November not only marks the beginning of the holiday season. It is also Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month, a chance for people everywhere to learn more about this progressive condition that affects more than 5.7 million Americans(and their loved ones). If your loved one has some type of dementia, you already know every stage of the disease has its own challenges. If you are just beginning with your experience caring for someone living with dementia, you are certainly not alone.

With the holidays drawing family members together, you may be more present in the senior living community where your aging loved one resides. It’s great that you can participate in the daily life of the community and get to know a few of the caregivers and nurses who care for your loved one on a daily basis. For most seniors living in a nursing home environment, their care is safe and loving. However, seniors living with dementia are at an increased risk to experience abuse in a skilled nursing or assisted living setting.

Decreased Ability to Recall Details
Seniors living with dementia are unable to recall important details, and that can make them vulnerable to abuse or neglect. For example, your Mom may be unable to tell you exactly how she got that bruise on her arm. While you may chalk it up to a bump on a piece of furniture, unexplained bruises or abrasions can be a potential sign of abuse.

Decreased Communication
People living with dementia face serious communication deficits and challenges, especially as the disease progresses to the middle and end stages. This lack of being able to participate in verbal communication can make seniors unable to ask for help. When you are with your loved one, look for nonverbal signs of potential abuse, such as your Dad showing signs of fear or anxiety around certain caregivers.

Increased Confusion and Paranoia
Seniors living with dementia can be confused to time and place. Some can feel paranoid or unsafe, even without a history of abuse. This confusion and paranoia can make your loved one at an increased risk of abuse, simply because the abuser counts on the hope the senior will not be believed. If your loved one is paranoid, do your best to sift through their stories for truth. If you aren’t quite sure, bring it up and ask for it to be investigated by the team at the nursing home. They should be happy to check into it and keep a closer eye on your loved one to assure safety.

If you believe your loved one has been abused, it is crucial to find an attorney that is experienced in nursing home and elder care law. At Grewer Law, our team is especially compassionate toward senior care cases and can navigate medical charts and regulations to get the best outcome possible. Give us a call to set up your consultation today.