Emotional Elder Abuse in Nursing Homes
Non-Physical Abuse is Still Abuse. Call our Emotional Elder Abuse Attorneys.
Not all forms of nursing home abuse are easy to identify. In some cases, abuse is subtle and insidious. One such type of elder abuse is that of emotional abuse. While it is not as obvious as bed sores, sepsis, or even financial exploitation, it can cause just as much damage to the victim. If you believe that your loved one is suffering from some form of emotional elder abuse, we encourage you to get in touch with our emotional abuse attorneys from Pintas & Mullins as soon as possible. We serve clients in all 50 states, and will travel to meet you.
Symptoms & Warning Signs of Emotional Elder Abuse
Because victims of pyschological abuse are often manipulated or intimidated into remaining silent, it’s important to recognize the signs of potentional emotional elder abuse. Signs of emotional elder abuse include:
- Symptoms of depression and withdrawal
- Appears shyer than before
- Avoiding eye contact with certain caregivers
- Engaging in self harming activities
Reporting Emotional Elder Abuse
If you notice signs of possible psychological abuse of a family member or loved one, it’s important to take immediate action. The abuse may not be an isolated patient incident, meaning many more patients in the facility could be at risk. Contact the facility to file a formal complaint. Follow up with proper resources on the state level to ensure the nursing facility is held responsible.
For a free legal consultation with a Emotional Abuse Lawyer serving nationwide, call (800) 842-6336
Psychological Abuse Can Be Devastating
Emotional abuse refers to when a caregiver, volunteer, resident, or staff member causes psychological damage.
Common forms of elder emotional abuse include:
- Humiliating or ridiculing the resident
- Blaming or using the resident as a scapegoat
- Intimidating the resident with threats or yelling
- Isolating the resident from social activities
- Ignoring the resident entirely
Elderly Abuse Is Far Too Common
In fact, the National Center on Elder Abuse and the Bureau of Justice Statistics stated that more than 435,000 cases of elder emotional abuse was reported in 2012. This type of behavior can cause your loved one to feel hopeless, insecure, and vulnerable—something that is made even worse by knowing residents are entirely dependent on the facility for everything from their meals, to hygiene care, to mobility and socialization. Because they are so vulnerable, many residents are hesitant to report the abuse and are often manipulated or intimidated to stay quiet and subdued.
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Signs of Emotional Abuse
Emotional abuse of your loved one by nursing home staff is not always easy to detect. Unlike physical abuse, which typically results in visual bruising or other signs, emotional abuse is easier to hide. By paying close attention to changes in your loved one, you can better determine if they have experienced emotional abuse.
According to the National Center on Elder Abuse, signs of emotional abuse can include:
- Withdrawing from friends, family, and activities
- Reports of abuse
If your loved one is in a nursing home, it is most likely because they need more care than you can provide. You trust the nursing home administration and staff to provide the best care possible. Changes in your loved one’s demeanor, interests, and habits are signals that someone is intentionally hurting them.
Do not rely on your loved one to share what they experience with you. Most likely, they fear retaliation if they report the abuse. If you suspect that emotional abuse is the cause of changes in your loved one’s emotional, psychological, and physical health, seek justice. Call Pintas & Mullins Law Firm now for a free case evaluation: (800) 842-6336.
Why Emotional Abuse May Happen
Elderly nursing home residents rely on others for help with daily tasks. From assistance with dressing and bathing to a reliance on staff for their medications, their dependency makes them vulnerable to abuse.
Many nursing homes are understaffed, according to data analysis by Kaiser Health News. Staff shortages can leave them ill-tempered and with little patience for your elderly loved one.
The low wages and staffing shortages of nursing homes are not your problems, nor are they your loved one’s fault. If you visit your loved one and hear shouting and other forms of emotional abuse, relocate your loved one and contact us.
Examples of Verbal Emotional Abuse of the Elderly
The elderly are often slower to hear and respond to instructions. They require patience, and caring for them requires dedication. Yelling at them does not make them move faster. If anything, it can intimidate them so much that they do not move at all. There is no excuse for verbal emotional abuse. Examples of such abuse include:
- Yelling at them
- Threatening them
- Insulting them
- Embarrassing them in front of others
- Cursing at them
Nonverbal abuse of the elderly is another common occurrence in nursing homes. Examples of nonverbal abuse include such actions as:
- Ignoring your loved one
- Giving your loved one the silent treatment
- Limiting access to liquids and food
- Hiding their belongings
- Treating them as if they are a child
- Isolating them or preventing them from socializing
Emotional abuse of the elderly can result in serious psychological issues such as fear, sadness, agitation, and nervousness. The abuse can also cause a decline in your loved one’s health due to missed medications, a lack of nutrition, and other outcomes associated with elder abuse.
