Studies show repeatedly that seniors with cognitive injuries–dementia and Alzheimer’s–are far more likely to face neglect and abuse. Our own work as Chicago elder neglect lawyers mirrors that, as we have worked with many local residents and their families following various incidents which were affected in one way or another by a resident’s degenerative brain injury.
As the country ages, more and more seniors continue to face these conditions. In the future years and decades providing better (and safer) care to those with these injuries will become even more imperative. That will likely include better caregiver training and dissemination on alternative ways to provide care beyond excessive medicating and the use of chemical restraints.
Also, it is important for researchers to continue their work understanding how Alzheimer’s develops and possible ways to minimize the consequences. Fortunately, researchers have been working on these issues with more vigor recently and some new information in emerging which may one day help tackle the problem.
For example, a recent study from UC Davis suggests that vascular brain damage can lead to Alzheimer’s. Ultimately, this suggests that controlling blood pressure while younger may ultimately improve one’s long-term health and limit the risk of developing Alzheimer’s later in life. The research was published in the most recent edition of the JAMA Neurology journal.
Perhaps most notably, these findings fly in the face of older work which connected Alzheimer’s to the build-up of “amyloid brain plaques.” However, that may not be the case. One author explained, “It was really very clear that the amyloid had very little effect, but the vascular brain injury had distinctly negative effects.”
Though it is important not to consider this single study as conclusive. If anything, it will spur other efforts to better explain if vascular brain injury is the cause of the long-term harm, whether brain plaques still play a role, or both. Once this cause is better understood, treatments can likely be tailored and patients can be better educated on the ways to lower their risks.
Legal Help for Neglect of Alzheimer’s Patients
Whatever researchers ultimately learn about this condition, local families right now should remember that there is simply never an excuse for abuse or neglect of seniors with cognitive mental conditions. Sadly, mistreatment continues to occur on a wide scale in so many settings–from the senior’s own home to skilled nursing facilities. Because of the consequences of the injury, some seniors who have these dementias may be more difficult to properly care for. But the increased difficulty is not an excuse for cut corners and different caregiving strategies that minimize their quality of life or open them up to increased risk of injury.
All too often Alzheimer’s residents are allowed to wander, left alone for extended periods of time, and face serious (sometimes life ending) falls. In addition, these residents are more likely to be given excessive medications that put them in a stupor and limit their ability to meaningfully interact with the world around them. This is improper care. If your loved one was handled in this way, please take action and ensure changes are made. They may include talking with caregivers, administrators, and, if necessary, visiting with an Illinois nursing home neglect lawyer to share your story.
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