How Can I Identify Psychological Abuse in an Orange County Nursing Home?

Elder abuse in an Orange County nursing home can be difficult to identify no matter what form the abuse takes. Yet some types of nursing home abuse are even more difficult to identify than others because they do not have obvious physical signs and symptoms. There are many different forms of nursing home abuse, including physical abuse, sexual abuse, willful deprivation, passive neglect, and psychological or emotional abuse. With many of those forms of abuse, friends or family members might see physical signs, like cuts or bruises, restraint marks, or bedsores. Yet when it comes to psychological abuse, the signs are not always as prominent.

We want to tell you more about psychological abuse, and to encourage you to seek help from a nursing home abuse lawyer if you have suspicions of abuse or neglect affecting your elderly loved one. 

Understanding Psychological Abuse in a California Nursing Home

According to an article in Aging Well, psychological abuse might be the most prominent form of elder abuse in nursing homes. To be sure, it has a reported incidence rate of more than 54%. In addition to being common, psychological abuse is “the most difficult form of abuse to detect because it lacks clear evidence and concrete assessment criteria.” It frequently occurs alongside other forms of abuse in nursing homes, but not always.

What is psychological abuse? It can include actions or behaviors from staff members directed toward elderly patients that may include making threats, attempting to humiliate the older adult, or trying to place the older adult in a state of fear, for instance. The article cites all of the following as examples of how psychological abuse can manifest itself in the nursing home setting:

  • Harassment;
  • Scolding;
  • Insults;
  • Threats;
  • Denigration; and
  • Stalking.

Vulnerable Older Adults and Psychological Abuse

In many cases, psychological abuse can be especially hard to detect not only because it does not necessarily produce physical signs, but also because patients who suffer from psychological abuse also have cognitive impairments that make it difficult to understand what is happening and to report an abusive staff member. For example, elderly nursing home residents who have Alzheimer’s disease or another form of dementia can be particularly vulnerable when it comes to psychological abuse.

It is critical to know the symptoms of psychological abuse if you have an elderly loved one in a California nursing home, and to make a report if you see any signs of concerns. The article in Aging Well cites the following as behaviors from an older adult in a nursing home that may be signs of psychological abuse:

  • Withdrawal from interest in activities;
  • Unexplained depression;
  • Reluctance to talk;
  • Becoming more passive or evasive;
  • Failing to make eye contact with a staff member or caregiver;
  • Failing to or refusing to engage in verbal communication with a staff member or caregiver;
  • Physically cowering in the presence of a particular staff member or caregiver;
  • Unexplained anxiety;
  • Fear;
  • Confusion; and/or
  • Changes in sleeping or eating habits that do not have other explanations.

Contact an Orange County Nursing Home Abuse Attorney

If you have any questions or concerns about elder abuse, one of our Orange County nursing home abuse lawyers can help. Contact the Walton Law Firm today to discuss your case.


See Related Blog Posts:

Los Angeles County Nursing Home Falls Could Increase During the Pandemic

Are Riverside County Nursing Homes Negligent When Workers Spread COVID-19?

Contact Information