When a loved one is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, it takes time for the family to learn what the “normal” behaviors and activities look like. In addition, this disease causes changes that develop over time, resulting in a situation where the person is very different than they were in the past.
Unfortunately, Alzheimer’s abuse cases can go unrecognized and unreported because the person isn’t able to communicate when something is going wrong. Since the person can’t tell others about the abuse, it puts the responsibility on family members to watch for potential.
How Abuse Affects Patients with Alzheimer’s Disease
Since Alzheimer’s disease makes a patient easily confused, the person might be a target for abuse. They might not even realize they are being abused or ridiculed.
The mental and medical decline with Alzheimer’s disease means that the victim might not remember that the abuse occurred. Or, if they have a memory of it, they might not understand specific events. When a person loses the ability to communicate, it’s more difficult for family members to know that something is going on.
Visiting and Monitoring a Loved One with Alzheimer’s
Ideally, family members should visit a loved one regularly to observe their physical, mental and emotional health. When you are in the person’s living environment, you can see the level of care they are receiving. Also, watch for unusual changes in behavior, mood or health that could be signs of neglect or abuse.
Common indicators of abuse include:
- Rapid decline in cognitive function
- Depression or withdrawal
- Sudden, unexplained deterioration in physical health
- Cuts or bruises
- Broken bones
- Missing valuables
- Unexplained financial transactions
Proactive Approach to Protect Your Loved Ones
When family members are involved in a person’s life, there is a better chance of identifying signs of abuse in the earlier stages. Talk with loved ones and other caregivers, so you have a plan in place to protect vulnerable family members. Our team at Senior Safe and Sound is working hard to educate families about elder abuse prevention. For more information, you can always contact us at info@SeniorSafeAndSound.org or call 858-480-7551.
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.