Tales of elder abuse in care facilities abound in the news. Seniors comprise one of the most vulnerable portions of society, making them susceptible to mistreatment.
This includes physical abuse and neglect, but those are not the only forms abuse can take. According to the National Center on Elder Abuse, a systematic review revealed that more self-reported nursing home abuse incidents involved psychological abuse than other kinds of abuse.
What constitutes emotional and psychological abuse?
Threats, intimidation and humiliation are examples of nursing home abuse that fall into this category. When aides insult or yell at their charges or try to make them feel small or guilty, they are perpetrators of abuse. Isolation from others, including visitors, is another way caretakers may try to exert abusive control over elders. Emotional and psychological abuse can cause elderly individuals extreme distress and permanently scar them.
What are signs of emotional and psychological abuse?
A sudden shift in behavior or personality may indicate emotional or psychological abuse. If an elderly loved one suddenly becomes timid, displays sudden fear and anxiety, cowers when he or she never did before or suddenly refuses to make eye contact, these may be indicators as well. While these may also indicate dementia or a deterioration in health, it is still important to investigate their cause.
Elders are just as vulnerable to emotional and psychological abuse as other forms. These kinds of abuse are also harder to identify because they are also indicative of other conditions commonly associated with growing older. It is imperative not to dismiss any potential signs.