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Alzheimer’s Patients Face Dangers of Elder Abuse

Elderly woman sitting aloneThe ravages of Alzheimer’s Disease on its victims are well-documented. The loss of memory, confusion and decreasing ability to carry out the functions of a normal, productive life are aspects of the condition sadly known to many. Another alarming facet of Alzheimer’s Disease and aging in general is the susceptibility to abuse and financial victimization they can engender in senior citizens.

Alzheimer’s patients face financial concerns

It has been estimated that nursing home care for someone with Alzheimer’s can run upwards of $80,000 annually, and the need can last for ten years, sometimes more. Such expenses can rapidly decimate retirement savings and prove ruinous for seniors lacking long-term care insurance coverage. Making matters worse is the fact that concerns over resources may leave Alzheimer’s and dementia patients vulnerable to financial abuse at the hands of family members and paid caregivers. The insidious nature of this kind of wrongdoing, perpetrated by those entrusted to attend to the needs of loved ones, only compounds the tragedy of these illnesses.

Perhaps the ultimate brand of betrayal, financial abuse of senior citizens can encompass everything from misuse of an elderly individual’s personal funds to crimes such as forgery, embezzlement and false pretenses. Denying seniors access to their accounts or purchasing items without permission are other ways in which caregivers may take advantage of the diminished mental capacity of their elderly charges. Sadly, far too many seniors who have been victimized in this way fail to report these types of offenses, which may not be discovered until it is too late and available funds have been severely depleted or spent in their entirety.

Elder abuse takes many forms

The problem of elder abuse extends well beyond financial matters to include any instance in which a caregiver or family member inflicts physical, sexual, psychological or emotional harm on an older person. Intentional neglect of a senior is a particularly dangerous type of abuse, potentially resulting in injury or even death.

The key to preventing and halting abuse that begins is for families and other concerned parties to remain vigilant and attentive to the signs of mistreatment. Behavioral changes, withdrawal from personal relationships, physical marks, poor hygiene and sudden or severe financial distress are all signals that something is wrong. A willingness to intervene on behalf of seniors suffering abuse is critical to stopping such activity in its tracks.

Elder abuse lawyers in Maine can help

Financial abuse of the elderly and other types of mistreatment of our senior population can having devastating effects for the patients and their families alike. Statistics suggest that approximately 33,000 elderly Mainers suffer some type of elder abuse annually, though very few cases are ever formally reported.

At Hardy, Wolf and Downing, we believe that our elderly friends and neighbors deserve no less than the diligence, expertise and aggressive advocacy we have been providing residents of Bangor, Lewiston and Portland for over 35 years.

To discuss the facts of your case and how you can protect your loved ones against mistreatment, call for a free consultation with a Maine elder abuse lawyer at 1-800-INJURED.

  1. New York Times, In Alzheimer's Cases, Financial Ruin and Abuse Are Always Lurking, www.nytimes.com/2015/01/31/your-money/in-alzheimers-cases-financial-ruin-and-abuse-are-always-lurking.html?_r=0
  2. Consumer Reports, Protecting Mom & Dad's money: What to do when you suspect financial abuse, www.consumerreports.org/cro/magazine/2013/01/protecting-mom-dad-s-money/index.htm
  3. Bangor Daily News, Attorney general forms task force to combat elder financial abuse in Maine, bangordailynews.com/2014/01/31/politics/attorney-general-forms-task-force-to-combat-elder-financial-abuse-in-maine/