Articles Posted in Preventing Elder Abuse

Dementia is described by the Alzheimer’s Association as “an overall term that describes a wide range of symptoms associated with a decline in memory or other thinking skills severe enough to reduce a person’s ability to perform everyday activities.” Indeed, there are a variety of types of dementia, depending upon the types of brain cells damaged, and where specifically that damage has occurred within the brain.

Regardless of the type of dementia an elder may have, it is important that symptoms are recognized as soon as possible in order to ensure the safety and wellbeing of your loved elder. Even if an elder is receiving care or assistance from a family member, in-home caregiver, or residing in a nursing home or skilled nursing facility, it is still vital to recognize symptoms of mental decline in elders. This is partly due to the fact that unfortunately, it is believed elders who suffer from some form of dementia are thought to be at greater risk for abuse or neglect than elders who do not have some form of dementia.

In fact, according to one research brief released by the NCEA, three different international studies have found that the rates of elder abuse for elders with dementia ranges from 34%-62%.

Symptoms that a loved elder in your life may be developing dementia include cognitive changes and psychological changes. Some of these changes may include:

*Memory loss/problems
*Trouble choosing the right words
*Disorientation or getting lost
*Challenges in planning/organizing
*Coordination or motor function difficulties
*Agitation or paranoia
*Inappropriate behavior
*Lack of proper personal care and poor nutrition/eating habits
*Difficulty sleeping
*Injuries/personal safety problems

If you believe that a loved elder in your life is beginning to show symptoms of dementia, it is important to take action, though it’s advisable to tread lightly, per the helpful website DementiaToday.net, which provides DementiaToday.net for how to talk to a loved elder about your concerns.

If you have reason to believe that a loved elder with dementia is being abused physically, financially, psychologically, or sexually, it is important that you report your suspicions to the proper authorities:

• The local Law Enforcement, including the Police, Sheriff, and District Attorney’s office. The San Diego County Sheriff’s Department can be reached at (858) 565-5200. The San Diego County District Attorney may be reached at (619) 531-4040.
• Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program provide a 24/7 Crisis Complaint Hotline at (800) 231-4024.
• Adult Protective Services (APS), in San Diego County, you may contact: San Diego County Aging and Independent Services (858) 495-5660.

You may also want to seek the advice of an experienced San Diego elder abuse attorney who can inform you and your loved one of your rights.
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Did you know that when you place your relative into a nursing home and the facility receives federal funding from sources, such as Medicare, the residents are entitled to specific rights? The rights stem from federal statutes that were enacted back in the 1980s. Read on to learn about important nursing home rights.

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  1. Right to Dignity and Right to Privacy: The right to dignity applies to all humans, but it’s especially significant in the nursing home setting due to the residents’ enhanced vulnerability. No one deserves to be humiliated, mocked, or belittled. And just because someone moves into a nursing home doesn’t mean that they’re no longer entitled to privacy; staff should not listen to private conversations between residents and visitors, read personal messages, rummage through personal belongings, or post resident content to social media without consent.
  2. Right to be Free from Abuse and Neglect: People shouldn’t be verbally harassed, psychologically intimidated, financially taken advantage of, or physically harmed or neglected. Residents enter nursing homes to be cared for and looked after, not abused.

shutterstock_1317668966-300x200If your parent or loved one lives in a nursing home, you need to check in with them to make sure that they are being treated well by the staff. Unfortunately, residents can be subject to abuse and neglect by the very caregivers that are hired to help them. Other times, these caregivers aren’t committing the abuse themselves, but aren’t adequately protecting them from other resident abusers. This raises the question of how nursing home caregivers are responsible when other parties abuse the residents.

While much attention is concentrated on the nursing home staff abusing residents, there are also instances of the residents suffering abuse at the hands of other residents. According to a 2014 study at Cornell University, one in every five nursing home residents had been impacted by a form of resident-on-resident mistreatment during a four-week span. The mistreatment mostly consisted of verbal abuse, but there were also instances of physical and sexual abuse as well.

 What Contributes to Resident-on-Resident Abuse?

shutterstock_1814268452-300x200Communication is key to any relationship. It is no different when it’s the relationship between nursing home residents and their caregivers. When you place your parent, spouse, or other loved one into a nursing home, you send them there with the expectation that they are in good hands. It is the responsibility of the staff to ensure that their needs are met. A big part of that has to do with talking to the resident; good communication will help put them at ease. This is true for all nursing home residents, but it’s especially critical for those with dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.

