According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), just over 50 percent of nursing home residents have been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia.
These residents have unique needs that require knowledgeable caregivers. Unfortunately, these patients are at a higher risk of abuse or neglect in nursing homes because of their illness.
If your elderly loved one has experienced abuse or neglect in a nursing home, contact D’Amico &Pettinicchi. Our New Haven nursing home abuse lawyers will work to protect your loved one, and assist you in taking action to hold responsible parties accountable.
Dementia is an illness that causes a person’s mental capacity to decline over time. It causes difficultly in performing simple tasks, recalling information and communication.
Symptoms of Dementia
Dementia causes a wide range of symptoms, that often vary among residents in nursing homes. They may present as mild in the beginning, but usually become worse over time.
Dementia is diagnosed when a person experiences significant impairment in two of these areas of cognitive function:
- Judgement and reasoning
- Language and communication
- Visual perception
Dementia progresses over time, and patients typically experience seven stages:
- Stage one: No memory loss or mental challenges are present, and normal functioning is intact.
- Stage two: Limited symptoms start to appear, such as difficulty remembering certain events or memories.
- Stage three: Symptoms increase, and the patient may have problems performing at work, concentrating and choosing correct words. This is typically the stage where dementia is first noticed.
- Stage four: Symptoms become more severe, and the patient may withdraw from friends and family due to difficulty socializing. Physicians can begin to detect cognitive issues.
- Stage five: Patients experience significant memory deficits. Assistance may be required for daily activities. Memory loss increases.
- Stage six: Care is required for daily activities. Names of family members and close friends may be forgotten, and short-term memory is impacted. Speech declines.
- Stage seven: Communication and speech is essentially lost. Assistance is needed for almost all activities. Psychomotor skills, including walking, are often lost.
About Alzheimer’s Disease
Alzheimer’s disease is a form of dementia causing cognitive difficulties, memory loss and behavioral issues. There is no cure for Alzheimer’s disease, and it is the most common form of dementia.
Symptoms of Alzheimer’s Disease
Alzheimer’s disease symptoms typically show slowly, though they may increase quickly as the disease progresses. Common symptoms include:
- Memory loss regarding new information
- Mood and behavioral changes
- Unfounded suspicion
Alzheimer’s Disease Stages
Alzheimer’s disease patients move through three stages as the disease progresses. Each stage affects patients differently and progresses until the person is incapacitated.
Early-Stage or Mild Alzheimer’s Disease
Patients in this stage are often independent, but experience mild cognitive impairment. Symptoms include:
- Not recalling the right words or names
- Misusing words
- Problems recalling names of new people
- Issues performing work tasks
- Issues engaging socially
- Trouble planning or organizing
- Misplacing valuables or important items
Middle-Stage or Moderate Alzheimer’s Disease
This stage is the longest and can extend for many years. Symptoms become more apparent and include:
- Inability to recall personal history
- Mood changes
- Problems recalling personal details or information like address or phone numbers
- Changes in behavior and personality
- Confusion about location, time or date
- Incontinence issues
- Abrupt sleep changes
- Wandering or eloping from a nursing home
Late-Stage or Severe Alzheimer’s Disease
In this final stage, the patient typically loses control over his or her abilities, both physical and cognitive. Communication is severely impacted, and full-time assistance is required for daily tasks. Symptoms include:
- Total unawareness of surroundings
- Vulnerability to infection
- No recall of recent events
- Inability to communicate
- In ability to perform physical activities
Dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease Patients at Increased Risk for Abuse
Sadly, nursing home residents suffering from dementia or Alzheimer’s disease are at a higher risk of abuse than other residents because of their illness.
Dementia greatly impacts a person’s communication skills, so the resident becomes unable to report abusive incidents or remember they occurred.
These residents are often susceptible to abuse such as:
- Physical abuse
- Emotional abuse
- Sexual abuse
- Financial abuse
In many cases, family members or loved ones are the ones who identify abuse or neglect in nursing homes. When familiar with a resident’s behaviors and personality, these people may observe changes that indicate abuse may be occurring, such as:
- Bruises, burns and cuts
- Poor hygiene
- Unexplained weight loss
- Bruising in the genital area
- Sudden mood swings or depression
- Arguments between the resident and caregivers
- Changes in resident finances
If you suspect your loved one has suffered abuse or neglect in a nursing home, report the incident to the proper Connecticut authorities. Once abuse is reported, consult our legal team to learn if legal action may be appropriate in your loved one’s situation.
Contact Our Watertown Nursing Home Abuse Attorneys
Due to their incapacity, dementia and Alzheimer’s disease patients living in nursing homes are often the unfortunate victims of abuse.
The nursing home abuse lawyers at D’Amico & Pettnicchi have advocated for victims for more than 25 years. We will give your family a voice and help you gain justice against negligent caregivers.
Schedule a free, no obligation consultation and learn what legal options are available to hold responsible parties liable. We work on contingency only, and payment is only required if we are successful in representing your case.