Phoenix Memory Care Facility Abuse Lawyers
Memory Care Facilities and Abuse
When people have Alzheimer’s, dementia, or memory loss that makes it hard for them to function on their own, specialized "memory care" facilities are equipped to take care of them.
Memory care facilities provide assisted living. When family members are first diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, loved ones may be able to care for them in the home. But over time, this can become impossible as the affected elder may forget to take medications, turn on appliances and not turn them off, and even get lost when going out.
The decision to place a loved one is such a facility is never easy. This is because elder abuse is a very real epidemic in America, and patients suffering from dementia are more likely to be taken advantage of.
Types of Abuse in Memory Care Facilities
Sadly, there are many types of abuse that can occur in memory care facilities. These include:
- Physical abuse, inflicting pain and injury, sometimes severe
- Emotional abuse, including verbal threats, intimidation, and harassment
- Patient neglect, not providing the basic necessities of life including medication, medical treatments, or a safe residence
- Confinement, keeping the patient confined or restrained in his room
- Financial abuse, typically when a staff member takes the patient’s money or property
- Sexual abuse, such as inappropriate touching without the patient’s consent
- Self-neglect allowed, since caregivers are required to make sure the patient is receiving proper care, taking part in proper hygiene practices, etc.
Any time you suspect that a loved one is suffering abuse, it’s important to remove him or her from the facility or see that the offending staff member is removed, depending on the circumstances.
Seniors with Dementia Are Especially Vulnerable
According to the National Council on Aging, one in ten Americans over age 60 has experienced some form of elder abuse! These statistics are on the rise; and unfortunately, the numbers only increase when they pertain to memory care facilities.
Patients suffering from Alzheimer’s and other types of dementia often lack the skills to recognize that the abuse is happening. And even when they do, they don’t often have the verbal skills to communicate that to their loved ones. Due to the nature of dementia, the patient may also forget that the abuse ever occurred.
Common Signs of Abuse
Family members need to be aware of the signs of abuse so they can spot it as soon as possible after it happens.
- Physical abuse will appear in the form of bruises, cuts, or burns on parts of the body. Rashes or cuts may also be visible on the wrists or ankles, indicating that the patient has been restrained. When bruises appear on the breasts or around the genital area, these may be signs of sexual abuse. Bedsores can also indicate that the patient has been left in bed for long periods of time, possibly due to neglect.
- Withdrawal is often a sign of abuse. The patient will withdraw around a certain staff member or from activities that were once enjoyed. While Alzheimer’s and dementia patients may have trouble remembering certain things, there shouldn’t be any change in their personalities. If they were once loving and caring, they should still be that way after being admitted to a memory care facility. And if they were once outgoing and enjoyed meeting new people, they should still want to attend events. If they start to withdraw or have sudden personality changes, these may be signs of abuse.
- Sudden changes in the person’s financial situation, such as suddenly having much less in a bank account or missing cash, could be a sign of financial abuse. In certain cases, staff members may manipulate the patient into giving them money, or they may withhold the patient’s money in order to exert their power or manipulate the patient into doing something he or she don’t want to.
When You Suspect or See Signs of Abuse
Even after family members and loved ones have spotted signs of abuse and brought them to the attention of staff members, it’s not uncommon for staff members to brush them off. Staff has an easier time brushing these complaints off because they can simply state that the patient is suffering from dementia and doesn’t realize what’s actually going on.
It is so important for family members to believe what their loved one tells them and the signs that they can see for themselves. Don’t try telling patients in these facilities that the abuse never happened - they can, understandably, become more upset. And more importantly, this allows the abuse to continue.
Arizona Memory Care Abuse Lawyers
If your loved one is currently in a memory care facility, and you suspect that there is abuse, the first thing to do is to remove your loved one from the facility. Forcing them to stay may be forcing them to live with abuse, and that’s something no one should have to endure.
Your next step should be to contact The Husband and Wife Law Team at Breyer Law Offices, P.C. We’ll fight hard to protect the rights of your loved ones and get the compensation they may be entitled to, including the cost of treating injuries and pain and suffering related to emotional distress. Don’t delay; call a Phoenix personal injury lawyer at (602) 267-1280 so we can start reviewing your case today.