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Massachusetts Nursing Home Patients with Dementia Are More Susceptible to Abuse and Neglect

Although Alzheimer’s Disease is the leading cause of dementia, many older Americans without Alzheimer’s have another form of dementia. In fact, according to reports from the Alzheimer’s Association, one out of every three seniors dies with some level of dementia. All types of dementia are irreversible, progressive cognitive disorders. The disease typically begins by affecting a person’s memory and thinking skills. Eventually, dementia affects the ability to complete even small tasks. Unfortunately, in addition to the emotional, cognitive, and physical challenges of dementia, there is another concern. Nursing home residents with dementia are significantly more susceptible to abuse and neglect. In fact, according to the National Center on Elder Abuse (NCEA), approximately 47% of nursing home residents with dementia have suffered mistreatment. Contact a Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer Today.

Dementia and Abuse Statistics

About half of all people over the age of 85 and more than 5 million people age 65 and older have dementia, according to the NCEA. The University of California Center of Excellence on Elder Abuse and Neglect recently published a fact sheet outlining the problem of elder abuse as it relates to dementia. Here is what they found:

  • About 7.7 million people will have Alzheimer’s Disease by 2030
  • About 16 million people will have Alzheimer’s Disease by 2050
  • The rate of abuse of dementia patients is between 34% and 62%
  • In a survey of elder care workers, 20% said they feared becoming violent with their dementia patients
  • Up to 10% of elder care workers admitted to being physically abusive to dementia patients
  • One study found that 60% of elder care workers had been verbally abusive to dementia patients

Signs of Abuse in Dementia Patients

If you are concerned that a loved one who has dementia is the victim of abuse or neglect, the following list provides common signs of abuse. If you notice any of these signs, they should be reported immediately. If you suspect abuse, it is also in the best interest of your loved one to speak with an experienced nursing home abuse lawyer right away.

  • Cuts or bruises
  • Marks on wrists (this may indicate excessive use of restraints)
  • Burns
  • Bedsores
  • Broken bones
  • Malnutrition
  • Dehydration
  • Poor personal hygiene
  • Broken eyeglasses
  • Unsanitary living area

Is My Loved One at Risk?

There are several risk factors that increase the likelihood of elder abuse and neglect for patients with Alzheimer’s Disease or dementia. These include:

  • Severity of the disease
  • Caregiver’s relationship to the patient earlier in life (family member, associate, friend, or stranger)
  • Elder’s use of verbal or physical aggression
  • Isolation (typically seen in at-home care)
  • Caregiver substance abuse
  • Caregiver depression

 Altman & Altman, LLP – Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect Lawyers Serving All of Massachusetts

If you are concerned that a loved one is the victim of elder abuse, we can help. The decision to place an elderly parent, family member, or friend into a nursing home is often an emotional process. Finding out that your loved one is the victim of abuse often results in an overwhelming sense of guilt. The reality is, the vast majority of elder care workers have the best interests of their patients in mind at all times. However, there are exceptions. If you suspect that your loved one is being abused or neglected, you must take action immediately. At Altman & Altman, LLP, we have been protecting the rights of nursing home residents for over 50 years. We can help you determine how to move forward swiftly so that the abuse stops immediately and your loved one is protected from future abuse. Contact us today for a free consultation about your case.