What are the signs of psychological abuse of the elderly?

On Behalf of | Mar 16, 2021 | Personal Injury

Elder abuse comes in many forms, and although physical abuse may be the most noticeable and talked about, psychological abuse is a very serious problem in nursing homes and other care facilities. Many cases of abuse are not reported, and it’s important for families to know some of the signs of psychological abuse and to take proper steps to stop the abuse when it is discovered.

Verbal and nonverbal

The first thing that families should understand is that psychological abuse can be verbal and nonverbal. For example, intentionally ignoring an elderly person could be a form of nonverbal abuse or neglect that causes the elderly person to feel alone and helpless, which can be harmful to their mental and physical health.

It is also important to understand that verbal abuse of a vulnerable adult does not always involve yelling. Sometimes abusers harm elderly people by heaping blame on them for various things or by quietly threatening them with harm. Unfortunately, such threats can lead to actual physical harm, and the proper authorities should be notified.

How to spot psychological abuse

Detecting the signs of psychological abuse can be difficult, especially if an elderly person is unable or afraid to communicate the abuse to someone else. However, if you notice inexplicable changes in your loved one’s mood or behavior, you may want to look into the matter further. For example, if an elderly loved one is known for being talkative and alert, but now they are very quiet, that could be a sign that something is wrong. Mood swings and aggressive behavior may also be signs that psychological abuse is occurring in a care facility.

If you believe that your loved one may be a victim of psychological or physical abuse in a New Mexico nursing home, discuss the matter with a personal injury attorney as soon as possible.

For more on these matters, please see our overview of nursing home neglect and our Elder Abuse FAQ.