How to Protect a Dementia Sufferer

People living with dementia are often the most vulnerable to elder abuse, as they can have difficulty articulating their feelings or experiences of physical, emotional and/or financial abuse.

The Dementia Abuse Signs

The condition can sometimes make it difficult for a person to identify when a dementia patient is being abused, however, one of the biggest signs can be a withdrawal from communication. In many cases, a dementia patient is often abused by a close relative or friend. While behavioural changes are common in people living with dementia, you should try to communicate with a person as much as possible to identify if they are a victim of abuse. Other signs of dementia abuse may include poor hygiene, depression, weight loss, a withdrawal from activities, a change in financial circumstances or a strained relationship with a care worker.

Dementia Training

Dementia training is essential for carer workers within nursing homes. People living with dementia can sometimes become emotional or physically aggressive, which can be very stressful for a carer. If a care worker has not received the right amount of support, they could react inappropriately, such as physically restraining a patient, which is illegal. It is therefore vital a carer receives support to provide the highest standard of care. If you believe a person is being abused by a fellow care worker, you should report the issue immediately.

Physical and Emotional Abuse

Physical abuse can range from sexual abuse to slapping, hitting, pushing or kicking an elderly person. While emotional abuse can be caused by humiliation, intimidation or a threat of bodily harm. Neglect is also a form of abuse, as a person’s physical care could be ignored, they could be starved of food and drink or may have to experience poor personal hygiene.

Financial Abuse

Abuse is more than just emotional or physical. Unfortunately, many elderly people are vulnerable to financial abuse, as they are reliant on a spouse, family member or friend, who can take advantage of a person’s condition, which can include forgetfulness and a trusting nature. However, it is important to note that financial abuse is illegal, as no-one has the right to steal another person’s money, property or belongings.

Legal Support

People living with dementia may be unable to speak for themselves, which is why it is important for someone to speak out on their behalf. Unfortunately, a dementia sufferer’s power of attorney could abuse their power over a loved one. Anyone who believes a person is being abused by their power of attorney, carer or loved one should take steps to safeguard the person living with dementia.

You should therefore consult a professional in elder abuse litigation, such as Garcia Law. Qualified nursing home attorneys can protect vulnerable senior citizens from physical, emotional or financial abuse.

A vulnerable senior citizen maybe unable to speak for themselves due to dementia, frailty or fear. Never allow an elderly person to suffer in silence, because it is essential those causing the abuse are held accountable for their actions.

Author: James McQuiston

Ph.D. in Political Science, Kent State University.

I have been the editor at NeuFutur / neufutur.com since I was 15. Looking for new staff members all the time; email me if you are interested. Thanks!

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