The decline of cognitive ability can increase the likelihood of a person falling prey to elder abuse. This abuse can be financial, physical, mental, emotional, and more. Elder abuse can occur anywhere, whether at home or in care settings, so families need to be proactive in protecting their loved ones at all times.

Why Dementia Increases the Risk of Elder Abuse

When a person has dementia, they are especially vulnerable to abuse because:

  • The cognitive decline might cause the person to not recognize abuse
  • Their compromised condition may prevent the person from reporting the problem
  • Communication challenges make it difficult to understand what the person is trying to say

When a person’s cognitive function is impaired, they become easy targets for family, friends, or strangers who are tempted to take advantage of them.

Preventing Elder Abuse

Many potentially abusive situations can be prevented if family and loved ones provide adequate supervision, support, and training. A first line of defense is to maintain close communication with the older person. It’s also essential to screen caregivers and support staff involved in a person’s life.

When it comes to financial protection, not only is it important for the person to be aware of their financial affairs, but a trusted family member should offer support with the management of their money. Monitoring bank accounts and credit cards is an important step in preventing or identifying   theft early on.

Also, watch for common signs of elder abuse such as bruising, withdrawal from normal activities, sudden changes in financial situation, unattended medical concerns, strained relationships with caregivers, and more.

Getting Help When It’s Needed

If you suspect that a loved one is a victim of elder abuse in any form, it is important to respond to the situation immediately and file a report with authorities. For more information, our team is here to assist. Email or call 858-480-7551. We offer a variety of resources online at Senior Safe and Sound.

This information is intended to inform the public at large about this important issue. It is not intended to serve as legal or medical advice.