Elderly individuals who suffer from cognitive decline, including dementia, are sometimes placed in secure units to help ensure they don’t wonder off or get into any dangerous situations. Unfortunately, this can also place them at an increased risk of suffering from abuse or neglect because they don’t have the contact with others that’s common in other areas of the long-term care facility.
One particularly difficult type of abuse that you have to worry about with dementia residents is emotional abuse. Some of the symptoms of dementia and signs of emotional abuse are the same. For example, the person might seem withdrawn because of the dementia, but this is also a sign that they are being abused.
Some other signs of emotional abuse include becoming agitated or depressed. They may suck on things, mumble or rock. One huge red flag is if staff members seem to hover around your loved one when you visit or refuse to let you see them unless a caregiver is present.
Physical abuse is another possibility. You can watch for signs of this occurring. Bruising, cuts and other marks are common. Broken eyeglasses, frequent falls and bone fractures are also possible. In some cases, the physical abuse will include the illegal use of restraints, which can leave marks on the wrists and ankles.
Memory care residents might have trouble relaying information about what’s going on at the nursing facility, according to CBS. This makes it much more difficult to find out what’s going on, but you have to ensure you’re vigilant watching for signs that something is amiss so you can take action.