Recognizing the signs of emotional abuse in nursing homes

On Behalf of | Apr 8, 2024 | Personal Injury |

Horror tales of physical abuse and neglect in nursing homes abound in the news. From hitting patients to leaving them in their own waste for days without food or water, the stories relate numerous forms of mistreatment.

However, while many individuals understand to search for signs of physical negligence and torment, it may not occur to them that their loved ones are subject to harmful emotional and psychological behavior as well. Yelling, isolation, cursing, deriding and threatening are all forms of emotional abuse older loved ones may face in nursing homes. Staff may also trivialize or ignore their concerns and questions, humiliate them in front of other residents or otherwise bully them. Certain signs indicate an individual may be the target of one or more such tactics.

Sudden personality changes

One major red flag is a sudden shift in mood or behavior. A bullied individual may become withdrawn and uninterested in previously enjoyed activities. He or she may also display fear or rage towards workers, family members or people in general without any logical reason. A targeted person may also show a drop in self-esteem or unexplained sadness and lack of confidence.

Regression to childhood behavior

Another potential indicator is a resident suddenly displaying childlike behaviors. This includes rocking back and forth and sucking his or her thumb. Regression is a defensive behavior against mental trauma.

Altered physical state

Mental damage can also impact individuals’ physical health and routines. They may lose weight and refuse to eat or maintain their hygiene. They may also have a hard time sleeping.

Mental abuse can harm older loved ones’ mental and physical health and cause long-lasting trauma. While these signs may also indicate a health issue, it is important to investigate when they appear. In the case abuse is present, it may be beneficial to obtain counsel. Continued exposure to the mistreatment is likely to worsen the damage.