A recent study from the University of California, Irvine, examined the treatment of the elderly who have been diagnosed with Alzheimers or similar disorders. Shockingly, the study found that nearly half of the elderly individuals had suffered from mistreatment by their caregivers. The research is only the latest example of the prevalence of elder abuse throughout the country.
The study involved observation of 129 elderly residents and their caregivers. Throughout the study, a panel met each month to sift through the observations and data to make determinations about the degree of psychological abuse, physical abuse, and neglect. Overall, 47% of caregivers were found to have abused their patients in one form or more, with psychological abuse being the most prevalent.
The researchers discovered that the best indicator of mistreatment was examination of the behavior of the dementia sufferer toward the caregiver. Mistreatment was most likely to have occurred when the elderly resident exhibited psychological and physical aggression toward the caregiver (i.e. pushing, shoving, and swearing at the caregiver). The physical, emotional, and psychological damage caused by the mistreatment is difficult to ever reverse.