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Can you spot the signs of emotional abuse in a nursing home?

On Behalf of | Mar 12, 2024 | Abuse/Neglect

As people age and lose their independence, they become completely reliant on others for basic tasks like feeding, taking their medicines and maintaining basic hygiene. It’s for this reason that nursing homes are in business – to provide specialized care to the elderly members of society during their sunset years. 

And while most nursing homes take this assignment seriously, a few do not. It is not uncommon for a resident to suffer abuse at the hands of people who are paid to care for them. And one of the most common, yet subtle, forms of abuse in nursing homes is psychological or emotional abuse

Understanding elder emotional abuse

Emotional abuse in nursing homes happens when a resident is subjected to verbal and non-verbal acts that leave them threatened, harassed, belittled and intimidated. Examples of actions that can amount to emotional abuse include:

  • Threatening the resident with bodily harm or isolation
  • Intentionally depriving the resident of food or their medication
  • Making degrading statements about the resident
  • Making false accusations against the resident

Emotional abuse may not leave the victim with physical scars. However, its effects can be devastating. Here are some of the signs you need to look out for if you suspect that a loved one is being emotionally abused by the caregivers. 

  • A sudden change in behavior and personality
  • Fear, anxiety and nervousness
  • Appearing timid and cautious about speaking with other people, including family
  • Loss of appetite
  • Sudden withdrawal
  • Having suicidal thoughts

If a loved one is exhibiting any of these symptoms, you need to find out what’s going on. Seeking a professional mental health assessment can be a great place to start. And once you are convinced that they are actually being abused, you may be able to sue the facility for damages.



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