Defending Nursing Home Residents with Dementia from Abuse

| Nov 21, 2022 | Firm News

Abuse is a severe problem that can negatively impact victims, their loved ones, and society. It can happen to anyone, regardless of gender, race, age, or economic status, including nursing home residents.

A U.S. News and World Report article states that most American nursing home residents are over 65. This demographic is physically and financially vulnerable and prone to abuse by caretakers and their loved ones.

Some nursing home residents may also have dementia. The Alzheimer’s Association states that approximately 6.5 million Americans over 65 have Alzheimer’s disease, which leads to dementia, putting this vulnerable demographic at higher risk of becoming abuse victims.

This article will discuss why nursing home residents are easy targets for exploitation and how to defend them from abuse.

Why Nursing Home Residents Are More Vulnerable to Abuse

It may be incomprehensible that people would take advantage of and abuse older people, especially when they’re family members or when it’s their responsibility to look after them. However, some people view nursing home residents with dementia as more vulnerable targets for abuse.

Memory loss is the most common dementia symptom, encouraging others to exploit dementia patients. If the victim cannot remember who their family members are, what property they have, or recognize where they are, they probably won’t report any abuse or neglect.

How to Defend Your Loved Ones from Nursing Home Abuse

Due to their physical and mental vulnerability, it ultimately falls to the elderly American’s family members to remain vigilant and look out for signs of nursing home abuse. However, this step is not easy, primarily if your loved one can’t comfortably communicate with you.

Fortunately, you can detect some of the most common signs of nursing home abuse, even without communicating with your loved one.

This section will discuss three ways to protect your loved ones from nursing home abuse.

  • Check Their Accounts and Consider Becoming Their Legal Guardian

You should be able to request an account statement for your loved one if you’re the contact person on your loved one’s admissions paperwork. The account statement should show their current balance, deposits, and withdrawals affecting their account.

If you spot unrecognizable transactions or the account statement seems incorrect, immediately raise your concern to the nursing home. If you don’t get satisfactory answers, immediately report your problem to law enforcement, Adult Protective Services, or find a personal injury lawyer.

We also suggest becoming their legal guardian, so you can make decisions on their behalf and handle their financial affairs.

  • Watch Out for Suspicious Injuries and Questionable Explanations

Nursing homes are supposed to provide a safe, comfortable space for their residents. Unfortunately, that’s not always the case.

Sadly, some nursing home employees may feel inclined to physically abuse residents with dementia. They may feel impatient or frustrated while handling the resident’s dementia symptoms. Some nursing home employees may strike, slap, kick, or attempt to choke a resident.

Watch out for strange or unexplained injuries on your loved one’s body. Be vigilant if your loved one seems to wince or grimace if you touch a specific body part, such as an arm or a leg.

Consult the staff for explanations if you notice any new injuries, and watch out if your loved one suddenly starts experiencing frequent “falls.”

  • Stay Involved with Your Loved One

Taking care of an elderly loved one can be physically, emotionally, and mentally draining, especially if they have dementia. Nonetheless, they need you more than ever when they’re vulnerable.

It’s best to stay involved in their life, even if they don’t recognize or acknowledge your presence. Communicating your care and attention to your loved one to others can help prevent nursing home abuse.

Seeking Justice for Your Loved Ones

Nursing home residents are more prone to abuse because they’re physically and mentally vulnerable. Understanding their state and what you can do to protect them can help curb nursing home abuse.

Mendes, Reins, and Wilander is a group of personal injury lawyers in Tampa ready to help neglected and abused nursing home and assisted living victims. Contact us now if you’re dealing with this unfortunate circumstance.