Dementia and Elder Abuse

Elder abuse, in and out of nursing homes, is a critical public concern. Unfortunately, there have been countless cases of physical, verbal, and psychological abuse in nursing homes at the hands of caregivers and medical health professionals alike. The elderly are a particularly vulnerable class of citizens for abuse from a caregiver, but a more specific subset of this population faces an increased risk of harm than the general community. Studies show that dementia patients are more prone to face abuse and mistreatment by those trusted to care for them due to caregivers’ lack of training on how to address patients with severe psychological debilitations.

Those with dementia can be more vulnerable to mistreatment by caregivers partly because of their difficulty with expressing their emotions, feelings, and experiences. Furthermore, many dementia patients may not remember if they have endured abuse, making it easy for negligent caregivers to take advantage of them without fear of consequence. A caregiver can also become stressed and frustrated while attending to a dementia patient’s psychological and behavioral symptoms, which sometimes manifest aggressively due to their illness. A lack of knowledge on how to communicate with dementia patients can also exclude them from decision-making and consenting to medication.

Types of Abuse Against Dementia Patients

Abuse levied at dementia patients can be intentional, unintentional, or a product of adverse nursing home conditions, such as understaffing and poorly maintained facilities. Common examples of abuse towards the elderly suffering from dementia include:

  • Verbal degradation
  • Excessive physical restraint
  • Physical assault
  • Outright neglect
  • Inappropriately medicating patient
  • Financial exploitation

Proper caregiver training and adequately-staffed nursing homes can combat cases of elder abuse and, by extension, abuse against dementia patients. The more understaffed a nursing home is, the more patients are added to a single caregiver’s roster of duties, making stress, frustration, and unintentional lashing out at patients more likely.

Contact an Elder Abuse Attorney

Elder abuse is often an overlooked problem in society and happens more often than the public realizes. If you or someone you love has been the victim of elder abuse, don’t hesitate to contact the compassionate legal team at Peck Ritchey, LLC. We can advocate protecting your loved one’s rights and dignity. Don’t hesitate to contact our offices at (855) 328-5787 for support and guidance in your case.


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