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What are some of the signs of elder psychological abuse?

Pretty much all families who have a close relative who is in a nursing home know that it is important to keep watch for signs that their relative might be being mistreated. However, some might not be entirely clear on what specific sorts of things can constitute potential signs of abuse.

Some potential signs of abuse are relatively obvious. For example, unexplained bumps, bruises or physical injuries on a nursing home resident can be signs of physical abuse.

However, not all types of nursing home abuse leave clear physical marks. For example, psychological abuse generally lacks clear physical indicators. Thus, for this type of abuse, the signs can be more subtle.

Here are some things that can potentially be indicators that a nursing home resident has been subjected to psychological abuse:

  • The resident being unusually agitated or upset.
  • The resident suddenly starting to engage in behavior that is unusual for them.
  • The resident becoming non-responsive or non-communicative.
  • The resident becoming extremely withdrawn.

Psychological abuse can involve all sorts of misconduct (including humiliation, intimidation, threats, harassment, insults and verbal assaults) and can harm a nursing home resident in some truly deep ways.

Thus, if a family member spots potential signs of elder psychological abuse in a loved one who is in a nursing home, it can be very important for them to take actions to protect their loved one. Elder law attorneys can give individuals who suspect that a relative might be being subjected to psychological abuse at a nursing home advice on what sorts of actions they can take.

Source: National Center on Elder Abuse, "Types of Abuse," Accessed Feb. 23, 2015

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