Elder abuse is at epidemic levels in the United States. Elder abuse comes in many forms, including but not limited to physical, financial, emotional and psychological, and sexual abuse.
Some elder abuse, like physical abuse, is easier to identify and treat than other types. Emotional and psychological elder abuse are more difficult to detect and likely to go unreported.
Due to its nature, experts are unsure how many elders suffer from emotional abuse and how often the abuse is experienced. Emotional abuse may only be discovered when witnessed by caregivers or other residents in a long-term facility.
Emotional abuse of an elder occurs any time an individual inflicts emotional pain and suffering on an elderly person. The abuser may be acting intentionally or unintentionally towards the elderly person through verbal or nonverbal acts.
Emotionally abused elders may present physical manifestations due to their abuse like agitation, nervousness, fear, or sadness.
Verbal emotional abuse of an elder is characterized by verbal harassment, yelling, or emotional manipulation.
Verbal emotional abuse of an elder may include:
• Yelling and shouting;
• Threatening and intimidation;
• Name-calling and ridiculing;
• Talking-down to;
• Embarrassing them in front of others;
• Inflicting feelings of guilt;
• Being callous;
• Blaming; and
Nonverbal emotional abuse of an elder is as severe as verbal emotional abuse; however, it can be much more challenging to discover. Nonverbal emotional abuse can cause feelings of isolation and fear. It can also result in serious psychological and emotional damage.
Nonverbal emotional abuse of an elder may include:
• Refusing to speak to or ignoring;
• Terrorizing and threatening to cause physical harm;
• Isolation from others;
• Restricting access to food, water, or the toilet; and
• Hiding or removing personal items.
Maintaining regular contact with an elder is one of the best ways to spot symptoms of emotional abuse. By doing so, a friend or relative can look for the following changes in behavior:
• Withdrawal from activities;
• New fear of people;
• Refusal to make eye contact;
• Shying away from touch;
• Significant changes in sleep or appetite without explanation;
• Unexplained toileting accidents;
• Unexplained confusion or constant questioning of reality; and
• Fearful behavior around particular caregivers or noises.
If you are concerned about emotional abuse of your elderly loved one, the following are tips to keep them safe from harm while with a caregiver or in a facility:
• Make unannounced random visits;
• Observe how your loved one interacts with caregivers;
• Monitoring cleanliness and hygiene of the facility and your loved one;
• Watch for signs of caregiver stress;
• Carefully investigate any caregiver or facility before allowing them to care for your loved one;
• When possible, speak with your loved one outside of the environment about their care.
If you suspect your loved one is being emotionally abused, remove them from the harmful environment and relocate them to safety.
If you suspect your loved one has suffered or is suffering emotional abuse at the hands of a caregiver, get help right away. Speak with one of the compassionate elder abuse attorneys at Knapp & Roberts. At Knapp & Roberts, our attorneys fight to hold abusive caregivers responsible for the pain they cause their victims and families.
Schedule your confidential consultation and case assessment in our Phoenix office today.
The personal injury attorneys in Phoenix, Arizona, at Knapp & Roberts have the compassion and trial lawyer skills to tell your story to a jury. We will get to know you and your family so that we can help the jury understand what has happened to you and your family and how it has changed your lives. Obtain the compensation necessary for the injuries and losses you have suffered.