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Psychological abuse risk factors for the elderly

Nursing home abuse can take many forms. While people often think of physical or even sexual abuse first, it's important to consider psychological abuse as well. This type of abuse can cause unneeded stress or emotional distress, perhaps even leading to depression and other serious issues.

While it's important to remember that anyone in a nursing home could potentially be at risk, there are some specific risk factors that could mean a loved one faces an elevated danger. These risk factors include:

-- Age. Those who are 75 and older are especially at risk.

-- Memory issues. Residents who are abused may not remember exactly what happened, though they can still be emotionally and mentally harmed.

-- Caregivers who use drugs or alcohol.

-- Caregivers with their own mental issues and disorders, from depression to mental illness.

-- An elderly person who struggles to get along with other people. This may make it more likely for those people -- the nursing home staff -- to target that person with various types of abuse.

-- Serious, long-term conditions. These could include things like a stroke, dementia, paralysis or diabetes.

Now, nursing homes do attempt to screen their workers, but the system is not perfect. If you see warning signs and suspect that abuse is taking place, it may be time to look into the issue and investigate.

Remember, many elderly people are not in a position to defend themselves -- especially when they don't remember the abuse -- and family members may be the only help they have. If you want to find out more about what you can do, our website is very informative.

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