Your loved one may never return to the person you knew before they experienced the abuse. Relocating your loved one to a different nursing home is often expensive, and counseling or other types of therapy to help your loved one can result in additional expenses.
Reporting possible emotional abuse is necessary for justice and for protecting other residents from the same harm.
How a Nursing Home Lawyer Can Help You
Nursing homes have a responsibility to protect their residents from harm. When they are neglectful of this duty, a nursing home lawyer knows how to pursue civil action against them.
In order to protect their reputation within the community, an insurance company representing the nursing home may offer a settlement to your loved one. Do not accept it.
The nursing home and their insurance representatives want you and your case to go away. The initial offer made to you is typically a low-dollar amount that protects the best interests of the insurance company and the nursing home.
Protect the rights of your loved one by securing legal representation. No matter how many times the administration may apologize for what happened to your loved one, stand firm.
Your loved one did not deserve to receive verbal and nonverbal abuse as a paying client of the facility. Seeking possible compensation holds the nursing home accountable for the lack of supervision, training, and negligent actions of their staff.
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The elderly are among our nation’s most vulnerable population. When nursing home staff choose to engage in abusive behavior such as intimidation, you must take action. By serving as their voice, you can help protect your loved one and others like them who are vulnerable to abuse.
Securing legal representation immediately is essential to stopping the behavior and holding the nursing home accountable for their staff and negligence. Whether the staff responsible is not trained well or overworked makes no difference to your civil action.
Intimidation of the elderly can affect them in ways that go far beyond their psychological health. If your loved one experienced intimidation, let us help you. Call now for a free case evaluation: (800) 933-4159. We work on a contingency-fee-basis, meaning we collect nothing unless we secure compensation for you.
Overview of Intimidation
In order to identify intimidation, you must first understand what the term means. According to Merriam-Webster, intimidation is the act of purposely causing someone to feel fear or timid. The thought of someone purposely intimidating a defenseless elderly person is enough to frustrate and anger most.
When it is your loved one experiencing such harmful treatment, you must serve as their advocate. If management refuses to correct the situation, you must relocate your loved one. Your next step is to contact our legal team to learn your options for possible civil action.
Examples of Intimidation and Its Effects on the Elderly
Nursing home staff are in a position of power when it comes to your elderly loved one. Staff who abuse that power often use intimidation to get your elderly loved one to respond to a command or as a form of punishment.
Intimidation is a form of emotional and psychological abuse, and if it is not stopped, it can lead to serious physical ailments. Your elderly loved one may refuse to eat, take their medications, or bathe due to depression or fear of their caregivers.
Examples of possible intimidation in a nursing home can include one or more of the following:
- Using a raised and angry voice when addressing your loved one.
- Acting as if they are going to strike them.
- Withholding their favorite items.
- Threatening punishments if they do not do as told.
Your loved one is most likely afraid to share this information with you. It is a strong possibility that the intimidator uses threats if your loved one reports the abuse.
You may notice a difference in your loved one’s tone of voice or in their actions. Your typically-happy loved one may never smile or exhibit signs of shaking and anxiety. This is especially true if the employee abusing them enters the room. These are signals to you that something is not right and your loved one may not be safe.
Moving to a nursing home is a difficult adjustment for many residents. When the staff treats them in an abusive and unacceptable way, we encourage you to seek justice with us. Not only does your loved one deserve financial compensation, but they also deserve to know that someone held the nursing home accountable for their harm.
Taking Legal Action Against the Nursing Home
The elderly often have a host of medical conditions that require around-the-clock care. If your loved one is in a nursing home, chances are you experience some feelings of guilt. When you discover that they face intimidation by staff on a daily basis, you must do all you can to relocate them immediately.
Pursuing a civil action against the nursing home can possibly help with expenses that result from moving your loved one to a new facility. It also makes a firm statement to the nursing home that by pursuing legal action, you are demanding justice.
At Pintas & Mullins Law Firm, we have legal teams located throughout the United States. We are aware of the fast rate the aging population is growing and we understand that quality care can be difficult to find.
Caring for the elderly is often challenging, but for the right person, it can serve as a wonderful experience. It is the employees who are there for a paycheck and nothing more that have the potential for harming your loved one.
Nursing homes do not want negative attention to affect their reputation. If your loved one experienced intimidation, collect as much evidence as possible. Show up unannounced and use your smartphone to capture video.
