According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, of the 1.7 million licensed beds in registered nursing homes, 1.4 million were occupied as of 2013. Such a high number of elderly individuals in skilled healthcare facilities, coupled with the upward aging trend of the population, has led to an increased importance placed on the topic of elder care and abuse. When we place trust in long-term care facilities such as nursing homes to care for our aging relatives, it is assumed their well-being and comfort is the highest priority for caregivers. Unfortunately, there are numerous cases of nursing home negligence and abuse throughout the country.
Elder abuse can come in the form of physical or sexual abuse, exploitation of finances, abandonment, neglect and emotional abuse. While it may be relatively easy to spot financial or physical abuse of an elderly relative residing in a nursing home, spotting emotional abuse may not be as simple. Here we provide details on what emotional abuse is, common signs of emotional abuse within a nursing home, and steps you can take to care for your elderly relatives in this situation.
What is Emotional Abuse?
Emotional abuse can come in a variety of forms from caregivers at a nursing home. An individual may feel intimidated as the result of yelling or verbal threats, or one may experience humiliation or ridicule from caregivers on a consistent basis. Similarly, individuals can experience emotional abuse by being blamed or accused of things they did not do. When emotional abuse is discovered, it most often involves an elderly person being purposefully ignored by a caregiver or forced isolation from friends, family or facility activities. Each of these acts can cause unnecessary distress on the elderly individual and mild to severe emotional pain.
It can be a true challenge to determine whether someone is experiencing emotional abuse in a nursing home. In fact, the majority of family members and friends of the victim of emotional abuse assume changes in behavior are due to dementia or overall declining health. However, warning signs of emotional abuse may include the following:
- Frequent arguments or tension that is apparent between the elderly person and his or her caregiver
- Changes to personality or communication with loved ones
- Behavior that resembles dementia, including thumb sucking, mumbling, or rocking
- Not being permitted to see the elderly individual due to a caregiver’s instruction
- Withdrawing from everyday activities
- Witness to verbally abuse behavior, including belittling, demeaning, controlling or rude comments from caregivers
These scenarios may indicate that emotional abuse is taking place and that some action is necessary to ensure your loved one is being cared for in an appropriate, beneficial manner.
Gladstein Law Firm, PLLC | A Nursing Home Negligence Law Firm
While elder abuse within a nursing home is not inevitable, nearly 23% of all elder abuse cases take place in this setting. It is a pressing concern for the aging population, and can be detrimental to the well-being of you and your loved ones. If you suspect a loved one is experiencing emotional abuse in their skilled care facility, know that we are here to help. Gladstein Law Firm is a Louisville practice focused on obtaining a sufficient amount of compensation for those who have suffered from elder abuse in a nursing home. We are experts in identifying the legal and financial needs of our clients, and we fight aggressively to ensure those needs are met. Contact us today for a free consultation.