Suppose you’ve wondered whether your loved one will be safe in a nursing home or assisted living facility. In that case, it might be because you’ve heard horror stories about the abuse or neglect that can happen there. There’s a reason these stories circulate, and it’s because it can happen.
Elder abuse isn’t isolated to care facilities and can take many forms, including physical, financial and verbal neglect. It can also happen to anyone, but it turns out a demographic is more likely to experience abuse.
Dementia patients are vulnerable
Dementia is not a sole diagnosis as it refers to a group of diseases or disorders that affect cognitive ability. Alzheimer’s is one example of a dementia diagnosis, as many others exist. However, what all dementia patients have in common is that they have a 50% chance of experiencing abuse.
That’s one in two, five out of ten, or however you wish to describe it; dementia patients have an extremely high chance of being victimized. Several factors about the condition leave them particularly vulnerable, including:
- Cognitive Decline: The impaired cognitive function may cause older adults to forget what happened or prevent them from recognizing that abuse is occurring.
- Changes in Behavior: In some cases, a person with dementia can have violent outbursts, and the caregiver gives a gross overreaction to the situation.
- Isolation: If the older person spends a lot of time alone or isolated at home with a caregiver, then abuse may go undetected.
Whether you have a loved one in a facility or at home with a sole caregiver, you might wonder if they’re safe. If you suspect abuse or neglect, you might want to become more familiar with the laws protecting the elderly population so you can discuss the next steps.