Seniors with Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia are among the most vulnerable to abuse. That abuse is most often at the hands of those given the responsibility of caring for them.
These seniors can make easy victims because their memories and grasp of reality are often limited. Because dementia can make a person paranoid, their loved ones may not readily believe them when they say someone is hurting, neglecting or stealing from them. Too often, they don’t even realize they’re being abused – physically, sexually, emotionally or financially.
That means it’s up to family members and other loved ones to be on the lookout for signs of abuse. Even if you fully trust the memory care or other facility where your loved one is living, all it takes is one employee (or even another patient or visitor) to seriously harm an elderly person with dementia.
Most people become suspicious if they routinely see bruises, cuts and other injuries on a loved one. Even if no one is inflicting these injuries, they can be signs that your loved one isn’t being watched and assisted as much as they need to be to prevent them from hurting themselves.
Some other signs that could indicate abuse or neglect
A major red flag is when a caregiver won’t leave a senior alone with their loved ones. Other signs of abuse can include:
- Bruises or other marks on wrists or ankles indicating the use of restraints
- Agitation or withdrawal for no discernable reason
- Torn or bloody underwear
- Wearing inappropriate clothing for the weather or time of year
If a loved one is suffering from dementia, it’s likely that you have taken control of their bank accounts, credit cards and cash. However, it’s still crucial to keep an eye on them for suspicious and unauthorized activity.
Your loved one may have a few checks, ATM cards or credit card in their wallet you (and maybe they) don’t know about. Unfortunately, these are only too easy to steal and abuse. Of course, you also want to be sure your loved one doesn’t attempt to make changes to their will or other estate planning documents without your knowledge.
If your loved one has been harmed in memory care or a nursing home facility, it’s crucial to take steps to protect them immediately. It’s also wise to seek legal guidance to seek justice and compensation.