Why is Grandma acting different? If you notice behavioral changes in an elderly loved one who lives in a nursing home, it is important for you to pay attention. While there are many excellent facilities out there, elder abuse is a real thing. Psychological elder abuse is the most difficult kind to spot, but it is also the most common.
One of the best ways to avoid nursing home problems developing or continuing is by staying involved and staying informed. Awareness is a key to prevention when it comes to elder abuse. Here are some things family members can do to help seniors identify and prevent psychological abuse.
- Educate seniors about what to look out for
Knowledge is power in the struggle against abuse. Psychological abuse can be verbal and nonverbal. It can involve yelling, intimidation and silent treatment, among other examples of abusive behavior. Phone scams can also cause psychological damage. If a nursing home resident is on the alert for these issues, it may help him or her feel more comfortable about reporting them.
- Stay involved
Check in on your loved one. Call or visit the nursing home regularly. Stay knowledgeable about the contacts and events in his or her life.
- Encourage regular activity
Make sure your loved one avoids isolation by getting out of his or her room and socializing with others. Daily exercise is also important. Seniors need to keep moving!
- Look for sudden changes
Anxiety, depression, agitation, social withdrawal, a lack of confidence and a sense of hopelessness are all common signs of psychological abuse. Physical indicators of mental and emotional trauma may include insomnia, malnutrition, weight loss or low energy.
- Ask questions
Asking questions is a great way to understand a situation. Ask your loved one about treatment by friends, staff and other acquaintances. Questions about specific abuse indicators can be particularly helpful.