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What is Emotional Abuse in a Nursing Home?

You may be familiar with physical and sexual abuse in the nursing home setting, but did you know that another form of nursing home abuse is “emotional abuse”? Your loved one may be complaining of how they’re being treated at their nursing home, but you may not think it’s abuse if they’re not being hurt physically, but that’s not necessarily the case at all.

In reality, emotional or psychological abuse can be just as damaging as physical abuse and it can have both short and long-term effects. But what is emotional abuse? It involves insults, name-calling, attempts to isolate, scare, and control the elderly resident.

What Emotional Abuse Looks Like

Does your loved one complain about how they’re being treated at the nursing home? Has his or her behavior changed for the worse? Are they suddenly quieter, more agitated, or more fearful than before? Do they appear to have a strained relationship with their caregiver that makes you uncomfortable and concerned? If your answer is “yes” to any of these questions, your loved one may be a victim of emotional abuse, which can be just as serious as physical abuse.

Your loved one may be experiencing emotional abuse if their caregiver(s):

  • Wants to know what they are doing all the time;
  • Prevents them from seeing friends or family;
  • Discourages or stops them from engaging in social activities:
  • Gets angry in ways that frighten the senior;
  • Controls the senior’s every move;
  • Controls who the senior talks to;
  • Stops the senior from seeing a doctor;
  • Humiliates the senior in front of other staff or residents;
  • Calls the senior insulting names;
  • Uses racial slurs against the senior;
  • Socially isolates the senior from fellow residents;
  • Threatens to hurt the senior, the people they care about, or their pets;
  • Threatens to report the senior for wrongdoing; and
  • Decides things for the senior that he or she should be deciding.

When a senior is being emotionally or verbally abused by the very people who are supposed to be caring for them, it can have serious, long-lasting effects that can lead to physical and mental health problems, chronic pain, depression, anxiety, and a lowered immune system. And, since vulnerable adults are physically frail, emotional abuse can aggravate existing health problems due to the increased stress on the body and mind.

Next: What is Nursing Home Abuse?

Do you suspect that your loved one is a victim of emotional abuse? If so, please don’t ignore it. Instead, contact The Zendeh Del Law Firm, PLLC to explore your legal options.