Studies have shown over and over that a little TLC goes a long way for dementia patients. Of course, that takes time and patience--two things health care professionals seem to be lacking these days.
Instead, they load the patients up with antipsychotics--drugs that turn them into quiet, compliant zombies who spend their days in a glassy-eyed stupor.
But at least they're easy to care for.
Now, a few health care professionals who are fed up with the abuse have taken the issue to the U.S. Senate.
Some of the stories they told are frightening. I'm going to share just a few of them with you. As you read them, keep in mind that they aren't isolated incidents. They're real, they're prevalent, and they could be happening right now to someone you care about.
In one case, a dementia patient was put onto heavy meds because she protested whenever she was moved.
But as it turns out, there was a pretty good reason for her complaints -- she had a broken hip.
They doped her for nearly a month before someone finally realized something else must be wrong and had her X-rayed.
In another case, an 89-year-old woman recovering from a broken hip was put into those antipsychotic meds... and she didn't even have dementia.
Even worse, her docs didn't even talk to anyone in her family before they drugged her--they just went ahead and did it.
Despite these constant horror stories, despite the fact that these meds have been linked to an increased risk of death, and despite the fact that they're not even approved for dementia, the mainstream is rushing to defend the practice--and trashing anyone who dares to stand in the way.
"It is a good example of well-meaning people, who do not know what they are doing, criticizing what is mostly appropriate care," Dr. Clifford Saper chairman of the neurology department at Harvard Medical School, told MedPage Today.
If it's so "appropriate," where's the evidence for it?
Answer: There isn't any--but there's plenty of evidence of harm.
One study found that atypical antipsychotics triple the risk of death or hospitalization after just a month of taking them. Another study found that dementia patients on antipsychotics have twice the death risk of those who don't take the meds.
Those who live face other risks: Antipsychotic drugs have been linked to Parkinson's-like symptoms, chest infections, brain problems, and even stroke.
The fact that it's getting Senate attention might seem like a step in the right direction... until you hear this: Not a single Senator attended beyond his own opening remarks.