The emotional abuse of someone in a nursing home or under the care of a caretaker can take many forms. Emotional abuse does not leave the same bodily signs as physical or sexual abuse, but its effects can be just as detrimental to someone’s overall health.
The discrepancy in power between nursing home residents and their caretakers makes them more likely to endure emotional abuse than other parties. There are signs, however, that give away emotional abuse that you can keep an eye out for while visiting a loved one. If you believe that a loved one may be suffering from emotional abuse, you can present what evidence you do have to a legal professional for guidance.
Emotional Abuse Against an Elder
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) defines the emotional abuse of an elder as the exposure of a non-consenting party to harmful language on a consistent basis. This abuse, however, does not just include the use of language to belittle a person. Emotional abuse can also entail:
- Intimidation efforts
- Active terrorizing of the victim
- Demeaning the victim
- Humiliating the victim
- Ridiculing the victim
For example, a party who has been manipulated by a caretaker into mistrusting her family is a victim of emotional abuse, even if she does not recognize or understand how she has been mistreated. In the same vein, nursing home residents who are isolated from their communities and their families are victims of both emotional abuse and neglect.
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What Are the Signs of Emotional Abuse In An Elder?
As mentioned, elders can exhibit changes in behavior or physical symptoms that can give away emotional abuse in a nursing home or under the care of a caretaker. According to the National Institute on Aging (NIA), these signs include but are not limited to:
- Lowered self-esteem
- Withdrawn personality
- Avoidant behavior
- Little or no eye contact
- Abrupt depression
- Mood swings
- Difficulty sleeping
- Changes in eating behavior
Note that, if you do spot these signs in an elder, that elder may not feel safe discussing her abuse while in the presence of her abuser. If you cannot verify emotional abuse but you still think that you have noticed the signs of said behavior, you can reach out to a legal professional for input on your next steps.
Reacting to Elder Emotional Abuse in a Nursing Home
Discovering signs of elder emotional abuse in a nursing home can be a harrowing experience. Matters can become even more complex if the elder does not or is not capable of recognizing the abuses they have endured. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), emotional abuse can cause long-lasting effects.
You may choose, however, to react to signs of elder emotional abuse by reaching out to legal representatives or Adult Protective Services operators in your area. This way, you can move your loved one to a safe environment and speak with them about their abuse without fear of retribution. You can then seek out legal counsel and discuss what compensation to which you and your loved one may be entitled based on the severity of the damages endured.
You may receive the following compensation if an elderly loved one fell victim to elder emotional abuse:
- Medical expenses required to care for signs of neglect or isolation
- Psychological counseling
- Expenses endured through the liable nursing home, if applicable
- Pain, suffering, and mental anguish
Emotional abuse alone does not often result in wrongful death, but if it has, you may speak with a legal representative about applicable compensation.
Caring for an Elder After Emotional Abuse in a Nursing Home
If you choose to build a legal case against the parties who partook in the abuse of an elderly loved one, you will want to take time to pursue counseling and care for the victim, as well. You should listen to a loved one if she is willing or able to discuss her abuse.
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Legal Action After Emotional Abuse
If you detect signs of elder emotional abuse in a loved one, you can take legal action against the institution or individual who enacted that abuse. An emotional abuse lawyer can help you determine which party is liable for the suffering endured, at which point you may fight to hold said party accountable.
You do not have to let a loved one suffer from emotional abuse without taking action. The team with Ben Crump Law, PLLC can discuss a potential emotional abuse case with you and help you craft a complaint according to the legislation filed in your state. This way, you can calculate what compensation to which you may be entitled and provide your loved one with recompense for the abuse they endured.
To discuss your case, you can reach the team with Ben Crump Law, PLLC at (800) 959-1444.