In 2010, 5,961,568 cases of elderly abuse were reported to the National Center on Elder Abuse. The average age of sufferers was 78 years old. And 67% of victims were female. Of the total amount, approximately 435,195 of the cases were ones concerning emotional or psychological abuse. This form of elder abuse is often the most common of elder abuse cases; however, it is also the most difficult to track and is oftentimes never reported.
What is Emotional and Psychological Elderly Abuse?
Physical abuse is the most obvious type of abuse—it is normally easy to spot bruises, cuts and scrapes, or broken bones. But how can one identify the ramifications of emotional and psychological abuse? What even is this type of abuse?
Emotional or psychological elderly abuse consists of a caregiver acting in a way towards an elderly patient that causes emotional pain or suffering. Many times emotional abuse is intentional, but sometimes caregivers are completely unaware of the emotional damage they are causing. Emotional and psychological abuse can be verbal or non-verbal. For example, verbal abuse involves circumstances in which a caregiver yells, verbally harasses or emotionally manipulates a patient. Further examples of abuse include:
- Name-calling or insulting the patient
- Embarrassing the patient in front of others
- Withdrawing affection from the patient
- Giving the silent-treatment or ignoring the person being cared for
- Restricting access to food, water or the bathroom
How Can You Identify Emotional or Psychological Abuse?
If you know an elderly person living in a nursing home or in the care of an individual nurse or caregiver, then look out for changes in personality and mood in order to identify signs of emotional or psychological abuse. Signs of suffering can appear in a multitude of ways, for example:
- Loved one avoids eye contact
- “” Will not speak openly and used to do so
- “” Seems hopeless or scared, and has a low-self esteem
- “” Has a desire to hurt him or herself, or another person
- “” Experiences changes in sleeping or eating patterns
Next Steps if You Suspect Abuse
If you are suspicious of any type of elderly abuse, you must report it immediately to government officials. If the elder is the victim of abuse, he or she will be removed from the environment immediately and placed in a safer setting.
There are adult protective service laws for elders in every state, including Washington D.C., Guam, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Any concerned person can report suspected abuse, so do not hesitate if you are in this situation.
Contact Eric J. Hertz and Associates
Oftentimes, filing a claim is enough to exact a confession from the caregiver(s) responsible for abuse. But if the next step involves contacting a lawyer, then make sure you hire a person who has sufficient experience working with elderly abuse cases.
Eric J. Hertz and his team specialize in elderly abuse cases. We know how tricky nursing home investigations can become. Therefore, let us make the legal process less stressful and more efficient for you and your family. Get in touch with us today by calling 404-577-8111 or fill out our online contact form.