What is Emotional Abuse in a Nursing Home?

When people hear the word “abuse,” they often think of physical abuse, such as hitting, punching, and kicking. But abuse does not have to be physical in nature to be considered abuse that results in harm. In fact, many experts agree that domestic violence and child abuse can be emotional in nature, which can be just as damaging as physical abuse. When it comes to elderly adults who are in nursing homes, unfortunately, their physical and cognitive weaknesses and impairments make them vulnerable to all kinds of abuse, just as an infant or child would be. Common forms of elder abuse or nursing home abuse include physical abuse, sexual abuse, neglect, financial exploitation, and emotional abuse.

Emotional (Psychological) Abuse

Emotional or psychological abuse can be extremely detrimental to a resident, especially if their health is already in poor condition. While it may not be as “visible” as physical abuse, we assure you that it can be equally damaging, and if a resident’s health wasn’t already poor, emotional abuse can be so impactful, that it can cause a downward spiral in a resident’s health. Sometimes, leading to premature death. Examples of emotional abuse in nursing homes:

  • Bullying
  • Name-calling
  • Yelling
  • Making racist remarks
  • Humiliating the resident
  • Social isolation
  • Not letting the resident participate in activities
  • Ridiculing the resident
  • Blaming the resident for others’ misconduct
  • Making up lies about the resident
  • Intimidating the resident
  • Making threats against the resident

According to, “Elder Mistreatment: Abuse, Neglect, and Exploitation In an Aging America,” the “elderly who live in residential settings that offer long-term supportive services are at particular risk for abuse and neglect. They are particularly vulnerable because most suffer from several chronic diseases that lead to limitations in physical and cognitive functioning and are dependent on others. In addition, many are either unable to report abuse or neglect or fearful that such reporting may lead to retaliation or otherwise negatively affect their lives.” Emotional abuse is just as serious as physical or sexual abuse, or any other kind of nursing home abuse. If you believe your loved one is being emotionally abused by the very people who are supposed to care for him or her, please contact our Plano personal injury firm to explore filing a claim for nursing home abuse.

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