A Look at Nursing Home Abuse During Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month
By Zachary Mushkatel on November 24, 2015
Given that November is National Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month, now is a particularly good time to think more carefully about the risks of nursing home abuse and how it can impact patients with this progressive illness.
If you have a parent or loved one who is suffering from Alzheimer’s disease or another form of dementia, it is especially important to understand the risks of nursing home abuse and neglect and to know how to identify injuries.
When our elderly parents need more care than we are able to provide, we should be able to trust that a nursing home in Scottsdale or any other Arizona city offers a level of attention to a patient’s needs that we cannot do on our own.
However, nursing home abuse occurs more often than most Arizona residents would like to believe. Indeed, news agencies frequently report on the abuse of Alzheimer’s patients in nursing homes and other assisted living facilities. These harms commonly occur at the hands of those who are supposed to provide comfort and care.
Being able to recognize the symptoms of elder abuse and neglect are essential to curbing these incidents. More importantly, if you suspect that someone you love has been the victim of abuse or neglect in a nursing home, you should get in touch with an experienced Phoenix elder law attorney as soon as possible.
November is Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month
Since the early 1980s, November has been a month for national efforts to publicize issues surrounding Alzheimer’s disease. In 1983, under two million Americans suffered from this form of dementia. With the rising number of seniors throughout the country, however, that number has climbed to about 5.4 million people.
What are some of the important facts that everyone should know about Alzheimer’s disease?
According to Alzheimers.net, the following represent key facts and figures about this debilitating disease:
- Around 44 million people across the world currently suffer from Alzheimer’s disease, but only about 25 percent have been diagnosed.
- Alzheimer’s disease, along with other forms of dementia, represents the “top cause for disabilities in later life.”
- In the U.S. alone, the cost of care for Alzheimer’s patients will total around $226 billion in 2015, with approximately $44 billion coming out of pocket.
- One out of every nine Americans (or 11 percent) age 65 and older suffers from Alzheimer’s disease, while one-third of Americans older than age 85 suffer from it.
- More than five million Americans currently are living with Alzheimer’s disease.
Recognizing Signs of Elder Abuse and Nursing Home Neglect
In addition to November being National Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month, it is also National Family Caregivers Month. If you are no longer in a position to care for an elderly loved one with dementia, it is important to be able to recognize signs and symptoms of abuse or neglect if the relative is living in a nursing home.
According to a fact sheet from the National Center on Elder Abuse (NCEA) and the Administration on Aging (AOA), almost 50 percent of older adults with dementia have been injured by caregiver mistreatment. The AOA lists some of the following signs and symptoms to look for:
- Pressure marks
- Broken bones
- Poor hygiene
- Unexplained weight loss
- Sudden changes in emotional behavior
Our Arizona Elder Abuse Lawyers Can Help You
At Mushkatel, Robbins & Becker, PLLC, we understand that finding a reliable nursing home for your loved one can be a stressful process. While many facilities provide the level of care that our elderly parents should have, it is all too common for patients with Alzheimer’s disease to become victims of nursing home abuse.
If you have questions about your loved one’s health or safety, do not hesitate to discuss your concerns with our experienced Arizona lawyers. Contact us today to learn more about how we can assist you.
Zachary Mushkatel is an Arizona native who earned his undergraduate degree from the University of Arizona in 2001 and his law degree from the University of Minnesota Law School in 2004. After serving as a public defender, he entered into private practice and, ultimately, joined forces with Mathis Becker to form the law firm known today as Mushkatel, Robbins & Becker, PLLC. In addition to criminal law, Mushkatel practices civil litigation, with a focus on estate litigation and personal injury cases. He also serves on the Board of Directors for the Surprise Regional Chamber of Commerce and Sun Valley Lodge, and he is an executive officer and member of the Board of Directors for the West Maricopa County Bar Association.