The nursing home abuse cases I see, as an elder abuse lawyer Memphis TN trusts, are heartbreaking. The decision to put a loved one into an assisted living facility is anything but easy. When you’re forced to make that difficult choice, you want to believe they’re in trusted hands.

Too often, that is not the case. At least 10 million seniors are victims of elder abuse or neglect every year, and there are many more cases that go unreported. According to the National Council on Aging, 1 in 10 seniors age 60 and older have been abused.

Perhaps more heartbreaking, it’s the most vulnerable who are at the greatest risk. Elders with dementia are affected disproportionately; one study reports that 50% of dementia patients are abused. We can see why: as their condition progresses, and their cognitive function declines, they may not be able to even recognize or report their abusers.

Why does elder abuse frequently affect dementia and Alzheimer’s patients?

In addition to the decline in cognitive function, Alzheimer’s patients are often isolated, as are their caregivers. They typically have few visitors and do not frequently leave the house. Caregivers have almost unrestricted access to their patients and lack supervision.

Abuse comes in many different forms.

Elder abuse does not always look like we assume it would. It can be physical, psychological, or financial. It can take the form of pressure ulcers or dehydration.

Here are the primary types of abuse against elders:

  • Physical abuse: hitting, kicking, pushing, slapping, or burning
  • Emotional or psychological abuse: verbal or nonverbal behavior that inflicts fear, anguish, or distress.
  • Neglect: a caregiver’s failure to provide for an older adult’s fundamental needs, including food, water, hygiene, and medical care
  • Financial: Illegally or inappropriately using an elder’s money or assets

What to do if you suspect a loved one with or without dementia is the victim of abuse.

You can never be too cautious if you see any signs of elder abuse. Here is what to do.

  • Take whatever immediate action you can — fire and report an abusive caregiver, move your loved one out of an abusive or neglectful assisted living facility, or cut off contact with an abusive family member.
  • In an emergency situation, call 911 or your local Adult Protective Services agency.
  • Get in touch with an experienced elder abuse lawyer in Memphis TN. At Darrell Castle & Associates, we put all of our resources into elder abuse cases. Our goal is not only to recover monetary damages for the elder’s losses, but also to ensure this behavior will not happen again. Call (901) 327-2100 today.