When you think of abuse of residents in Kentucky nursing homes, you probably think of physical or sexual abuse; these are the forms of abuse that leave more visible signs. Other types of abuse include financial abuse, healthcare fraud and abuse, financial exploitation, and emotional abuse. This last type—emotional abuse—is the focus of this article on elder abuse in nursing homes.

What Is Emotional Abuse?

Emotional abuse by a caregiver can be either verbal or nonverbal. Some examples include

  • threats;
  • belittling or mocking;
  • controlling behavior;
  • shouting;
  • criticizing;
  • ignoring; and
  • isolation.

Risk Factors for Emotional Abuse

Residents of nursing homes often are elderly, weak, or ill. HelpGuide.org lists the following factors that influence the degree to which residents are vulnerable to abuse:

  • the degree of illness or dementia;
  • the amount of time spent alone with the caregiver; and
  • the resident’s tendency to be physically or verbally aggressive.

Risk factors for resident abuse among nursing home caregivers may include the following:

  • lack of ability to handle stress;
  • depression;
  • lack of support from other caregivers;
  • understaffing;
  • having a personality that is not suited to caring for others;
  • poor working conditions; and
  • lack of adequate training.

Warning Signs of Emotional Abuse

Friends and relatives of nursing home residents may not easily detect signs of emotional abuse in their loved ones. Many of the symptoms may be side effects of medication, a deteriorating medical condition, or worsening dementia. Still, take note of the following signs of emotional abuse:

  • being in a high state of agitation;
  • acting withdrawn, nonresponsive, or uncommunicative;
  • being very upset;
  • displaying dementia-like behavior, such as rocking, sucking, or mumbling to himself;
  • an assertion by the resident that she is being emotionally or verbally abused

The resident is not always able to speak up about the abuse that is going on. She may be afraid of retaliation from the caregiver. If he has dementia, he may not remember or be capable of communicating about the incidents.

No one who lives in a Kentucky nursing home should be subjected to abuse or neglect. If your loved one is one of those unlucky residents, get an experienced Kentucky nursing home abuse attorney. Call Gray and White Law at 502-210-8942 or toll free at 888-450-4456 to set up a FREE, no-obligation consultation.

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