What Are the Warning Signs of Neglect at My Loved One’s Memory Care Center?

Posted on behalf of Jeff Pitman on July 10, 2024 in Nursing Home Abuse

elderly woman in wheelchairDo you have a loved one living in a memory care facility? Are you considering this type of care for a family member suffering from Alzheimer’s or dementia?

If you answered “yes” to either question, you need to know the warning signs of neglect of memory care residents. One of the major risk factors for neglect in long-term care is severe cognitive decline.

In this blog, our Wisconsin nursing home abuse attorneys discuss the red flags for elder neglect at a memory care center. We will also address common examples of neglect and what you can do to protect your loved one.

If your loved one was neglected or abused at a memory care facility or other long-term care facility, contact our firm to discuss legal action. We have a proven history of securing compensation in nursing home neglect cases and charge zero upfront fees.

Call today to schedule a free consultation at 414-333-3333.

What Is a Memory Care Facility?

A memory care facility specializes in caring for residents who have memory-related conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease or other forms of dementia. Staff members are trained to address the unique needs of individuals with memory impairment and focus on maintaining their quality of life and well-being.

Memory Loss Disorders and Their Impact

Memory care centers take care of elderly individuals suffering from various memory loss disorders. Severe cognitive declines prevent these individuals from taking care of their basic needs:

Alzheimer’s Disease

This is a progressive neurodegenerative disorder that impairs memory, cognition and daily functions. The disease starts with memory loss and eventually causes many other symptoms, including:

  • Confusion
  • Changes in mood and behavior
  • Impaired judgment
  • Difficulty speaking
  • Trouble walking
  • Trouble responding to their environment

Residents suffering from this disease need significant care to protect their physical safety and ensure their overall health.


Dementia is used to describe a group of symptoms that affect cognitive function, memory and behavior. Alzheimer’s is a form of dementia, as are:

  • Vascular dementia
  • Lewy body dementia

Early symptoms of dementia include forgetfulness and confusion. This can progress to problems communicating, reasoning and caring for yourself. Dementia patients also experience a change in their mood and personality, such as increased irritability, along with impaired social skills. Patients may also experience hallucinations and impaired motor function. While aging increases the risk of dementia, dementia is not a normal part of getting older.

Huntington’s Disease

Huntington’s disease affects memory, movement and behavior. Patients may also experience serious emotional problems and loss of the ability to think. Symptoms typically appear between ages 30 and 50, worsening over time.

Stroke-related Memory Impairment

Residents with stroke-related memory impairment may have trouble expressing themselves and paying attention to conversations.

Parkinson’s Disease

Some may mistakenly think Parkinson’s is a form of dementia. However, Parkinson’s often leads to dementia. The disease starts off by causing slow and uncontrolled movements.

What Are Signs of Neglect in Memory Care Facilities?

Knowing the signs of neglect at memory care facilities can help you protect your elderly family member from mistreatment.

These are some of the more common signs staff members are neglecting your loved one:

  • Disheveled appearance: Residents may appear unkempt or poorly groomed.
  • Bedsores: Bedsores are a common indicator of neglect. These injuries often occur when caregivers fail to reposition residents who struggle to move on their own.
  • Unsanitary or unsafe living conditions: Examples include unclean bathrooms with mold, mildew or visible waste, soiled bedding or clothing, overflowing trash receptacles, dirty floors or surfaces, and pest infestations.
  • Poor hygiene: If your loved one has not bathed in a few days and you notice body odor, it could signal neglect.
  • Missed medication: If you notice your loved one is not receiving his or her medication or does not receive medication on time, it may be a sign of neglect.
  • Unexplained injuries: For instance, are there bruises your loved one or staff members cannot or will not explain? This could be a coverup of a fall injury, such as falling out of bed or out of a wheelchair.
  • Worsening memory loss or cognitive decline: Lack of mental stimulation and engagement can accelerate cognitive decline in people with memory disorders.

What Are Some Examples of Neglect in Memory Care Facilities?

There are numerous forms of neglect that occur in memory care centers, often because these facilities are understaffed or they were negligent in their hiring processes.

Here are some of the many examples of neglect in memory care facilities:

  • Poor supervision, often leading to residents wandering around, increasing the risk of falls
  • Nutritional neglect, such as not helping residents eat meals or failing to ensure adequate hydration and nutrition
  • Lack of social engagement, such as leaving the resident isolated and not allowing him or her to take part in mentally stimulating activities
  • Physical neglect, such as failing to assist a resident with getting up or walking around
  • Leaving residents with mobility issues alone in their rooms for extended periods
  • Failing to call a doctor or nurse when a resident requires treatment
  • Missing medical appointments

What Should I Do if I Suspect Neglect at a Wisconsin Memory Care Facility?

If you suspect your cognitively impaired loved one has been neglected at a memory care facility, there are several steps you should take to protect them:

Notify the Facility and Make a Formal Report

Notify the management of the memory care center right away. They should act quickly to determine what is happening and fix the problem.

File a Complaint with State Authorities

File a complaint with the Wisconsin Department of Health Services Division of Quality Assurance (DQA).

Gather Evidence of Neglect

Take pictures of any visible evidence of neglect, such as your loved one’s disheveled appearance, unexplained injuries or messy room. You should also take pictures of tripping hazards or nonexistent bed rails. Keep track of conversations with memory care staff, including the date, time and content of your discussion.

Visit Regularly

It is critical that you visit regularly to determine how your loved one is being treated. Only visiting every now and then is not going to give you a good idea of the quality of care. When you visit, look for obvious signs of neglect.

Has Your Loved One Suffered Neglect? Seek Justice With PKSD

If your loved one is suffering from neglect at a memory care facility, contact PKSD. Our firm can answer questions that you may have and provide the legal assistance that you and your family deserve.

Our firm has had years of experience in helping families whose loved ones were neglected or abused in nursing home facilities. We want to help support you during these difficult times.

Call PKSD now at 414-333-3333 for help.

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