When you entrust the care of your loved one to a nursing home, you expect the staff to treat them with respect, dignity and kindness. However, it is a sad reality that some nursing home residents in California become victims of emotional abuse.
Recognizing the signs of emotional abuse is critical to ensuring the safety and well-being of your loved one.
Emotional abuse in a nursing home setting
Emotional abuse in a nursing home refers to any action or lack of action that causes emotional distress or harm to a resident. This can include verbal assaults, insults, threats, intimidation, humiliation or isolation.
Changes in behavior or mood
One of the most noticeable signs of emotional abuse is a change in your loved one’s behavior or mood. They may become withdrawn, depressed or anxious. They may also show signs of fear or become unusually quiet, especially around certain staff members.
If your loved one suddenly avoids social activities they used to enjoy or wants to be alone most of the time, this can be a sign of emotional abuse. Abusers often try to isolate their victims to exert control over them.
Problems with sleeping, such as insomnia or nightmares, can be an indication of emotional distress. If your loved one suddenly develops sleep problems, it may be due to emotional abuse.
Regressions in behavior, such as thumb sucking or rocking, can be a sign of emotional abuse in elderly people. These behaviors are coping mechanisms that can indicate emotional distress.
What to do if you suspect emotional abuse
If you suspect your loved one is suffering from emotional abuse, it is crucial to take immediate action. Express your concerns to the management of the nursing home. If they do not take appropriate action, you should contact the local Adult Protective Services office or the California Department of Aging.
Knowing the signs of emotional abuse can help protect your loved one from harm. Openly communicate with your loved one and watch for any changes in their behavior or mood.