“More than 5 million Americans were living with Alzheimer’s disease in 2016.”
The Alzheimer’s Association reports that one in three seniors will die with Alzheimer’s or some other form of dementia. These dramatic numbers mean that, either directly or indirectly, most families will be affected by this disease.
WTTW.com’s recent article, “For Caregivers, Dealing with Dementia Can Be Tough Reality,” explains that for loved ones, the reality of managing the care and financial affairs of a senior with diminished mental capacity can be extremely stressful. Unfortunately, tales of exploitation and abuse are not uncommon.
Doctors say that unusual behavior can be an early sign that a person may be suffering from some form of mental decline or impairment. Examples of this are getting lost while driving in a familiar area or wearing dirty clothes when the senior has previously been meticulous about his or her dress. The symptoms of Alzheimer’s become more apparent as time goes on. This can often be a source of discord among family members, because it’s painful to acknowledge that parents are declining and are not behaving as they used to. This denial sometimes creates tension.
With the cost of care and the burden it frequently puts on the family, communication and preparation are critical. Advance planning can’t be stressed enough, since roughly 60% of family caretakers use a portion of their own funds to cover the cost of care.
Caregiver abuse is also common in financial abuse cases where the typical scenario is an older adult left one-on-one with a 24/7 caregiver. Women sometimes will take advantage of elderly men in what develops into an intimate relationship.
A caregiver often may encourage a vulnerable senior to sign off on things that he or she doesn’t understand. The article noted that under Illinois law, the Elder Abuse and Neglect Act, anyone who has a license issued by the state must report any cases of suspected elder abuse.
Reference: WTTW.com (February 13, 2017) “For Caregivers, Dealing with Dementia Can Be Tough Reality”