5 Signs of Mental Nursing Home Abuse
In 2010, 5,961,568 cases of elderly abuse were reported to the National Center on Elder Abuse. The average age of sufferers was 78 years old, and 67% of victims were female. Of the total amount, approximately 435,195 of the cases concerned emotional or psychological abuse. This form of elder abuse is often the most common of elder abuse cases; however, it is also the most difficult to track and is oftentimes never reported.
What is Emotional and Psychological Elderly Abuse?
Physical abuse is the most obvious type of abuse—it is normally easy to spot bruises, cuts and scrapes, or broken bones. But how can one identify the ramifications of emotional and psychological abuse? What even is this type of abuse?
Emotional or psychological elderly abuse consists of a caregiver acting in a way towards an elderly patient that causes emotional pain or suffering. Many times emotional abuse is intentional, but sometimes caregivers are completely unaware of the emotional damage they are causing because of neglect. Emotional and psychological abuse can be verbal or non-verbal and can manifest in some of the following ways:
How Can You Identify Emotional or Psychological Abuse?
If you know an elderly person living in a nursing home or in the care of an individual nurse or caregiver, then look out for changes in his or her personality and mood in order to identify signs of emotional or psychological abuse. Signs of suffering can appear in a multitude of ways, for example:
- Loved one avoids eye contact
- Will not speak openly and used to do so
- Seems hopeless or scared, and has a low-self esteem
- Has a desire to hurt him or herself, or another person
- Experiences changes in sleeping or eating patterns
Next Steps if You Suspect Abuse
If you are suspicious of any type of elderly abuse, you must report it immediately to government officials. If the elder is the victim of abuse, he or she will be removed from the environment immediately and placed in a safer setting.
There are adult protective service laws for elders in every state, including Washington D.C., Guam, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Any concerned person can report suspected abuse, so do not hesitate if you are in this situation.