When the topic of elder abuse comes up, many people think of physical and financial abuse. While it is common for older adults to fall victim to financial scams or physical abuse, we shouldn’t overlook the importance of watching for the risk of psychological abuse.

What is Psychological Abuse?

As a person ages, they deserve to maintain dignity and self-respect. If someone treats the person in a way that is demeaning or offensive, then it can be considered psychological abuse.
This could take the form of insults, threats, harassment, humiliation, or undue influence. Sometimes it happens in a way that isolates the person from family and friends. Often, the victim feels like they are unable to take care of themselves. In turn, they start to become dependent on the abuser.

Signs of Psychological Abuse

Identifying the signs of psychological abuse can be challenging. Here are a few red flags that might alert you to the situation:

  • Hesitation to speak openly, especially when they are in the presence of a particular person
  • Unresponsive communication
  • Withdrawal
  • Anxiety
  • Fear
  • Agitation
  • Helplessness
  • Changes in behavior, appetite, and sleep patterns

If you notice any of these warning signs, it can be helpful to talk to the person in a safe setting. A one-on-one conversation will give you the opportunity to discover more about the situation.
Sometimes the person might not be willing to talk, even privately. As a family member, you should never hesitate to contact the authorities if you suspect that something might be wrong. It is always best to err on the side of caution, instead of risking a situation where the person is injured physically or psychologically.
Do you have questions about the prevention of elder abuse? Read the articles on our website for more information. Feel free to contact us anytime if you need additional information. Email info@SeniorSafeAndSound.org or call 858-480-7551. Senior Safe and Sound.
This information is intended to inform the public at large about this important issue. It is not intended to serve as legal or medical advice.