People are only recently realizing the effects of emotional and psychological abuse on an individual. Elder individuals are particularly vulnerable because they may be unaware that they are experiencing abuse. They rely on nursing homes and the health care providers in the nursing homes to care for their needs. Imagine if they are the very people tormenting your loved one. The problem is psychological abuse is not easily detectable.
The ways a nursing home resident may experience psychological abuse
Psychological abuse can be either verbal or nonverbal. The abuser can be anyone in the nursing home. It can be the caregiver, a volunteer, a fellow nursing home resident, a staff member or anyone who has contact with the resident. The abuser could be psychologically abusing the resident by:
- Shouting or significantly raising their voice at the resident
- Embarrassing or humiliating the resident in private or in front of others
- Isolating the resident from other people and social activities
- Insulting and patronizing the resident
- Ignoring the resident and their requests
- Threatening the resident with physical harm
- Mocking the resident’s disabilities and impairments
- Withholding food, water and necessities from the resident
- Making the resident feel guilty
Any changes in the resident’s weight, mood or behavior may indicate psychological abuse. The consequences of psychological and emotional abuse can be severe and permanent. It can completely and permanently harm your loved one.
The effects of psychological abuse
Psychological abuse has short-term and long-term effects on a person’s overall well-being. It can result in anxiety, depression, fear, guilt and mental health conditions. The victim may develop low self-esteem and self-doubt. The chronic stress brought about by the abuse can cause severe physical changes to the body, such as pain and irregular heartbeat. It can lower the immune system. An elderly individual may be unable to cope with the distress and emotional torment for much longer.
The nursing home should provide a relaxing and safe home for elders to retire and spend their golden years. If you feel your loved one is experiencing psychological abuse in their nursing home, you must protect them from further distress.