Nursing home staffers who interact with residents who have cognitive impairments should have special training in dealing with patients with these types of medical issues. This includes special knowledge of communication techniques because the residents function better with someone who can comprehend their mental limitations. Read on for helpful communication tips that you can use. You can also use this as a guide to watch nursing home staff and whether they are adequately communicating with your loved one.

Communication Tips for Caregivers in Nursing Homes

shutterstock_190175495-300x200If you’re trying to choose a nursing home for your parent or other loved one, don’t forget to think about security considerations. Even if they are already a nursing home resident, you should keep an eye out for possible safety issues.

What Can Happen with a Lack of Security in Nursing Homes?

Being secure in one’s living environment is important for everyone, but living in a nursing home comes with specific challenges. When security measures aren’t properly addressed, it can have dangerous consequences for nursing home residents.

shutterstock_16983095711-300x200Placing a loved one in a nursing home can feel like a great solution. You don’t have to worry about them being home alone where they can’t do things for themselves. However, there are many issues to worry about when they do make the transition to a nursing home. One of the unfortunate things that accompanies these living conditions is the high risk of infection. Read on to learn about why this is such a hazardous environment and what nursing homes should be doing to prevent infections.

Risk Factors for Infections in Nursing Homes

There are various reasons why nursing home residents are likely to get infections, including the following:

shutterstock_1698309571-300x200Nursing home abuse takes place when caregivers harm residents of the facilities. Whether it’s intentional or unintentional, it’s still considered abuse and the consequences can be dire, with the end result of distress, physical pain, medical injuries, or even death in extreme cases. Certain groups are more vulnerable than others when it comes to abuse; like many other types of abuse, victims of nursing home abuse are more likely to be women.

Women are More Likely to be Elder Abuse Victims

For elder abuse in general, studies have shown that individual-level factors which may increase the risk of abuse include the gender of the victim. Women likely have a higher risk of more constant and severe forms of injury and abuse.

shutterstock_264466154-11-300x200The statistics about the frequency of nursing home abuse and neglect are far too common. It doesn’t even take in consideration, the numerous cases that go unreported every year. When it does happen to them, nursing home residents may be reluctant to speak out because they are afraid that reporting it will result in additional abuse. Sometimes victims of abuse carry shame and embarrassment and sometimes they suffer from dementia and other ailments which make it difficult to report the mistreatment. To help protect your relatives and loved ones, you can ask them questions that can get them talking and can result in exposing nursing home abuse.

 Questions about Daily Activities

 It’s important to ask about the residents’ daily activities and whether anyone is interfering with them. When this does occur, it can be considered willful deprivation and shows signs of neglect or a form of emotional abuse that attempts to exert control over individuals. Here are questions to ask:

shutterstock_240339163-300x200When you and your loved one decides that it’s time for them to move into a nursing home, you have likely made the decision based on the difficulty of them staying in their own home. You expect to depend on the care that they will receive from the nursing home staff. On some occasions, your loved one may need additional help that the nursing home can’t directly supply.

When something goes wrong with a nursing home resident, the first course of action is often to treat the problem onsite first. Depending on the level of harm, this may not be enough to treat the resident. The type of medical issues that older people generally have may require more specialized care that makes a visit to the hospital necessary.

This is why efficient hospital care is a pivotal part of an elderly person’s health care management and should be part of the consideration for nursing home residents. Included in this plan is making certain that speedy transportation is readily available.

shutterstock_680112613-300x163Your loved one is having trouble remembering certain facts; they are disoriented and confused about a lot of details. It seems like they may have a condition beyond just aging memory issues and something more akin to developing dementia or Alzheimer’s disease. It’s worth investigating whether your loved one needs Memory Care and if so what to look for in a nursing home that offers this type of specialized care.

What is Memory Care?

Memory Care differs from regular care at nursing homes or assisted living facilities because Memory Care is specifically designed for individuals who suffer from Alzheimer’s or other types of dementia. Unlike an assisted living facility where a resident has enough independence to set their own schedules, (such as deciding when they will eat and when to engage in activities) a Memory Care facility is more like a nursing home in that the resident must have the staff manage their time and attend to their needs very closely.

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