Watch Out For Nursing Home Emotional Abuse

Emotional abuse can happen to an elderly person while residing in a nursing home. Abuse that is not of a physical nature can be one of the most challenging for family members to detect, as the senior resident may be too fearful to come forward and talk about what they are experiencing. Since emotional abuse is psychological, there may not be external signs that something is wrong. Many senior people may suffer in silence out of fear of worsened abuse or not being believed by their family members. For these reasons, relatives who place their aging relative into a nursing home have to watch out for signs that they are being mistreated. 

As your lawyer can explain, like a nursing home abuse lawyer Chicago, IL families trust Dave Albo, psychological abuse occurs when a caretaker at the nursing home inflicts emotional stress or pain. This abuse may be nonverbal or verbal, and the offender may be another resident, volunteer, staff member, doctor, or any other person who provides care. Examples of psychological abuse include: 

  • Ridiculing or humiliating
  • Intimidation through threats or yelling
  • Scapegoating (blaming senior person)
  • Menacing or terrorizing 
  • Ignoring the needs of the resident on purpose
  • Isolating the resident from visitors and other residents

The symptoms for emotional abuse can be tricky to observe, so family members must be extra diligent and take action immediately to prevent further incidents. Mental health symptoms could be from other situations that are going on in their life and the adjustment period from their former home to a nursing home facility. But other times, when a resident seems unwell, it could be because they are suffering abuse at the hands of those who reside or work at the facility. Signs that your relative may be the victim of nursing home psychological abuse are listed as follows:

  • Avoids eye contact when talking
  • Low self-esteem
  • Hopelessness, fear, or overall on edge
  • Not speaking openly 
  • Self-soothing or self-harm behaviors
  • Sudden changes in sleeping or eating habits
  • Abrupt mood changes that were not present in the past
  • Being prevented from calling or seeing family
  • Not making own decisions (if mentally capable of doing so)
  • Not being permitted to join on social interactions or activities

If you find out that your senior relative is being abused emotionally or in some other way while living at a nursing home, then you must move them quickly to another location if the abuse cannot be stopped quickly and safely. Many residents fear that they will go through harsher treatment once family members leave the premises. So if you file a report with the facility on suspicion of abuse, then your loved one may also need to be removed that very same day. Stopping the abuse right away so that further incidents do not occur can make the difference between the resident overcoming what has happened to them or succumbing to depression and despair.