When an older adult becomes a resident of a memory care facility, there are certain expectations that both the resident and their loved ones have concerning the care that they will receive. Perhaps the primary expectation that new residents and their loved ones have is that the facility will serve as a safe environment that will successfully meet the resident’s needs.
All too often, this expectation isn’t met. Memory care patients are particularly vulnerable to various forms of abuse and neglect for a number of reasons. First, they are not always trusted to act as reliable narrators. Abusers count on the reality that even if a memory care patient can articulate their distress (many patients eventually lose this ability) that they won’t be believed.
Additionally, memory conditions manifest in ways that often – innocuously – mirror many of the warning signs of abuse or neglect. For example, if a memory care patient starts dramatically dropping weight, an abusive caregiver can simply insist that the patient is – as is common with memory disorders – struggling to swallow much nutrition.
What can loved ones do?
Given how challenging it can be to accurately identify when abuse of memory care residents is occurring, loved ones may understandably feel helpless to protect vulnerable residents. Yet, it is important to understand that resources exist that address this very challenge.
If you’re concerned that your loved one may be suffering as a result of abuse or neglect, don’t hesitate to seek guidance from a professional who can discreetly investigate whatever your loved one’s circumstances may be.
Abuse and neglect are isolating forces, for both the victim and their loved ones. If something truly feels wrong but you cannot verify your suspicions either way, it’s time to seek assistance. By pushing back against the isolating nature of your situation, you can potentially save your loved one from additional suffering.