If a family member is trying to take advantage of a person with dementia, it is important to take action to protect the person with dementia and prevent any further harm. Here are some steps you can take:
- Talk to the person with dementia: If the person is able to understand and communicate, talk to them about what is happening and let them know that you are there to help.
- Talk to the family member: Speak to the family member who is trying to take advantage of the person with dementia and let them know that their behavior is not acceptable. They may not be aware that what they are doing is wrong.
- Consult with a healthcare professional: Speak to the person’s doctor, social worker, or other healthcare professional to discuss the situation and get advice on what to do. They may be able to refer you to other resources or support services.
- Consult with a legal professional: If necessary, consult with a lawyer who has experience in elder law to explore legal options for protecting the person with dementia.
- Report the abuse: If you suspect that the person with dementia is being abused or exploited, report it to the appropriate authorities. This may include adult protective services, law enforcement, or other agencies in your area.
- Seek support: Caring for a person with dementia can be stressful and emotionally challenging. Seek support from a support group or counselor to help you cope with the situation.
- Build a support network: Reach out to other family members, friends, or caregivers who can provide emotional support and help you take care of the person with dementia. This can help you avoid feeling overwhelmed or burnt out, and can also provide a buffer against any potential abuse or exploitation.
- Establish clear boundaries: Be clear with the family member who is trying to take advantage of the person with dementia about what is and is not acceptable behavior. Set boundaries and communicate them firmly and consistently. For example, you might say, “I understand that you want to help, but I do not want you to handle any financial matters for Mom/Dad.”
- Involve the person with dementia in decision-making: Whenever possible, involve the person with dementia in decisions that affect their life. This can help them feel more in control and can also help prevent others from making decisions for them without their input.
- Monitor financial accounts: Keep an eye on the person with dementia’s financial accounts and transactions. If you notice any suspicious activity, investigate it immediately and take action to prevent further abuse.
- Educate yourself: Learn as much as you can about dementia and its effects. This can help you better understand the person’s behavior and needs, and can also help you recognize and prevent potential abuse or exploitation.
- Consider legal options: In some cases, it may be necessary to take legal action to protect the person with dementia from abuse or exploitation. Consult with a lawyer who specializes in elder law to explore your options.
It is imperative and extremely important that in the pursuit of protection of your loved one with dementia that you take action as soon as possible to protect the person with from harm or being taken advantage of as early as possible!