The Psychological Side of Elder Abuse

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elder abuse

Elder abuse takes many forms.  One form of elder abuse that can be harder to detect is psychological abuse.  It is much more common than most people realize.  Sometimes, when you hear the word elder abuse, visions of bruises and physical injuries come to mind.  But there is more difficult to detect psychological abuse that people have to watch for.  

Studies show that women are more likely to suffer from psychological or emotional elder abuse than men.  In one study, 54 out of 129 seniors experienced psychological abuse from their caregivers.  Another study shows that 38% of seniors experienced at least one instance of verbal abuse.    

If, after reading this article, you have additional questions about your own situation, then we welcome you to contact elder abuse attorneys in Stuart, FL at Crary Buchanan. At Crary Buchanan, we are proud of our standard of excellence, which has allowed us to thrive as one of the oldest law firms on Florida’s Treasure Coast.  

Our elder abuse lawyers in Stuart are passionate about giving you the highest quality representation.  Call us today at 772-287-2600, or schedule a free estate consult online with our online contact form

1. What is Psychological Elder Abuse?

Psychological or emotional abuse aimed at seniors can occur in many different ways.  Generally, it can be defined by verbally or non-verbally inflicting trauma, distress, and anguish on the elderly person.  This can include screaming at the elderly person, demeaning them, threatening them, insulting them, calling them names, repeatedly ignoring them, and swearing at them.  It also can occur by purposely isolating the elderly from family and friends.

2. Who is Most Likely to Commit Psychological Elder Abuse?

Unfortunately, it is the people we entrust our elder family members’ care to who commit the abuse.  Caregivers are the number one elder abuser.  The caregiver could be a spouse or a son, or daughter, or other family members, friends, or someone paid to care for the senior.  If the person who needs care is in a nursing home, then it is generally the nursing home staff that serves as the primary caregiver.  It is awful that these people are supposed to do what is right for our elderly population, family, and loved ones.  But they have the most opportunity since they are the most likely to be alone with elderly loved ones, to be responsible for possible elder abuse.

3. What are the Signs of Psychological Elder Abuse?

It is important to watch our elderly loved ones for signs of psychological abuse.  These can include anxiety, depression, or irritability.  The elderly person may show fear when around certain people.  For example, if the person is in a nursing home, and he or she exhibits fear when a specific caregiver comes into the room, that is a sign of abuse.  The elderly person may become withdrawn, stop sleeping, lose weight, be agitated, or show other outward signs of trauma.  If you see those signs, take them seriously and consider contacting elder abuse attorneys in Stuart, FL, if you have questions.

4. Why Is Psychological Elder Abuse Rarely Reported?

Much of the time elder abuse is not reported.  This encompasses every kind of elder abuse including psychological abuse.  We all have read and heard statistics on spousal abuse and other forms of abuse that are not always reported.  The reasons for the elderly not reporting abuse can be the same reasons why another abuse is not reported.  For one, the psychological abuse may come from a caregiving spouse, and there are many reasons that are not reported, including the fear of retaliation.

Fear is one huge reason the elderly do not report psychological abuse:  It can be the fear of retaliation already mentioned, fear of being put in a nursing home, or fear of what others will think.  The elder abuse victim may be embarrassed by what is happening.  The senior may not know what to do or to whom to report the abuse.  The senior may believe that this is just how things are, and he or she may feel unable to change it.  Again, if you detect signs of abuse and have questions, contact elder abuse attorneys in Stuart, FL to help.

5. What to do if You Suspect Psychological Elder Abuse?

There are laws that protect the elderly against abuse.  This includes psychological abuse.  Do not be afraid to report any suspected psychological abuse.  Contact the Department of Children and Families to report any and all suspected abuse.  In addition, contact elder abuse attorneys in Stuart, FL for help.  Psychologically abusing the elderly has consequences and the responsible party will be responsible for damages.

Contact Experienced Elder Abuse Attorneys in Stuart, FL, to Get the Help You Need 

At Crary Buchanan, we are committed to providing clients with exceptional service in every aspect of estate planning and personal injury law.  You can depend upon our 85 years of experience in the Florida legal industry. 

Our legal team is passionate about maintaining the high standards of professionalism and legal service that were established and practiced by founding attorneys Evans Crary Sr. and Evans Crary Jr.  Evans Crary Sr. began his law practice in Stuart in 1927 at a time when Martin County was only two years old.  He became a municipal judge at the age of 25 and served as County Attorney for 23 years. 

During his time as County Attorney, he was elected to represent Martin County in the Florida Legislature.  In 1945 he was elected to the Florida House of Representatives. He served in the House for nine years and even served as Speaker of the House before he went on to become a member of the Florida Senate.  Today, the Crary Buchanan law firm continues to practice the example of integrity, professionalism, energy, and devotion that was clearly illustrated in the lives of both Evans Crary Sr. and Evans Crary Jr.

Our clients are more than case numbers; they are people. We recognize that you are an individual with unique needs and expectations. Our team is here to meet your need and exceed your expectations. When you work with us, you can have confidence that a caring legal advocate is on your side.

If you have more questions or want a dedicated elder abuse and personal injury attorney in Stuart to help you, call 772-287-2600 or schedule a free consult online with our online contact form.  You can always depend on Crary Buchanan for community, experience, and trust.  Call today.  

The information in this blog post is provided for informational purposes only and is not intended to be legal advice.  You should not make a decision whether or not to contact an attorney based upon the information in this blog post.  No attorney-client relationship is formed nor should any such relationship be implied.  If you require legal advice, please consult with an attorney licensed to practice in your jurisdiction.