When you have a loved one who has dementia, it can sometimes be difficult to tell the truth from fiction. People with dementia may lash out unexpectedly, and they often get confused. Since that's the case, it can be difficult to know if someone is really hurting your loved one or if he or she is just "seeing" that happen in a kind of dream state.
Since your loved one will likely have trouble telling you if something is wrong, you are the person who needs to monitor their care. People with dementia are at risk of being abused because of being in a vulnerable state. However, by knowing the warning signs of elder abuse, you can take steps to help your loved one escape any dangerous situation. Here are three signs to watch out for:
1. Emotional abuse
Emotional abuse is one of the hardest types to identify, but it's possible. Watch how caretakers interact with your loved one. Monitor your loved one's actions and see if they start withdrawing from activities they used to enjoy. A major sign of abuse would be if a caretaker refuses you access to your loved one. This is generally not legal.
Neglect is easier to recognize because of the outward signs. Body odor, unusual weight loss or malnutrition, unsanitary living conditions and untreated illnesses and injuries can all point to neglect.
3. Physical abuse
Typical signs of physical abuse range from your loved one's items being broken to bruising showing that your loved one was restrained. Unexplained injuries of any kind demand an explanation.
Nursing homes and assisted living facilities are meant to provide care to your loved one -- not to put them in harm's way. Our site has more on what to do if your loved one has been hurt in an assisted living facility.