Do not speak with insurance company representatives. Their interest is with their bottom line and their client—the nursing home. Protect the best interests of your loved one by contacting our firm.
We Will Fight for Justice on Your Loved One’s Behalf
Time is of the essence, so do not delay. Interviewing witnesses and negotiating a fair settlement with the insurance company takes time. If we are unable to settle your case out of court, we are unafraid to go to trial.
At Pintas & Mullins Law Firm, we take on tough cases involving emotional subjects like that of elder abuse. It is the emotional connection you have with your loved one that prevents you from successfully negotiating with an insurance company. Let us handle the negotiation process, and do not sign anything.
Should you accept an initial settlement offer from an insurance company, you forfeit your right to a civil claim later. This is distressing in the event your loved one’s condition worsens as a result of the abuse.
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Resources For Emotional Abuse
The elderly rely on the services provided by a nursing home to complete the most basic daily tasks. Their need for 24/7 care is why families select the best—and most affordable—nursing home possible.
No matter how much your loved one pays for care, all elderly residents deserve quality treatment and attention. If an employee is emotionally abusing your loved one, it is important that you take immediate action.
Emotional abuse is never acceptable and it is especially tragic when the victims are elderly. Valuable resources exist that can help navigate you through this challenging time.
If your loved one experienced emotional abuse and the nursing home did nothing to correct the situation, you may be entitled to filing a personal injury claim. At Pintas & Mullins Law Firm, we offer free case evaluations and you owe us nothing unless we collect compensation for you. For your free case evaluation, call us now: (800) 933-4159.
Resources for Emotional Abuse and Your Elderly Loved One
One of the most helpful resources for emotional abuse and other types of elder abuse is the National Ombudsman Resource Center (NORC). Each state has an ombudsman office established to resolve complaints and to advocate for the rights of nursing home residents.
In addition to these services, the NORC contains valuable information regarding a variety of topics regarding senior care. Seeking online resources and contacting your state ombudsman office are two ways to explore information regarding elder abuse and other important information.
Resources for Caregivers
Your loved one may reside in a nursing home but that does not mean you do not experience stress over their situation. When you expect emotional abuse of your loved one by staff, you may feel a variety of emotions such as anger, sadness, and guilt.
Worrying about your loved one and their quality of life is especially difficult if you live far from them. If you do live close to them, you may find your busy schedule makes it challenging to visit them.
Whether it is your parent, a relative, or simply an elderly person you have come to love, it is normal to experience a wave of emotions regarding their care.
Resources exist to help caregivers of all types. Some of the most popular agencies that provide caregiver tips include:
- Alzheimer’s Association
- National Alliance for Caregiving
- I’m a Caregiver/Medicare.gov
The stress of your loved one’s emotional abuse can take a toll on your physical health. By reaching out and establishing a network of support, you can find others dealing with similar situations.
Exploring valuable resources can open your eyes to what is normal, what is not, and what you need to do to best help your loved one.
Your loved one may need more help than you can provide. These valuable resources, along with resources within your community, are tools to help you spot potential abuse and how to report it.
Emotional Abuse of the Elderly is Not Acceptable
Discovering your loved one is suffering from emotional abuse is very upsetting. While you may want to immediately confront the abuser, it is important to gather as much evidence as possible.
Signs of possible emotional abuse are often hard to detect. If you live far from your loved one, ask a friend or neighbor to visit and watch for signs of abuse.
If you do happen to visit and witness the abuse, document everything. Should administration turn a deaf ear to your concerns, seek legal representation.
How Pintas & Mullins Law Firm Can Help Nursing Home Residents
At Pintas & Mullins Law Firm, we have legal teams located throughout the United States. We handle nursing home abuse cases and are eager to pursue justice on your behalf.
We understand how insurance companies try to get victims to accept a settlement. Their high-pressure tactics are not fair. Do not speak with them and seek legal representation instead.
We do not advise you to negotiate with insurance companies on your own. They are skilled at what they do and you may be feeling too emotional to deal with them successfully.
When you accept a settlement offer from an insurance company, you lose your right to pursue possible compensation later, should your loved one’s condition worsen. It is important that you do not sign any documents without securing legal services first.
If we are unable to reach a fair settlement out of court, we are willing to go to trial. The time for filing a civil action passes quickly due to the statute of limitations. It is imperative to contact us as soon as you are able to do so.
Let Our Elder Abuse Attorneys Help You
If you or someone you love is being victimized by emotional or psychological abuse, we urge you to contact an attorney from Pintas & Mullins. We offer free, confidential consultations and are available to travel to you.