When individuals who are suffering from memory disorders become residents at long-term care facilities, they are uniquely vulnerable when it comes to suffering from abuse, neglect and exploitation.
As a result, the loved ones of memory care residents need to be especially knowledgeable about the signs of mistreatment and especially vigilant about seeking legal guidance in the event that it seems that something is truly amiss.
Their unique circumstances leave openings for abuse
Memory care residents, who typically have Alzheimer’s disease or other forms of dementia, are particularly vulnerable to abuse and neglect due to several factors:
- Cognitive impairments: It can be challenging for memory care patients to communicate and advocate for themselves. They may struggle to remember incidents of abuse or neglect or have difficulty expressing their concerns or discomfort. This vulnerability can make it easier for them to be exploited or mistreated.
- Dependence on caregivers: Memory care residents rely heavily on caregivers for their daily needs, including personal care, medication management and basic activities of daily living. This dependency creates a power imbalance, with the caregivers largely in control. Unfortunately, some caregivers may abuse this power and neglect their responsibilities, leading to instances of abuse and neglect.
- Communication challenges: Memory care residents may have difficulty expressing their needs, emotions or experiences due to their cognitive decline. They may struggle to talk about abuse or neglect, making it more difficult for others to recognize and address their concerns. This communication barrier can further exacerbate their vulnerability and limit their ability to seek help or report mistreatment.
Loved ones need to keep a close watch on a memory care patient’s physical and emotional well-being. In the event that something seems wrong, seeking legal guidance is generally a good idea, as it may be all that stands between a vulnerable adult and additional mistreatment.