Protecting Seniors

How to Recognize Signs of Abuse in a Person with Alzheimer's

March 22, 2022

How to Recognize Signs of Abuse in a Person with Alzheimer's | Aspiriant Wealth Management

When a loved one is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, it takes time for the family to learn what the “normal” behaviors and activities look like. In addition, this disease causes changes that develop over time, resulting in a situation where the person is very different than they were in the past.

Unfortunately, Alzheimer’s abuse cases can go unrecognized and unreported because the person isn’t able to communicate when something is going wrong. Since the person can’t tell others about the abuse, it puts the responsibility on family members to watch for potential.

How Abuse Affects Patients with Alzheimer’s Disease

Since Alzheimer’s disease makes a patient easily confused, the person might be a target for abuse. They might not even realize they are being abused or ridiculed.

The mental and medical decline with Alzheimer’s disease means that the victim might not remember that the abuse occurred. Or, if they have a memory of it, they might not understand specific events. When a person loses the ability to communicate, it’s more difficult for family members to know that something is going on.

Visiting and Monitoring a Loved One with Alzheimer’s

Ideally, family members should visit a loved one regularly to observe their physical, mental and emotional health. When you are in the person’s living environment, you can see the level of care they are receiving. Also, watch for unusual changes in behavior, mood or health that could be signs of neglect or abuse.

Common indicators of abuse include:

  • Dehydration
  • Malnutrition
  • Rapid decline in cognitive function
  • Depression or withdrawal
  • Sudden, unexplained deterioration in physical health
  • Cuts or bruises
  • Broken bones
  • Missing valuables
  • Unexplained financial transactions

Proactive Approach to Protect Your Loved Ones

When family members are involved in a person’s life, there is a better chance of identifying signs of abuse in the earlier stages. Talk with loved ones and other caregivers, so you have a plan in place to protect vulnerable family members.

Paul Hynes
Paul Hynes

Director in Wealth Management, Partner

Paul joined Aspiriant in 2021 via a merger with HearthStone Private Wealth Management, the San Diego firm he co-founded with business partner, Wendy Wildey. Paul serves as a Director in Wealth Management and Aspiriant partner. Paul also directs the fiduciary investment services team at Aspiriant. He brings more than 35 years of experience in the financial services industry.

Prior to joining the firm, Paul served 11 years as president and CEO of HearthStone. Before that, he spent 22 years with a large Wall Street brokerage firm. During that time, the firm changed its name 13 times and is currently known as Morgan Stanley.

Paul earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology from the University of Virginia. He earned the right to use the Certified Financial PlannerTM Professional designation in 2012. Paul founded Senior Safe & Sound, a non-profit educational resource and video library that seeks to educate and empower senior citizens and those they love to prevent elder fraud and abuse. He serves on the Investment Advisory Board of United Way of San Diego, as well as several other non-profit boards and committees.

Paul and his wife of over 40 years, Joanie, are empty nesters after raising two incredible and wonderful humans, Chris and Lauren. Together they enjoy sports of all kinds — currently golf, tennis and pickleball are favorites. They also enjoy travel, wine tasting and reading.

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