Emotional & Psychological Abuse
It is an unfortunate reality that senior citizens are frequently subjected to emotional and psychological abuse by those charged with their care. Since the elderly are often reliant on others for various day to day activities, they can be especially vulnerable to abuse. The lawyers at Slappey & Sadd, LLC regularly see cases of elder emotional and psychological abuse reported by loved ones who have discovered it in progress in nursing homes and other long-term care facilities. If you suspect that your loved one has been the victims of emotional or psychological abuse in a nursing home, it’s imperative that you contact an attorney as soon as you can.
To schedule a free consultation with an Atlanta nursing home abuse lawyer, call Slappey & Sadd today at 404-255-6677 or contact us online.Georgia Law Prohibits Emotional and Psychological Abuse of the Elderly
Georgia Code § 16-5-102 makes it illegal to abuse, neglect, or exploit an elder person. Abuse is defined to include willful infliction of “mental anguish” upon an elderly person. Such abuse is a felony in Georgia and can result in imprisonment for twenty years and/or a fine of $50,000.00. Remember, however, that the criminal part of a nursing home abuse case is not the same as making a civil claim, so victims should always retain their own attorney. Proving emotional and psychological abuse is difficult and requires the experience of a lawyer familiar with bringing such claims against nursing homes or other professional caregivers.Types of Emotional and Psychological Abuse
Emotional and psychological abuse can take many forms. The following list is not exhaustive, but illustrates the myriad versions of abuse:
- Preventing visitation of friends and family with the senior. This can make the senior feel isolated and often leads to depression;
- Threatening the senior. Any overt or implied threat against a senior’s welfare is strictly forbidden and should be documented;
- Harassing or intimidating the senior. Intimidation from a caregiver can be difficult to spot, as the goal is often to prevent the senior from reporting such abuse. To determine whether the caregiver is engaged in such insidious conduct it is necessary to speak at length with the senior;
- Insulting the senior. Continually insulting the senior will devalue the senior’s self-worth and can lead to depression;
- Ignoring the senior. Ignoring a senior has both a mental component to it and can also be considered another crime of neglect of a senior;
- Continually bringing up emotional subjects such as death. The caregiver may bring up emotional subjects to the senior with the goal of depressing the senior. This is considered emotional abuse;
- Not permitting the senior to make decisions for himself or herself when capable. If a senior is capable of making his or her own decisions, then they should be permitted to do so. Ignoring those decisions is both damaging emotionally but also quite possibly neglectful; and
- Continually criticizing the senior. Criticizing a senior has the affect of devaluing the senior’s self-worth and can lead to depression.
Certain groups are more likely to abuse a senior than others. Family members of the senior are often the most likely perpetrators of elder abuse, followed by caregivers. Providing care for a handicapped senior citizen can at times be stressful, and many who are not properly trained may take out their frustrations on the senior citizen. It is important for nursing homes to properly train their staff on how to care for the elderly and to take steps to prevent any form of abuse. But the sad truth is that many nursing homes do not employ properly trained caregivers and the result is often abuse of the elderly patient.Preventing Emotional and Psychological Abuse
Preventing emotional and psychological abuse of your elderly loved one is crucial. If your elderly loved one is moving to a nursing home or spending considerable amounts of time at a healthcare facility, it is important to review the facilities and shop around. Not all nursing homes are equal and some have records of abuse. Frequently visit your elderly loved one to make sure that he or she is being properly treated. There are certain warning signs of emotional and psychological abuse, such as a change in behavior, that may warrant a closer inspection of the care being provided (and the caregivers involved in the treatment).What to do if You Suspect Senior Emotional and Psychological Abuse
If you suspect your elderly loved one is being emotionally or psychologically abused, it is important to reach out to a lawyer such as the lawyers at Slappey & Sadd, LLC to discuss your options and put a plan in place. You will want to record possible abusive events and speak with your elderly loved one for testimony related to the abusive events. Writing down the elder’s recollection of such events can be used later as evidence in court if it comes to it. If the emotional and psychological abuse is in conjunction with physical abuse or financial abuse, document those abuses as well and provide your lawyer with the details to build your case.Legal Solution to Emotional and Psychological Abuse
It is important to report the elder abuse to government agencies that oversee senior care, such as the Georgia Department of Community Health, Healthcare Facility Regulation, and the Georgia Division of Aging Services’ Adult Protective Services. While this will result in potential regulatory punishment for the care facility, it will not necessarily make your elder loved one whole. In such circumstances it is beneficial to bring a lawsuit against the nursing home or other responsible party to seek both punishment for the perpetrator and reparation for your elder loved one. If your elder loved one is being abused, then others in the same facility are probably also being abused. By bringing a lawsuit against the facility you may very well put an end to such mistreatment, thus benefiting a large portion of the community.Contact the Atlanta Nursing Home Abuse Lawyers of Slappey & Sadd Today
If you suspect your parent or other elderly loved one is being emotionally and psychologically abused by their nursing home caregiver or family member, you should contact the Georgia nursing home abuse lawyers of Slappey & Sadd to discuss what steps you can take to stop the abuse and obtain justice. Call the lawyers at Slappey & Sadd, LLC today at 404-255-6677 to speak to a lawyer today.