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Warning Signs of Emotional or Psychological Nursing Home Abuse

By Jason Bottlinger on April 14, 2017

Finding the right nursing home for a loved one is an important process. Most of the time, the elderly do not want to leave their homes and surrender their independence to a nursing home. This is a difficult decision, and you rely on the nursing home to care for your loved one properly.

Unfortunately, there are situations where caregivers mistreat elderly patients. Physical abuse is easy to identify, but emotional and psychological abuse tend to go unnoticed. Pay close attention to your loved one when you are visiting them, and if they are exhibiting any of the following behaviors, investigate the situation immediately.

Signs of Emotional Abuse in Elderly Patients

  • Depressed and withdrawn;
  • Excessively afraid and anxious;
  • Feeling hopeless or helpless;
  • Agitated and frustrated;
  • Unable to make decisions;
  • Have a loss of interest and enthusiasm;
  • Suffer insomnia or lack of sleep;
  • Visible weight loss and malnutrition;
  • Refuse to see or talk to others;
  • Refuse to eat, drink, or take medication;
  • Exhibit strange behavior such as sucking, biting, or rocking;
  • Avoid eye contact; and
  • Have low energy, physical activity, and responsiveness.

It is important to keep in mind that showing a few of these signs does not automatically mean that a loved one is being emotionally abused. These could also be symptoms of dementia or a mental illness.

However, if the person’s mood or behavior changes in the presence of the caregiver, it could be abuse. Below are a few behavioral warning signs to look out for in both the patient and the caregiver.

In the Patient:
• Nervous or cowering in presence of abuser;
• Atmosphere of tension when both people are together;
• Changes in mood when abuser enters the room; and
• Is not being given basic hygiene or care.

In the Abuser:
• Refuses to let you see or talk to patient alone;
• Isolates the patient from family and other residents;
• Gives contradictory statements about patient’s behavior or injury; and
• Treats the elderly patient like a child.

If you are positive that a patient is being psychologically or emotionally abused by a caregiver, remove him or her from the nursing home immediately. Contact the authorities so a formal investigation can take place. The Omaha nursing home abuse attorneys of Bottlinger Law L.L.C. are here to help you though this difficult time. Please contact us at (402) 505-8234. We can provide insight on your case and work non-stop to ensure that justice is served for your loved one.

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