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The Signs of Emotional Abuse in Nursing Homes

Garcia & Artigliere

Nursing home residents are vulnerable to people who try to abuse them. Abusers can be nursing home staff members or other residents. Most nursing home residents are unable to protect themselves from abusers. If you have a loved one living in a nursing home, you should be alert for common signs of elder abuse.

It may be harder to see signs of emotional abuse than signs of physical abuse. Physical abuse can leave visible marks on victims’ bodies, but the wounds of emotional abuse are not as obvious. Yet, the signs of emotional abuse are there if you know what to look for.

What Is Emotional Abuse?

In nursing homes, emotional abuse can take several forms. Yelling at residents can be emotionally abusive. Verbally threatening residents with punishment or physical harm is definitely abusive. So is verbal or non-verbal harassment. Any kind of deliberate humiliation is emotional abuse, as is isolating a resident from other people. All of these forms of abuse cause emotional or psychological harm to the victim.

What Are the Common Signs of Emotional Abuse?

Be alert to any changes in the way your loved one looks or behaves. Unexpected changes may be signs that your loved one is being mistreated. The following signs are red flags of possible emotional abuse:

  • Agitation
  • Withdrawal
  • Rocking
  • Personality changes
  • Changes in when or how much the loved one sleeps
  • Changes in eating habits

The Harm Caused by Emotional Abuse

Emotional abuse can be very painful to the victims. It can change the way they feel about themselves and others. They can lose their sense of self-worth and self-confidence. In some ways, emotional abuse can be even worse than physical abuse. It can even lead to suicide.

If you suspect a loved one is being emotionally abused, it is important to take action to protect him or her. Talk to an administrator at the nursing home. If that does not stop the abuse, then you can file a complaint with the state.

Talking to a nursing home abuse lawyer can be very helpful. A lawyer with experience in elder abuse can tell you what rights your loved one has and what you can do to help secure those rights. Call the nursing home abuse attorneys at Garcia & Artigliere at (800) 328-2630 for a no-obligation appointment to learn more about your legal options.


We offer free and confidential consultations. Call (800) 328-2630 Learn About Your Legal Options

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