Seniors with Dementia Suffer More Nursing Home Abuse, Advocacy Group Reports

Nursing Home Blog

As many as five million senior Americans fall prey to elder abuse each year, and experts believe that those suffering from dementia are at a higher risk than the general population of older adults.

Abuse and neglect often occur in assisted living communities and nursing homes. According to National Center on Elder Abuse, as many as 47 percent of seniors with dementia who live in nursing homes may have suffered neglect or abuse. A U.S. study found indications that almost half of surveyed caregivers had abused or neglected patients suffering from dementia. In three international studies, evidence found that individuals with dementia were abused or neglected by caregivers at a rate of between 34 and 62 percent.

What Are the Dangers to Nursing Home Residents with Dementia?
Patients suffering from dementia are at a higher risk because, with reduced mental and physical faculties, they are more vulnerable and less able to protect themselves. They also may not remember what has happened to them or may be incapable of telling someone if they do remember. Mistreatment of seniors with dementia can occur in a number of forms, including:
• Physical or mental abuse.
• Neglect.
• Sexual abuse.
• Financial impropriety.
• Errors in administering medications.
Bruises, bedsores and other physical injuries can indicate that a senior has been the victim of elder abuse. Qualified nursing home abuse attorneys can provide guidance and assistance in such cases.

Protecting Patients with Dementia
Research has found certain characteristics present in cases in which a caregiver abuses or neglects a senior dementia patient. Factors include:
• Symptoms of anxiety or depression in the caregiver.
• A perception by the caregiver that care is a burden.
• Negative emotional status and emotional problems that result in role limitations of the caregiver.
• Aggressive and sometimes violent behavior by patients receiving care.

Protecting nursing home residents who suffer from dementia involves the adequate training of all caregivers. Persons providing care must understand methods for working with challenging patients, including those suffering from dementia. In addition, facilities should have adequate staff to provide sufficient care for all patients.

Loved ones should visit often and ask questions to ensure that nursing home care is adequate for individuals suffering from dementia. If you suspect that your loved one with dementia is suffering mistreatment in a nursing home, contact the nursing home abuse attorneys at Garcia & Artigliere, or call 800-281-8515.