Los Angeles Emotional Elder Abuse Attorney
Emotional elder abuse is a harmful type of abuse that can lead to psychological distress, mental anguish and diminished health in an already vulnerable population. Although emotional abuse is not physical, it can still be highly damaging to a victim. No family expects their elderly loved one to become a victim of emotional or psychological abuse. However, statistics show that this is the most common type of elder abuse. Thankfully, there are steps that you can take to prevent this kind of harm and a Los Angeles emotional elder abuse attorney can intervene if you believe your loved one is a victim.
What Is Considered Emotional Abuse of the Elderly?
Emotional abuse of the elderly means that a senior citizen (someone who is 65 or older) suffers harm through nonphysical wrongful acts such as verbal harassment, insults, neglect, malnourishment or general mistreatment. Emotional abuse can be verbal or nonverbal. It can also be intentional or unintentional. Elder emotional abuse is often perpetrated upon a dependent adult by those in positions of power or authority over victims, such as caregivers, nursing home staff members, assisted living facilities personnel, and nurses. Emotional abuse can also originate from people who are close to the senior, such as friends, loved ones and family members.
What Is an Example of Emotional Elder Abuse?
Elder or nursing home abuse that is emotional in nature can take many forms. The ways in which a vulnerable senior citizen can suffer nonphysical abuse are almost endless. Examples include:
- Verbally harassing, abusing or berating a victim.
- Yelling, screaming or swearing at a victim.
- Manipulating or psychologically tormenting a victim.
- Humiliating, demeaning or debasing a victim.
- Threatening, intimidating, or putting a victim in fear for his or her life.
- Threatening an elderly adult’s loved ones or pets.
- Forcing a nursing home resident to go without basic hygiene.
- Withholding food, water or medical care.
- Taking away an elderly person’s right to make his or her own decisions.
- Placing belongings or medications out of reach.
- Improperly or unnecessarily restraining a victim.
- Isolating a victim from other people or ignoring him or her.
Any of these actions can result in emotional, mental or psychological turmoil for an elderly person. Even if a caregiver doesn’t mean to emotionally abuse a victim, it is a crime that deserves justice. Other factors may also be at play, such as financial elder abuse, physical mistreatment, or the denial of basic needs. The Los Angeles emotional elder abuse lawyers at Rose, Klein & Marias LLP are here to fight for your loved one’s well-being.
What Are the Signs of Possible Emotional or Psychological Elder Abuse?
Emotional abuse can have a wide range of effects on an elderly victim. It can have specific outcomes or result in an overall decline in an elderly person’s mental or physical health. You may notice confusion that is unrelated to a medical condition, for example, or physical signs of mistreatment or malnourishment. You may also notice one or more of the following:
- Low self-esteem. Emotional abuse can have a psychological effect on a victim, resulting in lower self-confidence, a reduced self-image and related self-neglect.
- Changes in personality or behavior. The victim may suddenly lash out, have fits of aggression or become more subdued than usual.
- Fear or nervousness. Signs of fear, anxiety or agitation around a certain caregiver or in general can point to issues with the elder’s care, including possible emotional abuse.
- Mental health problems. A victim of emotional abuse may show signs of depression, anxiety, psychological trauma or post-traumatic stress disorder.
- Loss of interest. An elderly person who is suffering from emotional abuse may show signs of detachment or disinterest in favorite hobbies or activities, as well as isolation from other people.
- Suicidal thoughts or actions. If a senior citizen is expressing suicidal thoughts, actions or behaviors, he or she could be suffering from emotional abuse.
Keep in mind that every emotional abuse victim is unique. The best way to detect signs of this type of elder abuse is by visiting and speaking with your elderly loved one often. This will allow you to notice signs of dependent adult abuse and changes in his or her mood, personality, behaviors, habits and health.
How to Report Elder Abuse in Los Angeles, California
If you suspect that an elderly individual is suffering from emotional abuse, take action to help the victim right away. Your first priority should be to get the victim out of danger by taking him or her to a safe location. Then, report the abuse to one or more authorities for assistance:
- The police for an emergency situation (911).
- A manager at the nursing home or long-term living facility.
- The Los Angeles Adult Protective Services (877-477-3646).
- The County of Los Angeles Office of the Ombudsman (866-931-2222).
- A domestic violence hotline for cases involving family members (800-799-7233).
- An elder abuse attorney in Los Angeles (800-362-7427).
These resources can help you protect your loved one and take action against a perpetrator, such as by investigating a nursing home or arresting a criminal. Then, a Los Angeles emotional elder abuse lawyer can help you with the next step – filing a civil lawsuit in California.
Can You Sue for Emotional Elder Abuse?
Yes, a victim of elder emotional abuse can file a civil lawsuit (a personal injury claim) against one or more parties in pursuit of financial compensation for related losses. A lawsuit for elder abuse can be brought against the person who committed the abusive act, such as an individual family member or caregiver. In a case involving institutional abuse or an employee, the facility can also be held accountable. If the emotional abuse came from a nursing home staff member, for example, the nursing home can be held vicariously liable.
A successful civil claim brought for elder emotional abuse can result in monetary damages, or compensation, awarded to the victim. The damages available can cover any related medical bills, including psychological therapy or counseling, as well as costs associated with moving the victim to a different facility or hiring a new caregiver. The victim may also qualify for pain and suffering and punitive damages. While no amount of money can undo injuries or harm suffered by a victim of emotional elder abuse, a lawsuit can hold someone accountable and help the victim move forward with less financial stress.
Contact an Elder Emotional Abuse Attorney Today for Assistance
If you believe that someone you love is experiencing emotional elder abuse in Los Angeles, contact the law firm of Rose, Klein & Marias LLP to request a free case consultation. Elder emotional abuse can be more difficult to prove than other forms of abuse, such as physical or sexual abuse. You may need an attorney to help you gather evidence and bring a lawsuit. Call (800) 362-7427 today to speak to an elder abuse lawyer near you during a free consultation.