Elder neglect is not only physical but also emotional. As people age, they are likely to become more isolated for a few reasons. The first is that they may lose their spouses or close friends. The second is having to move to a nursing home or assisted-living facility. A third is because their children are grown and may not be nearby to assist them.

As the elderly grow older, it is important that their emotional needs are still met. It’s only by talking with them and getting to know their thought processes that their mental health can adequately be known and monitored. This is particularly important for those who may have a risk of developing dementia or Alzheimer’s disease.

A person’s mental health is a primary indicator of how well they can care for themselves. In a nursing home, it should be a necessity to speak with residents and to identify when they are not acting normally or when their mental abilities begin to decline. Regular medical appointments with physicians familiar with the patients can also help physicians stay up-to-date on their patients’ needs as they age. If necessary, this also gives the medical staff time to reach out to the patient’s family for guidance when the time comes.

Even more important is the fact that good mental health support can help patients feel better. Happy patients recover faster than those who are miserable after an injury, and balanced mental health support can help those who are aging adjust comfortably even in difficult times.

Your loved one has a right to live in a supportive environment. Speak out if they are not getting the care they need.