When your loved one is moved into a nursing home, one of the things you may worry about is their psyche. You want them to be happy and to have good interactions. You want them to feel secure and supported when they need help.
Unfortunately, there is a risk that they could face abuse or neglect that is damaging to them mentally. They may be victims of emotional or psychological abuse that causes them immense pain or causes them to feel terrible about themselves or their circumstances.
Too often, abuse is thought of as physical, but psychological abuse can be just as severe.
What are some examples of psychological abuse in nursing homes?
There are many different circumstances that might be considered psychological or emotional abuse. Statements such as the following may qualify.
- “It’s no wonder no one visits you, who would want to see an old loser like you?”
- “You really can’t do anything for yourself, can you?”
- “You’re disgusting, don’t touch me.”
These are all horrible things to say to anyone, let alone the most vulnerable in our society.
Emotional and psychological abuse fall into several categories. These include:
- Verbal assault
Fortunately, it is possible to recognize when someone is being abused in these ways. Some of the most common signs and symptoms include:
- Seeing major changes in your loved one’s behaviors, such as biting their nails, rocking back and forth or sucking on items.
- Watching your loved one become unusually withdrawn or nonresponsive.
- Seeing your loved one upset or agitated when you visit.
- Hearing that they’ve reported verbal or emotional mistreatment.
If your loved one mentions that they feel uncomfortable or don’t like where they’re living, it’s time to dig down a little deeper to find out why. If they’re being verbally abused or threatened, it’s important that you do take action. You can speak with the nursing home’s director first to try to stop the behavior, but if they don’t take action, then you may be able to take legal action against the facility and move your loved one elsewhere.