Phoenix Memory Care Facility Abuse Lawyers
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.
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. In addition, these patients:
- Need more care with daily living and are more dependent on caregivers and staff.
- Have short-term memory loss and may not remember abuse.
- Are prone to suffer from hallucinations or strong memories, which means others, including family members, may not believe allegations of abuse that they make.
Because of this, families of memory care patients must remain vigilant. Some people prey on these vulnerable elders, and that is unacceptable.
Family members need to be aware of the signs of nursing home abuse so they can spot it as soon as it happens:
- Bruises, cuts, or burns on parts of the body are signs of physical abuse. 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.
My Elderly Relative in a Nursing Home Suffers from Late Stage Alzheimer's Disease. Can I Trust His or Her Personal Report of Abuse at the Facility?
In any case when an elderly person reports neglect, it is important to investigate. If a senior citizen reports that they are being abused, they should not be ignored. Just because a person may no longer able to clearly describe what happens around them does not mean that all their statements should be disregarded. There may be unbiased proof that either confirms or refutes the complaints of abuse. As Phoenix personal injury lawyers who have had experience with nursing home injury cases we understand that the statements of many patients in the later stages of dementia often lack reliability. Yet it is always best to study the situation to ensure that any allegations are false. There are clear signs and symptoms of abuse or neglect, so it is best for your loved one's safety not to automatically assume that his or her claims are baseless.
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.
Instead, contact Adult Protective Services to report the abuse and receive assistance. In addition, make a complaint to the Arizona Department of Health Services about the care facility. They have an online form that makes it easy for you to do. Then, speak to an experienced lawyer.
If your loved one is currently in a memory care facility, and you suspect that there is abuse, remove your loved one from the facility. Forcing a patient to stay may be forcing him or her 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.
- Residential Care for People with Alzheimer's and Dementia - Alzheimer's Association
- Dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease 101: The Difference and Why it Matters - National Council on Aging
- National Partnership to Improve Dementia Care in Nursing Homes
- U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Alzheimer's Website