A Durable Power of Attorney Can Help Protect Florida Seniors With Dementia from Elder Abuse

A Durable Power of Attorney Can Help Protect Florida Seniors With Dementia from Elder Abuse

Every year millions of adults over age sixty experience some type of abuse. According to the National Council on Aging, elder abuse “includes physical abuse, emotional abuse, sexual abuse, exploitation, neglect, and abandonment. Perpetrators include children, other family members, and spouses—as well as staff at nursing homes, assisted living, and other facilities.”

Adults with dementia, however, experience a much higher rate of elder abuse.

According to the University of California, Irvine Center on Elder Abuse and Neglect, nearly one-in-two seniors with dementia, or roughly forty-seven percent, has been abused.

It defies belief that some people would harm the elderly, much less older adults with cognitive disabilities. Unfortunately, though, it does happen with more and more frequency.

These seniors are especially vulnerable because dementia, which includes Alzheimer’s Disease, can involve impaired memory, communication skills, and judgment.

Further, afflicted seniors are also less likely to report abuse and many might not even realize when abuse is happening to their person.

How can we work to prevent this from occurring to our Florida senior loved ones?

One of the best ways to protect a Florida senior from elder abuse is to proactively obtain a Florida durable power of attorney.

A power of attorney grants a designated person, like an adult child of an aging parent, the legal right to make decisions on his or her behalf. In general, it is one of the most important legal documents adult children of aging seniors can acquire to help a parent. Adding a durability provision ensures that the agreement can remain legally valid should the elder adult become incapacitated at any time.

Powers can be clearly defined, if needed. With respect to finances and health care, however, a durable power of attorney can allow for the hiring and firing of caregivers and health care providers, as well as, the ability to access bank accounts, investments and property, in order to hire professionals and pay bills. Using a watchful eye for signs of abuse, a durable power of attorney can provide the needed authority to act in an elder loved one’s best interests.

Your elder care attorney can also help construct a document that speaks to each family’s specific situation.

He or she can also provide valuable guidance about your Florida senior loved one’s rights should there be concerns about their elder care in the future. Of course, should you ever need to report elder abuse in Florida, do not wait. You can use this link to report abuse in the state of Florida.

We know this article may raise more questions than it answers. Do not wait to ask us your questions about this or any related elder care issue. We are your local community elder law firm here to help you get the support you need for yourself and the Florida seniors you care about.

These Common Medicines May Increase the Risk of Dementia

These Common Medicines May Increase the Risk of Dementia

Every day, millions of Americans take prescription drugs and over-the-counter medicines to treat a variety of ailments ranging from incontinence, to depression, to allergies and more. New research, however, shows that previously unknown risks associated with certain associated drugs may be contributing to elevated rates of dementia in aging adults.

Today, dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease are at near epidemic levels. They currently affect over 50 million people worldwide, and about 10 million more people are diagnosed every year.

Millions of Americans and their families have also been painfully impacted by the devastating effects of dementia. These can include, but not be limited to, severe memory loss and deteriorating judgement, decision making, and behavioral functions. Alzheimer’s Disease alone is the sixth leading cause of death in the United States, and there is no known cure.

Several groundbreaking studies in recent years have shed light on the issue by establishing a compelling link to a class of drugs known as “anticholinergics.” These include highly technical drug names like amitriptyline, dosulepin, and paroxetine, for example, and others like oxybutynin, solifenacin, and tolterodine.

In plain English, these are are used to treat depression and the loss of bladder control.

Other conditions regularly treated with anticholinergic drugs include asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and Parkinson’s disease. Some studies include diphenhydramine, an anticholinergic ingredient in many commonly used antihistamines. Common medicines containing diphenhydramine include Benadryl, Motrin, Midol and Robitussin — although it’s important to note that these medicines have not been shown to cause dementia, only that diphenhydramine has anticholinergic effects. Anticholinergics work by blocking a chemical messenger, or neurotransmitter, called acetylcholine that carries brain signals for controlling muscles.

A new British study found that long-term use of certain anticholinergics is significantly linked to dementia, especially those used to treat depression and Parkinson’s disease. But unlike other studies, it did not find a connection between antihistamines and dementia.

Shockingly, in some cases, a link was established for study participants who took anticholinergic drugs 15-20 years before being diagnosed with dementia. Scientists concluded that such cases reduced the possibility of mere correlation between these drugs and dementia.

While there’s much research to be done, every new study advises both physicians and patients to be vigilant about the use of anticholinergic drugs. We know just how hard it can be when a loved one faces a diagnosis like this. Do not wait to contact our office on this issue or any elder care issue you or a family member may be facing.