November is Alzheimer’s Awareness Month. There are more than 5 million Americans who have been diagnosed Alzheimer’s. Approximately 40% of people over age 65 experience some form of memory loss and symptoms become progressively more severe as age increases. There is currently no cure for Alzheimer’s, the most common cause of dementia, but research is showing that diet, exercise, mental activities and social interactions can help increase brain health.

Common signs of dementia include: memory loss, misplacing things, unable to retrace steps, difficulty planning, taking longer to solve problems, experiencing changes in mood or personality, or becoming confused as to where one is or as to time and date.

If you suspect that you or a loved one is exhibiting signs of Alzheimer’s and/or dementia, you can find more information at the Alzheimer’s Association website.


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June 15th is recognized as World Elder Abuse Awareness Day. This day was designated to raise awareness of the many issues involving abuse and neglect of older persons, some of the most vulnerable people in society. The International Network for the Prevention of Elder Abuse and the World Health Organization (WHO) at the United Nations (UN) worked together to establish this day of awareness.

According to the National Council on Aging, at least 10 percent of older adults have suffered from elder abuse. The UN’s International Plan of Action recognizes elder abuse as a public health as well as human rights issue.

Elder abuse includes physical, psychological, emotional, or sexual abuse, as well as neglect, abandonment, and financial exploitation. By establishing the Elder Abuse Awareness Day, the goal is to create a call-to-action for people and organizations to further raise awareness about elder abuse and neglect.


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According Kaiser Health News, an analysis of nursing home financial records revealed that nearly three-quarters of all nursing homes in the U.S. are owned by people who also have vested interest in companies that in turn sell services and goods to these same nursing homes.

These business dealings are known as “related party transactions.” These transactions enable a nursing home owner to arrange contracts with their related businesses above a more competitive price, allowing them to turn around and siphon off the extra profit.


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A caregiver may face the overwhelming decision to place a loved one in a nursing home after a sudden event such as a fall or a stroke. Sometimes, there is more time to prepare, as in cases where the loved one suffers from a chronic or debilitating disease, including diseases where the patient is expected to deteriorate over time.

Once a loved one is safely tucked into a nursing home bed, a caregiver may feel a sense of relief. However, nursing home staff members are notoriously overburdened with the everyday tasks involved in caring for their elderly patients. Nonetheless, it is the responsibility of nursing home staff and management to ensure that each resident receives the care he or she needs.


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When a loved one moves into a nursing home, staff members have a duty to continually provide the resident with the appropriate level of nursing care, medical care and personal attention.

Nursing home staff members are responsible for the residents’ well-being and are required to report all signs of abuse or neglect, including those arising from resident-to-resident interactions.

One form of abuse or neglect that may be overlooked by staff members is senior bullying.
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Just this week the New Jersey Attorney General, Christopher Porrino, and the Division of Consumer Affairs announced an exciting new program to protect individuals from the abuses of home healthcare providers. It is called the Safe Care Cam program and the purpose of the program is to provide micro-surveillance cameras for free 30 day loans to families that suspect an in-home care giver is abusing or neglecting their loved one.

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Special kudos to the Reading Eagle on its recent series on nursing homes – in particular the editorial We Must Demand Better from Nursing Homes, Regulators, published on December 11, 2016. For those of us who work hard to hold nursing home corporations accountable when seniors are neglected, abused, seriously injured, or die, this series of articles is a vindication.

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In our practice, we represent individuals, who are often diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and dementia, and their families. It is not uncommon for individuals with Alzheimer’s and dementia suffer from poor safety awareness and poor decision making. This can lead to devastating results and injuries if a nursing home does not properly care for the resident’s

Urinary Tract Infections (UTI) can be a serious problem for the elderly in nursing homes. Those afflicted with UTIs can have delusions, dementia-like symptoms, and will feel the urge to urinate all the time. This can be a recipe for disaster for a person that requires help to get to the bathroom. Many serious and

I’ve written before about how important it is to know what prescription medications are being administered in nursing homes and long term rehab facilities. Many do not have good efficacy, may be dangerous, or may cause problems when mixed with other medications. A new study indicates it is now also important to find out what over the counter (OTC) medications are being given.

The study, reported in the Observer, showed a link between certain medications in the class called anticholinergics and cognitive impairment in the elderly. OTC medications in this class include Dimetapp, Dramamine, Benadryl, and Unisom. This class of medications also includes the prescription medications Toviaz, Paxil and Seroquel. In the study, people using these types of medicines exhibited reduced brain function and increased brain atrophy. Specifically, the study showed that use of these meds affected immediate memory recall and cognition, and may also induce cell death.


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