Psychological abuse happens in nursing homes more often than most people realize, and it should be stopped with a sense of urgency. This form of abuse can be verbal or nonverbal, and consists of any actions that result in emotional harm or anguish to the nursing home resident. Most psychological abuse is inflicted by the nursing home staff, it’s possible that residents or other workers in the building are capable of abuse. As a nursing home abuse lawyer families trust from Disparti Law Group can attest, mental abuse of the elderly is dangerous, as it can cause lasting damage and contribute to a decline in physical health too. 

When staff at nursing homes engage in inflicting psychological abuse, it causes residents to feel anxiety, fear, helplessness, depression, and sadness. Mental abuse is more difficult to observe compared to physical abuse. Furthermore, some forms of psychological abuse is nonverbal, and can be subtle in nature. Examples of psychological abuse include ridicule, insults, intimidation, threats, shouting, or otherwise making the resident feel distressed. Nonverbal abuse can entail behaviors such as ignoring the senior person, isolating them from visitors, preventing them from joining social activities, threatening to withhold water or food, or terrorizing them.

The signs of psychological abuse can be more challenging to spot initially. But as the abuse progresses, the senior person may begin exhibiting several signs of abuse, and it should become clear very quickly that something is wrong. Usually, mental abuse is happening when someone suddenly becomes more withdrawn, depressed, and timid. Others may become more angry, agitated, and aggressive if they are experiencing psychological abuse. To summarize, some indications that mental abuse may be happening to your senior loved one include, but are not limited to:

  • Agitation
  • Excessive worry or fear
  • Refusing to be helped by a certain staff member
  • Depression and withdrawal
  • Unusual coping or self-soothing behaviors
  • Not speaking or interacting with others
  • Refusing medication, food, or other forms of care
  • Sudden weight loss or gain
  • Loss of appetite
  • Excessive sleep or insomnia
  • Newly developed physical conditions

When someone lives in a nursing home facility, there is a risk for abuse physically, psychologically, sexually, and financially. A legal team, such as the lawyers at Disparti Law Group, can intervene and see to it that the offenders are held accountable for their actions. Senior residents who have conditions that hinder their ability to communicate are even more vulnerable to nursing home abuse. If your senior relative is exhibiting any of the signs listed above, then now is the time to take action. Do not underestimate the impacts that psychological abuse can have one someone’s overall health. There are legal means available that can ensure that a resident is safely removed from the abusive situation and that the staff members, facility, or other relevant party is held liable for how that senior person had suffered. It is important for relatives to watch out for signs that nursing home abuse is occurring, and then take immediate steps to get their senior loved ones to safety.