation you deserve. Justice can be served. Give us a call at (859) 550-2900 or contact us in order to schedule a legal consultation. We want to do everything in our power to make sure you and your family are safe and protected.
What Is Alzheimer’s
The Alzheimer’s Association defines Alzheimer’s disease as a form of dementia that can cause issues with memory, behavior, and the way a person thinks. Presently, Alzheimer’s is considered to be the most common type of dementia and accounts for between 60 to 80 percent of dementia cases. While we may think that memory problems are just a part of the aging process, Alzheimer’s is, in fact, a disease and not a “normal” function of growing older.
Alzheimer’s is a progressive and degenerative condition that worsens over time. It can become severe enough that it can begin to interfere with daily tasks and activities. The early stages are marked by mild memory loss or lapses in memory. In the later stages of the disease, a person may lose the ability to even carry on a simple conversation or respond to changes in their own environment.
It cripples the mind and is currently the sixth-leading cause of death in the United States. The National Institute on Aging estimates that as many as 5.5 million Americans may suffer from Alzheimer’s. What’s more, the Centers for Disease Control finds that almost 50 percent of nursing home residents have been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s or some other form of dementia.
Why Does Alzheimer’s Make Someone More Vulnerable to Abuse?
The loss of cognitive function and the ability to clearly communicate are just two of the reasons Alzheimer’s patients are more susceptible to abuse in a nursing home setting. An abuser may feel like they can get away with their actions because it can become impossible for an Alzheimer’s patient to report the abuse. The condition can also make them a target for abuse because it can be challenging for caregivers to work with Alzheimer’s patients.
The disease can alter a person’s behavior and their ability to communicate. In the early stages, they may be aware that they are forgetting things or unable to remember certain words for objects, names, or put words to thoughts. This is frustrating for them and can make some people difficult to work with. The frustration can spill over onto the caregivers, and some caregivers may resort to taking out their frustrations on the residents themselves.
Older adults suffering from Alzheimer’s may also experience other chronic illnesses or physical limitations. These issues, paired with their decreasing cognitive function, may put them at an even higher risk for abuse and neglect. Elderly individuals who are suffering from any type of abuse are at a 300 percent higher risk of death, compared to people who have never been mistreated.
What Types of Abuse Are Alzheimer’s Patients at Risk For?
Abuse isn’t always physical, and it doesn’t always leave marks. Alzheimer’s residents may suffer from beatings or physical abuse, but they are also at significant risk for emotional and sexual abuse, as well. There are a number of different forms that abuse can take, which means you need to be on the lookout for more than just unexplained bruises or broken bones.
Here are some of the common types of abuse Alzheimer’s residents are at risk for:
You should always take notice when a family member is suffering from frequent infections, illnesses, and unexplained injuries. These are common signs of physical abuse and even neglect. However, it is also important to take notice of more subtle changes, as well, which can be signs of abuse. Changes in sleeping or eating patterns, refusing to cooperate with certain caregivers, depression, anxiety, lack of eye contact, changes in weight and appearance, changes in their financial situation, and malnourishment can also be signs that some form of abuse is taking place.
How Can Hare, Wynn, Newell & Newton, LLP Help My Family?
The unfortunate reality of the situation is that many cases of abuse against Alzheimer’s residents go unreported. When a loved one can’t speak up for themselves, the burden falls upon their family members to put the pieces of the puzzle together and speak up for them. But you don’t have to shoulder this burden alone. The attorneys at Hare, Wynn, Newell & Newton, LLP can help.
An experienced Lexington nursing home abuse attorney can investigate your suspicions and help fill in the picture. Elderly family members with Alzheimer’s are one of the most vulnerable populations in our community. Their final years should be lived out with dignity, respect, and as much love and laughter as we can give them. Don’t let an abusive situation tarnish the precious time they have left.
Contact us today at (859) 550-2900 to schedule a consultation with one of our skilled and compassionate nursing home abuse attorneys. We want to help you work through this situation and make sure that negligent nursing homes and abusive caregivers are held responsible for their actions. You may be entitled to compensation.