The elderly deserve respect, dignity and a safe environment in their golden years. A nursing home can be an important part of providing thoughtful care to seniors who can no longer live independently.
However, you should be vigilant about signs of emotional abuse in nursing homes. Emotional abuse can take many forms and cause severe emotional distress for residents of assisted living facilities.
Isolation and withdrawal
When elderly residents suddenly become withdrawn or isolated, it can be a sign of emotional abuse. A natural response to abuse is to retreat and protect oneself emotionally. They may avoid social activities, family visits or even simple conversations.
Unexplained changes in behavior
Emotional abuse can manifest in unexplained changes in behavior. Residents who were once cheerful and outgoing may become irritable, anxious or depressed. Sudden mood swings or a noticeable decline in mental health could indicate abuse.
Refusal to share information
In some cases, residents may be hesitant to share information about their experiences in the nursing home. They might fear retaliation or not be able to articulate their feelings. This can especially be the case if their abuser exhibits telltale signs of emotional abuse such as humiliation or blackmail that can affect individuals of any age. If they seem guarded or reluctant to communicate, it could be a red flag.
The World Health Organization reports that as many as 1 in 6 elderly people experience some form of abuse in community settings in a year. While everything might seem fine from the outside, there is a real chance that your family member in a nursing home might experience emotional abuse.