Across the U.S., seniors living in nursing homes fall victim to emotional and physical abuse. The deplorable acts are often committed by individuals who provide care for the seniors frequently. The effects of abuse are devastating and often lead to the progression of mental illnesses. Families with seniors in nursing home facilities need to learn the signs of elderly emotional abuse.
Disturbed, Scared, and Hopeless
When seniors are abused, the emotional damage manifests through fear. The senior appears alarmed and terrified whenever their attacker is present. Often they become fearful to report the individual and take on a hopeless attitude.
Avoiding Eye Contact and Refusing to Speak Openly
Seniors with progressive illnesses such as Alzheimer’s regress back to childhood. If they are abused by a caregiver, the patient avoided eye contact when speaking to anyone even family. When asked about their behavior, the senior won’t speak openly out of fear of retaliation.
Self Harm and Violence
Some seniors take out their fears and anxiety on themselves and cut or scratch themselves. Sudden abrasions, bruises, or cuts are a sign of self-harm. Some seniors go on the defensive and try to attack those closest to them as a cry for help. Abused seniors either withdraw from others and hurt themselves, or in some cases, they become violent themselves.
Sleeping and Eating Changes
Abused seniors exhibit changes in their sleeping and eating habits as well. The fear of violence leads them to sleep at odd hours when their attacker isn’t present. If they begin to suffer from depression or severe anxiety, the senior eats smaller portions or refuses to eat at all.
Unexplained Changes in Family Visits
Any refusal to allow senior patients to visit with their family is a clear indication that the senior was abused. Most facilities require visits during specific visiting hours, but the administrator or staff isn’t allowed to deny the family access to their senior loved one.
Nursing home abuse is a serious problem in the U.S. The unethical actions are often the result of understaffing and a failure to screen employees properly. However, the failures of the administrator do not excuse the horrific treatment. If you suspect that your senior loved one was abused in a nursing home contact an attorney right now.