Emotional and Psychological abuse is any action, verbal or non-verbal, that lessens a person’s sense of identity, dignity and self-worth.
Elder Abuse – Psychological Abuse of Seniors
How Do I Recognize Emotional Abuse?
- Words that are hurtful make the senior feel unworthy.
- Not considering a person’s wishes. Removal of decision-making powers
- Not respecting a person’s belongings or pets.
- Threatening a senior,” Give me gas money or I won’t take you to visit your grandchildren.”
- Treating a senior like a child.
- Shunning, ignoring or lack of acknowledgement
- Verbal intimidation, being forced into making decisions against the seniors’ will.
- Threats of institutionalization – “Do what I say or I’ll put you in a home”
- Not allowing the senior to socialize, including access to telephone, friends, neighbours, or attending social gatherings
- Withholding of affection, such as refusing access to grandchildren
Signs of Psychological Abuse
- Low self-esteem, withdrawal
- Lack of eye contact with health care providers
- Fearfulness – Nervous around caregiver or other persons
- Reluctance to talk openly, waits for caregiver to respond to questions asked of them
- Insomnia/sleep deprivation/fatigue, listlessness