Chicago Emotional Abuse Lawyers
The growing geriatric population has seen a significant rise in the number of Americans who are residing within a nursing home or similar facility. Families who lack the resources or ability to properly care for elderly loved ones often go to great lengths in order to seek out and identify the nursing homes that have the most to offer. Despite these efforts, instances of neglect and emotional abuse within nursing homes continues to rise. Families who have reason to suspect that their loved one is being mistreated or that may have evidence that emotional abuse and other forms of mistreatment have taken place would do well to seek legal assistance.
Emotional and Psychological Abuse
There are many different types of elder abuse, some of which may prove more difficult to detect than others. Unfortunately, psychological and emotional abuse are very common and may even take place behind the walls of the most well-respected nursing homes. This form of abuse can be either verbal or non-verbal and is characterized as any action that may cause nursing home residents to feel shamed, humiliated or to experience emotional harm and feelings of anguish. This type of abuse may result in significant and lasting psychological damage and may contribute to a decline in physical health, especially in situations where it may remain undetected.
Emotional abuse within an assisted-living facility can be especially harmful. Patients and residents who depend on the staff in order to provide them with care or to assist them as part of their everyday routine are often in a very vulnerable position. Care providers and staff that may lash out at their patients, insult them or to otherwise cause them to experience feelings of fear, anxiety or distress without fear of reprisal may pose a serious risk to the health and well-being of their patients. Taking steps in order to address the situation can often require family members to take legal action.
Signs of Emotional Abuse
There are a number of indications that may suggest a love one has become the victim of emotional abuse. Signs that psychological abuse may be occurring might include:
- Depression or emotional withdrawal
- Uncharacteristic agitation or other changes in behavior
- Stress or anxiety
- Loss of appetite
- Problems taking medication
For elderly loved ones who suffer from a a medical issue like Alzheimer’s disease, dementia or other conditions that might otherwise interfere with basic communication, being able to identify non-verbal signs of a problem can become an even more important concern.
Other Situations Where Elderly Abuse May Occur
Nursing homes are far from the only environment where elderly abuse may occur. An emotionally or psychologically abusive home-healthcare provide or even a member of the family can often cause just as much damage as a nursing home staff. Regardless of the situation, family members who suspect that their loved one may be the victim of abuse need to be prepared to act. From taking legal action against a service or facility to obtaining custody of an elderly loved one in order to remove them from the presence of an abusive family member, taking swift and effective action in order to deal with the situation is not a matter that should be left to chance.
Simply reporting a care provider to their superiors may not always be enough to ensure that the situation has been rectified. Nursing homes that have had problems with elder abuse in the past, home healthcare services that may be less than reputable and abusive family members that have been tasked with caring for an elderly or infirm member of the household may all pose a serious threat. Taking stronger action to protect an elderly family member may be the only way to ensure that they can be removed to a safe environment and that the damage caused by emotional or psychological abuse is able to be addressed.
What to Do If Abuse Is Suspected
If you or someone close to you has been the victim of emotional or psychological abuse, then it is time to seek out the assistance of a professional lawyer. Working alongside an attorney helps to ensure that families are able to make more effective decisions regarding the health and welfare of their loved ones. From documenting evidence of abuse to ensuring that nursing home residents are able to be relocated to a safe environment without delay, the resources and experience that only an attorney can provide may play a pivotal role in dealing with the situation.
If you have cause to suspect elder abuse, then it is time to take the next step by scheduling a legal consultation with an experienced attorney.