Following my father’s recent death, my mom’s emotional well being has become a serious concern.
Verbal, emotional or psychological abuse can range from name calling or giving the “silent treatment” to intimidating and threatening the individual. When a family member behaves in a way that causes fear, mental anguish or emotional pain or distress, the behavior can be regarded as abusive.
Psychological abuse involves any type of coercive or threatening behavior that sets up a power differential between the older adult and her family member. It can also include treating the older person like a child and isolating the person from family, friends and regular activities-through force, threats or manipulative behavior.
Violence, abuse and neglect toward older individuals are signs that the people involved need help immediately.
Psychological abuse wreaks mental anguish by means of threats, humiliation, fear, manipulation, or other cruel conduct, inflicted via verbal or nonverbal communication cues. It is the systematic perpetration of malicious and explicit nonphysical acts against an elder. Examples include harassment, scolding, insults, denigration, and controlling.
Interfering with decision making, making false accusations, and controlling the individual’s freedom can effectively destabilize the elder and lead to isolation.
Although there is no single pattern of psychological abuse, it is reported that 90% of perpetrators of elder psychological abuse are family members.
Typically, the perpetrator is a highly stressed close relative.
If you suspect that an older person is being abused or neglected, Don’t let your fear of meddling in someone else’s business stop you from reporting your suspicions. You could be saving someone’s life.