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How to Protect Jacksonville Nursing Home Residents with Dementia from Abuse

Nearly 2 million individuals are expected to be in nursing homes by 2030. A significant percentage of the nation’s 6 million adults with dementia will be found in these facilities.

The effects of dementia make elderly adults living with this condition vulnerable to abuse and exploitation in nursing homes. Nursing homes have a duty to prevent abuse, but it often falls to a resident’s loved ones to be vigilant for signs of abuse and to take action if they observe any indications of harm.

How Dementia Affects the Brain

Dementia is a progressive disease of the brain that primarily affects older adults. Early signs of dementia, such as increasing forgetfulness and decreased concentration, can be dismissed simply as signs of getting older. 

However, as the disease progresses, these and other symptoms become more pronounced. The afflicted individual can forget who they are and where they are, who their family members are, and what possessions they own.

In this state, individuals with dementia can be easy prey for bad actors looking to take advantage of their diminished faculties. Physical abuse, sexual abuse, and financial abuse are not uncommon, especially among patients whose loved ones do not visit frequently or do not take an active interest in their welfare.

How to Address Signs of Nursing Home Abuse

If your loved one is in a nursing home, especially if they suffer from any stage of dementia, be alert for signs of abuse and take the following steps: 

Ask About Unexplained Marks and Bruises

If your loved one develops any unusual bruises or injuries, especially on the face, inquire of nursing home staff immediately. If the explanation sounds suspicious, such as claiming a bedridden loved one fell, the true cause may be abuse.

Watch for Missing Money from Your Loved One’s Account

If the nursing home manages your loved one’s money, you should ask to see a statement of your loved one’s financial account regularly. They should maintain an accurate record of any money received or spent by your loved one, including Social Security payments and other benefits they receive. 

If you notice missing money or curious transactions, it may indicate financial abuse.

Take Note of a Sudden Desire to Change Wills, Trusts, or Other Documents

If your loved one insists that they be permitted to change their estate planning documents that benefit someone who is not a family member, you should be concerned. This suggests someone has unduly influenced your loved one and is attempting to exploit them financially. 

Concern is also warranted if your loved one wants to disinherit their beneficiaries or give property away to someone to whom they are not related.

Seek Help if Your Loved One Is Inaccessible to Visitors

Abusers like to isolate their victims from friends and family to make it more difficult for the victim to reach out for help. If you try to see your loved one in the nursing home but are denied access, this could indicate efforts to alienate your loved one from you. 

If you notice any of these signs or suspect abuse is going on, speak with a Jacksonville nursing home abuse lawyer who can help you make a report to the appropriate agencies.

Do Not Ignore Complaints of Abuse 

In addition to these signs, you should not dismiss complaints of abusive behavior your loved one makes just because they have dementia. But even in the absence of any complaints of mistreatment, be invested in your loved one’s welfare and remain alert for signs of abuse. 

The sooner you detect abusive behavior, the sooner it can be stopped and your loved one’s safety protected.

Contact the Jacksonville Nursing Home Abuse Law Firm of Baggett Law Personal Injury Lawyers Today For Help

For more information, please contact the Jacksonville and Ponte Vedra nursing home abuse law firm of Baggett Law Personal Injury Lawyers at the nearest location to schedule a free consultation today.

We serve Duval County, St. Johns County, and its surrounding areas:

Baggett Law Personal Injury Lawyers – Jacksonville
9471 Baymeadows Rd #105,
Jacksonville, FL 32256
(904) 396-1100

Baggett Law Personal Injury Lawyers – Downtown Jacksonville
121 W. Forsyth St. #170
Jacksonville, FL 32202
(904) 822-4225

Baggett Law Personal Injury Lawyers – Ponte Vedra
480 Town Plaza Ave #130,
Ponte Vedra Beach, FL 32081
(904) 675-1167

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