Long Beach Alzheimer’s & Memory Care Abuse Lawyer
Senior family members who have been placed in specialized care because of their battles with Alzheimer’s and/or dementia are uniquely vulnerable to abuse and neglect. It is an unfortunate truth, and one which no family wants or should have to face. However, the reality is that this nightmare is happening in some of the very places that are supposed to be providing comfort and care.
When Is It Time to Look for a Care Center?
In the beginning, Alzheimer’s, dementia, and other memory challenges are usually handled by a close family member or caregiver at home. Often, the medical and personal needs of the patient increase to the point where the caregiver has to provide round-the-clock care, and install security measures to prevent the patient from "wandering." There is risk of danger within the home because the patient might turn on a stove and forget, for example.
At this point, it may be necessary to find a care center for the loved one. Options include assisted living, in which the patient maintains an independent living space but with the availability of full-time professional staff; a nursing home, for those who pose a danger to themselves or have a tendency to wander; or a day care facility part-time that allows a caregiver or family member to maintain her own daily needs and business.
Types and Signs of Abuse
While residents in a care center, seniors may be abused in any number of ways:
- Physical abuse
- Emotional and/or psychological abuse
- Financial abuse
- Sexual abuse
- Medication abuse
Signs and symptoms to watch for in your loved one include:
- Unexplained or repeated bruises, recurring falls, and cuts
- Changes in personality (not attributed to the medical diagnoses) or demonstrations of fear in the presence of a particular caregiver
- Changes in sleeping schedule
- Social withdrawal or losing interest in things previously enjoyed
- Eating changes (may be eating more or less)
- Needing prescriptions more or less frequently than expected
- Financial losses or changes to estate beneficiaries
- Claims of mistreatment or abuse
Of all the signs and symptoms, the last one mentioned is the hardest to hear. In many circumstances, hearing that may not be reliable evidence of abuse depending on the mental state of the patient; but it must be taken seriously and investigated.
Alzheimer’s Patients Have Higher Risk of Abuse
Because of the memory loss and confusion associated with Alzheimer’s, people suffering from it are vulnerable to abuse and exploitation. Caretakers sometimes take out frustration or target these patients because they cannot remember the abuse!
In a study published by the Alzheimer’s Society in 2011, they found that 15% of Alzheimer’s patients had been victims of financial abuse. It’s almost certain that many cases have yet to be discovered.
What Can You Do If You Suspect Abuse?
If you suspect that your beloved senior is suffering abuse at the hands of a caregiver or in a facility to which you have entrusted him or her, there is no time to waste. Contact the local law enforcement authority as well as Adult Protective Services at (877) 4-R-SENIORS (477-3646).
To protect the legal rights of your senior and to get advice and counsel on next steps, reach out to an experienced Long Beach elder law attorney at Siegel Law by calling (562) 645-4145.
- Different Elder Care Environments
- California Alzheimer's Disease Program
- Alzheimer's Disease & Related Dementias - National Institute on Aging
- Finding Long-Term Care for a Person with Alzheimer's