Emotional and psychological abuse in the elderly can happen anywhere – at the elder’s home, the caregiver’s home, or at a nursing facility.
According to the American Public Health Association (APHA), there are approximately 2.5 million elderly victims of emotional and psychological abuse in the United States. Emotional and psychological abuse in the elderly occurs when a carer causes emotional pain or stress for an senior. A carer may be a family member or a caretaker. Emotional and Psychological abuse in the elderly can be difficult to identify. It is possible for there to be no physical indicators that the abuse has occurred.
Signs or Symptoms of Emotional and Psychological Abuse
As previously stated, this type of abuse is difficult to identify because of its nature. Because it is emotional or psychological, the signs might not be noticeable. An elder may have been subject to insults, humiliation, or harassment through words or actions. The abuser might blame or have demanding behavior of the victim. The “caretaker” might also terrorize, intimidate or use threatening behavior towards the senior. Abuse might also be shown by ignoring the patient or isolate him/her from family members, friends, or daily activities. The victim’s rights may be ignored, limited, or taken away. Some signs that a loved one is suffering from emotional and psychological abuse are to avoid eye contact, have low self-esteem, appear depressed, withdrawn, or shyer than normal. Other behaviors include: engaging in self-injurious behavior or attempting to hurt others, having acute mood swings or changing in eating or sleeping patterns.
Type of Person Who May Be Abusive
The abuser typically has difficulty getting along well with others. Or, the caretaker significantly depends on the victim for money or housing. The aggressor might also have a history of family violence, or additional stressors due to financial problems or taking care of the senior.
Treatment of Emotional or Psychological Abuse
Seniors who have experienced emotional or psychological abuse should be removed from the abusive environment. This will ensure their well-being and safety. Counseling and/or medicines might be prescribed in order to treatment the depression or anxiety.
It is very important to pay attention to possible red flags. Once identified, the abuse should be reported to Adult Protective Services or to other protective authorities. If you believe your loved one is not being properly cared for and need help sorting out questions and concerns please call us (866) 909-6303.
Eldercare has experienced and trained staff to help you find the resources you need and the care your loved ones deserve.