Though sometimes difficult to identify, emotional abuse in nursing homes is the most common type of elder abuse.
Aside from emotional maltreatment, elderly abuse can happen in many different forms including physical abuse, sexual abuse, financial exploitation, neglect, and abandonment. Emotional abuse is sometimes harder to identify and prove because there is no physical evidence associated with it.
Emotional elder abuse can happen in any nursing home. It is important to understand what this looks like and how you can help if you suspect your loved one is undergoing emotional harm.
What is Elder Emotional Abuse?
According to Very Well Mind, emotional abuse is a way to control another person by using emotions to criticize, embarrass, shame, blame, or otherwise manipulate them. When this happens to a victim who is over the age of 65, it is considered elder emotional abuse.
Perpetrators usually include children, other family members, spouses, or staff at nursing homes, assisted living, or other facilities.
Types of Elder Emotional Abuse
Elder abuse can occur in verbal and nonverbal ways. Some examples include:
- Blaming the elder
- Demeaning behavior
- Humiliation or ridicule
- Ignoring their needs
- Using threatening behavior
- Isolating the elderly person
Some Important Statistics
- There are about 5 million victims of elder abuse each year in the United States.
- Around 435,000 of those cases were reported cases of emotional abuse against the elderly.
- Caregivers are more likely to emotionally abuse seniors as opposed to spouses or family members.
- Roughly 67 percent of elder emotional abuse victims are women.
Evidence of Emotional Abuse in a Nursing Home
Your loved one might show signs indicating that they have been through some kind of emotional trauma. These can include the following:
- Avoiding eye contact
- Having low self-esteem
- A sudden change in personality or behavior
- Withdrawal from social activities or hobbies
- Seems hopeless, disturbed, or scared
- Displays a desire to harm their own self or another
- Sudden changes in sleeping or eating patterns
- Noticeable mood swings
What to Do if You Suspect Elder Emotional Abuse
If you suspect emotional abuse in nursing homes or anywhere else, contact Adult Protective Services or your local authorities. A government-appointed caregiver will step in to evaluate the situation.
Treating Cases of Elder Emotional Abuse
The first step in helping your loved one heal from elder emotional abuse is to promptly relocate them to safer living accommodations. This may include another family member, care center, or assisted living facility.
You should also consider therapy for the elder, and in some cases, a counselor will be assigned by the state. A medical professional can prescribe calming medications to help the elderly person cope with the emotional distress they have experienced.
Take Action with Flickinger Sutterfield & Boulton
If you suspect your loved one is a victim of emotional abuse in a nursing home, Flickinger Sutterfield & Boulton can help you take action. Our nursing home abuse lawyers will seek justice for the damages that occurred and assist you and your loved one on your path to healing. Our attorneys fight for victims and their families to receive not only fair compensation, but also respect and kindness.
We have offices in Orem, Provo, Saratoga Springs, and West Jordan, Utah. Schedule your free case evaluation today.