Elder abuse can manifest itself in a variety of ways. While elder physical abuse is the most visible form of elder abuse, elder emotional abuse is the most common. Elder emotional abuse is also referred to as elder psychological abuse. It can be difficult to detect as there aren’t always physical indicators of elder emotional distress.
Elder emotional abuse can occur in an assisted living setting or nursing homes. It could be from a caregiver, a volunteer, or anyone else who works at the elderly facility. Elder emotional/psychological abuse can also occur at home with an in-home caregiver. Emotional abuse in nursing homes includes any emotional pain or psychological distress prompted by a caregiver.
There are laws in place to protect the elderly from abuse and neglect. However, as the elderly population grows, assisted living facilities and nursing homes are becoming increasingly short-staffed and incapable of meeting the demands of patient care.
In many cases, family members are ill-equipped to care for loved ones. There is a possibility that a loved one may be mistreated, and that’s when victims are encouraged to seek counsel from a Texas assisted living abuse lawyer and demand justice.
Examples of emotional elder abuse include:
Elder emotional abuse can be verbal or nonverbal, and examples include:
- Making derogatory statements.
- Using humiliating language.
- Intentionally causing long lines for food, medication, or basic care.
- Getting in the way of decision-making.
- Making false accusations.
- Intimidate the patient with physical or sexual abuse.
- Completely disregarding or trivializing a resident’s fears and concerns.
- Putting an elderly person’s assistive devices (walker, glasses, cane, or dentures) out of reach.
- Scolding elderly people.
- Social isolation threats.
Spotting Emotional or Psychological Abuse
Because many nursing home residents have neurological, cognitive, or psychiatric conditions, determining nursing home emotional abuse can be difficult.
For example, fear of retaliation causes assisted living and nursing home residents to keep emotional abuse to themselves. Abuse victims are also so reliant on others for care that they do not wish to upset their abusers further, putting themselves at risk of continuous neglect.
The most effective way to detect emotional abuse in nursing homes is to look for the following red flags:
- Emotional agitation or distress.
- Being unresponsive or uncommunicative.
- Withdrawal from daily activities.
- Developing unusual behaviors such as biting, sucking, or rocking.
- He or she appears withdrawn or shy as compared to before they were put under assisted care.
- Neglecting self-care or expressing low self-esteem.
- Sharing feelings of despair or a sense of helplessness.
Harms Caused by Elder Physical and Emotional Abuse
Elder emotional abuse can have devastating consequences for victims, their families, and communities. These offenses have the following long-term consequences:
- Fear of future victimization is a frequent response. This fear may discourage victims from reporting abuse to authorities.
- They may lose control of their bladder due to extreme fear.
- Deterioration or permanent loss of cognitive ability.
- Emotional abuse can cause health problems. Older women who have been subjected to psychological abuse have a higher likelihood of reporting ailments such as bone or joint pain, high blood pressure, and digestive issues.
- Victims of emotional abuse frequently suffer from depression. Depression may put older victims at a higher risk of being victimized again.
- Victims lose faith in their caregivers, the institutions that provide them with care, and/or the system that they believe failed them. Victims may also lose faith in people they once trusted wholeheartedly (namely, spouses and adult offspring).
- Victims incur financial costs as a result of treatment for the emotional and sometimes physical consequences of these offenses.
- Although the abuser may not physically harm the patient, psychological abuse can result in stress disorders, anxiety, and even post-traumatic stress disorder, all of which can impair a person’s ability to heal or fight infection.
- Elder physical abuse can also result in death, whether as a result of a single severe incident or a pattern of mistreatment.
Psychological abuse can have serious and long-term consequences, even leading to wrongful death. As a result, cases of psychological abuse must be treated just as seriously as cases of physical, financial, or sexual abuse.
Victims are frequently unwilling or unable to take action for themselves and must rely on friends and family for physical and mental protection.
It is critical to hold nursing homes accountable for their employees’ actions so that toxic cultures don’t persist and other vulnerable individuals don’t become victims.
If you suspect that a loved one is being abused, you must contact authorities as well as an elder abuse attorney as quickly as possible. This way, you can help protect your loved one’s well-being and safety.