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What are signs of emotional abuse in the elderly?

If you have an elderly relative in a nursing home in New Mexico, you may be concerned about abuse. Stories are often told about resident abuse, and many elderly individuals are unable to communicate what is happening to them. It then becomes your job to watch out for signs of abuse. It can be easy to notice physical abuse, but what about emotional abuse? Even outside a nursing home situation, emotional abuse can be tough to detect, but there are signs you can watch out for.

According to Helpguide.org, emotional abuse often results in behavioral changes. You may also watch for signs that your loved one is not happy with a caregiver or is uncharacteristically upset about a specific caregiver. If your loved one is not usually combative or argumentative but is with a specific person, then this could be a sign that person is emotionally abusive. You may also notice your elderly relative starts exhibiting odd behaviors that might seem like signs of dementia, such as talking to his or herself, rocking and sucking. 

Emotional abuse most often is easiest to detect when witnessed. You might not be aware that you have seen it happening. It can include intimidation, humiliation, ridicule, threats, controlling behavior and isolation. It also can involve ignoring the person and not giving them attention on purpose, such as for punishment.

It can be very difficult to spot emotional abuse because of the situation in a nursing home. You are not always there. You may not completely understand your loved one's health situation. However, if you have concerns, you should always speak up. This information is only intended to educate and should not be interpreted as legal advice.

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