Senior citizens and dependent adults living in nursing homes face not only the risks of physical and sexual abuse, but mental abuse as well. The signs of mental abuse may be more difficult to notice than physical abuse, but mental abuse can result in horrific living circumstances for a senior citizen and can lead to illnesses and even early death. Thus, learning to be on the lookout for the warning signs of elder mental abuse is important, especially for family members and friends, as the elderly person in the nursing home may be too afraid or otherwise unable to speak up about it. Mental abuse is illegal under California law, and a person who has suffered the effects of mental abuse can take legal action to hold the perpetrators of mental abuse and their employers accountable. Below are a few of the more common signs of mental abuse in nursing homes.
Isolation and/or Apathy
A nursing home resident experiencing mental abuse may respond by isolating from others and generally exhibiting apathy about engaging with others and life in general. This might mean failing to show up to meals or eating by oneself, not wanting to participate in group activities, spending time alone in the room with the door closed, and so on. Mental abuse can come from a variety of sources, including employees, other residents, other family members, and even strangers, so it is important to determine why the isolation is occurring.
Another common reaction to mental abuse, especially for those victims with diminished physical and mental capacities, is to revert into child-like behaviors such as mumbling, talking to oneself, rocking back and forth repeatedly, and other behaviors that might point to a feeling of helplessness in the face of mental abuse. One such factor that goes into this behavior could be the inability of the victim to express to others the nature of the mental abuse out of fear of further reprisal or confusion about what has occurred or what to do about it.
Fear or Agitation Around Nursing Home Employees
For a person who has recently moved into a nursing home or is experiencing a loss of mental faculties with age, fear and agitation around the employees of the nursing home might be normal, but it may also be a sign of mental abuse. These reactions could indicate that the senior citizen is afraid that they will experience further mental abuse, physical abuse, or neglect if they somehow act in a way that displeases the worker.
Contact the Elder Abuse Attorneys at Berglund & Johnson Today
Having worked with injured victims and their families across Southern California for over three decades, we understand the fear, intimidation, and confusion that can result from elder abuse. Our attorneys are here to help you through this process and provide all the guidance you need to get the recovery you rightly deserve. We are committed to serving the legal needs of you and your family in an honorable, ethical, and compassionate manner. Contact Berglund & Johnson today at 1-800-4IF-HURT to schedule a brief, no-hassle consultation to discuss your situation and see how we might be of service to you and your family.