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COVID-19 Effects Could Lead to Alzheimer’s Disease

COVID-19 Effects Could Lead to Alzheimer’s DiseaseA new study that was published this past July found that there actually could be a direct link between COVID-19 and Alzheimer's disease. This study examined over 6 million electronic health records of men and women over the age of 65 in great detail.

While researchers did not think that the results showed COVID-19 specifically causing Alzheimer's, they think that the long-lasting damage it does can eventually create a link between the two. When not factoring in the influence of COVID-19, Alzheimer's is said to affect nearly five out of every 1,000 seniors. But according to this new study, it is said that seven out of every 1,000 seniors will be diagnosed with Alzheimer's within one year of having COVID-19.

One of the study's authors even mentioned that they are aware that COVID-19 affects the brain. However, they were not aware until now how that it can actually contribute to developing Alzheimer's later on—and so quickly at that. While more research does need to be done in order to further validate these initial findings, it does bring up some additional concerns.

Seniors with dementia need to find compassionate, stable care

People live their lives taking care of themselves, but as they get older, it can become more difficult. When this happens, a lot of families would prefer to care for their loved ones without the help of a third party, but it sometimes just is not possible. Most people work, are still taking care of children, or just do not know how to give quality care.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that there are “about 5.8 million people in the United States have Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias, including 5.6 million aged 65 and older and about 200,000 under age 65 with younger-onset Alzheimer’s.” With Alzheimer's disease affecting so many senior citizens in the United States, it is important that these people find appropriate medical care. Because dementia affects the brain, there is no one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to how to care for these patients. Each individual person requires an individual treatment plan, depending on their age and what stage of the disease they are in.

Dementia patients often require around-the-clock care or supervision as they can easily get confused and suffer an episode while the caretaker is not aware. This poses a huge risk to the patients themselves. Providing an experienced caretaker for those with any type of dementia could relieve a lot of the burden that is on their families. At the same time, it is so important to find someone who will care for them like family.

Nursing home complaints are on the rise in Chicago

According to the United States Department of Health and Human Services, the number of complaints filed against nursing homes have steadily climbed from 2016-2018. In 2018 alone, there were nearly 5,800 complaints just within the state of Illinois, and the trend does not look to be slowing down. While nursing homes are intended to be safe places where patients can comfortably live as they are being properly cared for, it is unfortunately not always the case. Nursing home abuse is very real and very prevalent even in today's world.

According to the National Council on Aging (NCOA), elder abuse affects over 5 million senior citizens per year. If that number does not seem scary enough, it could likely be even higher since abuse in nursing homes does not always get reported. The NCOA goes on to say that nearly half of those with Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia experience some type of abuse. Some of the most common types are:

  • Physical abuse
  • Sexual abuse
  • Emotional abuse
  • Confinement
  • Passive neglect
  • Willful deprivation
  • Financial exploitation

How to choose the best care facility

Knowing that your loved ones could be treated so poorly while in another’s care makes it that much more difficult to find the perfect place for them. Since it is so important, do not rely on only yourself to do all the hard work when there are other resources available. Talk to doctors, friends, or your social worker if you have one to get their personal recommendations on facilities. This will help narrow down the pool of options. And once you have some final candidates, be sure to schedule tours where you can visit the facility and ask more detailed questions. As you are doing this, be on the lookout for some major red flags:

  • High number of COVID-related deaths. This could mean caretakers are not provided with proper PPE equipment or do not have enough safety protocols in place.
  • Limited morning activities. If you notice the majority of residents are still in bed by the afternoon, it could be an indicator that there are not enough employees to take care of their patients.
  • Inspection complaints. Nursing homes go through an inspection every year where they will be thoroughly checked out. You can request a copy of the annual survey as well as copies of complaint investigations. Keep in mind that any complaint which led to an investigation could be a clear red flag.
  • Unclean living conditions. Anything from the smell of urine to overflowing trash cans and unclean food trays left in rooms could be signs of understaffing. Basic sanitary guidelines should very easily be followed, and it is a huge red flag if they are not.

If your loved one has been the victim of elder abuse in a nursing home, Gainsberg Law, P.C. may be able to help. Let our attorneys do the hard work to secure financial compensation for their pain and suffering. Having a loved one battle an injury or struggle to maintain their mental health as a result of nursing home abuse in Chicago can be devastating, and you may feel like you have nowhere to turn. But our experienced injury attorneys at Gainsberg Law, P.C. can help. Call our office at 312-600-9585, or complete our contact form today. Our consultations are always free. Serving all of Chicagoland and Cook County.