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Six Warning Signs of Emotional Elder Abuse

Understand Elder Emotional Abuse

When people think about nursing home abuse and neglect, most of them think of physical elder abuse. But it’s also necessary to consider the devastating impact of emotional abuse, as well as financial abuse and several other types of negative situations that can threaten family members who are placed in a nursing care facility.

If you suspect that a loved one is suffering from emotional abuse at an assisted living facility, do not hesitate to contact Steve Watrel, the nursing home abuse expert. Our firm is here to help bring justice to the wrongfully injured.

What is emotional elder abuse?

Compared with other types of elder abuse that nursing home residents may face, emotional elder abuse is distinctly subjective. It can involve anything from being victim to subtle, mocking jokes and behaviors, to active emotional bullying and threats to the person's self-esteem or well-being.

Professional elder abuse lawyers and others may sometimes say that they know emotional elder abuse when they see it. Emotional elder abuse, also known as "psychological elder abuse," results in patterns of behavior and activities that make a senior citizen feel threatened.

Emotional abuse of the elderly can involve:

  • Verbal abuse, including insulting, yelling, and belittling
  • Threats to withhold services or to institutionalize
  • Forced isolation and refusing family/friends visits
  • Inappropriately limiting choices and freedoms

Elder Emotional Abuse Warning Signs

Understanding some of the warning signs of emotional elder abuse can give you a better picture of what might be happening in local nursing home facilities. The following are "warning signs" that an elderly person might be experiencing emotional abuse an assisted care facility:

Sudden Silence

Nursing home residents who are being bullied or emotionally abused may seem silent or withdrawn. If this behavior is unusual, it could be a warning sign that something is wrong.

Changes in Self-Esteem or Self-Confidence

Emotional elder abuse often takes the form of a caregiver or other nursing home staff making jokes at the resident’s expense or mocking him or her. This behavior can revolve around anything from meals to bathing to other routine activities, or to the nursing home resident’s appearance or capabilities.

As a result, the person who is subjected to this behavior can start to exhibit more self-doubt and fearful personality traits.

Changes in Sleep and Diet

If a nursing home resident feels threatened, he or she might change his or her routine with sleeping or eating. Sometimes this is a call for help – a real warning sign that something is not quite right inside of the nursing home facility.

Less Engagement Beyond the Walls

Another symptom occurs when a nursing home resident doesn’t get access to his or her family members or time away from staff. It’s all too easy to fall into the routine of staying with staff who are caregivers, and not spending time apart.

But in an emotional abuse situation, this is one piece of the bigger picture. Those who may be perpetrating the bullying behaviors may not want outside interference – and they’ll do what they can to make family members stay away.

Violence Toward Self or Others

We tend to think of self-harm as something that younger people do in the turmoil of their adolescent years, but it can also be a sign of emotional elder abuse.

Many people who are under pressure resort to violence as a coded signal to show that they are experiencing problems in their own lives. Hostile or threatening behavior or attacks could be a sign that an elderly family member is not feeling safe and secure in the nursing home environment.

Legal Help for Victims of Emotional Elder Abuse

These are some of the warning signs to look out for that show how troubling patterns of nursing home abuse and neglect often happen. If you have any questions about your family member’s experience in a Florida nursing facility, call the office of Steve Watrel. We provide compassionate legal help for individuals and their families who have experienced abuse and mistreatment at nursing home facilities.

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Need Help? Contact Steve.

Steve Watrel, P.A. is the only accident and injury law attorney that has been personally fighting against nursing home abuse for 30 years in Jacksonville. Contact us and see the difference today.

136 East Bay St.
Jacksonville, FL 32202
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