You may not think your elderly loved one is being abused if he or she is not being physically injured. But emotional abuse is in the nursing home setting is very real and it can have serious short and long-term effects, some of which can lead to depression, declining health, illness, and even life-threatening conditions.
As with victims of domestic violence, which are often women and children, emotional abuse in a nursing home can include threats, manipulation, insults, isolation, controlling behaviors, and tactics to humiliate and embarrass the elderly individual. It is also a red flag that physical abuse may come next. Your loved one may be experiencing emotional abuse if a caregiver:
- Won’t let the resident be alone with friends or family.
- Constantly accuses the resident of bad behavior.
- Prevents the resident from having visitors.
- Tries to stop the resident from engaging in social activities.
- Gets angry in a way that frightens the resident.
- Humiliates the resident in front of other staff or residents.
- Calls the resident insulting names.
- Threatens to hurt the resident, people they care about or their pets.
- Decides things for the resident that he or she should decide.
When a nursing home resident is being emotionally abused, it’s common for them to question their memory of events; change their behavior for fear of upsetting their caregiver; feel guilt or shame; feel constantly afraid; feel like they’re powerless; feel manipulated and controlled; and feel unwanted.
If you notice changes in your loved one’s behavior, or if he or she is claiming that they are being mistreated by their caregivers, they may be telling the truth and they may be crying for help. As their family member, you may be the only one who can, but we can assist you every step of the way.