When an elderly individual is a victim of physical abuse, you can often spot cuts, sores or bruises. But what if the abuse is deeper than the surface?
Although not all abuse is easily detectable, there are emotional abuse warning signs you can be mindful of when you check in on an elderly relative. When you visit with aging loved ones you should ask them about their feelings, evaluate the care they are receiving and intervene if necessary.
What are the signs and causes?
Some examples of psychological abuse in nursing homes include neglect or forced social isolation, yelling, harsh words and threats. This type of elderly bullying can come from either staff members or fellow residents. Unfortunately, even the cleanest and most attractive assisted living centers have understaffing or leadership problems that make way for abusive situations.
When you’re well past retirement age it could be hard to admit someone is being mean to you, but shame is a common feeling many abuse victims have. You’re loved one might be a victim of abuse if they:
- Don’t want to participate in daily routines or activities they once enjoyed
- Feel an overwhelming since of fear, even in non-threatening situations
- Show body language that indicates trauma, like a constant back-and-forth sway
How can I stop the abuse?
If you detect a loved one is suffering emotionally, the first step you can do is work with the staff at their assisted living center to request more check-ins. But, if matters seem to worsen, then you should consider other ways to intervene, like contacting your local adult protective services (APS) office. APS can take further investigative measures to determine the source of your relative’s emotional suffering. APS also can help your loved one relocate if their situation becomes dire and help set up medical and mental health assessments.
Elder abuse cases often go unreported, even though they happen nationwide. As such, it’s crucial to report the abuse of those near and dear to help them heal and to help address a larger problem.