One of the lesser-known forms of elder abuse in Florida is emotional mistreatment. Because emotional abuse lacks visible injuries, you may not immediately notice someone suffering.
Protecting your parents against the many types of emotional abuse requires you to educate them about their rights and what compassionate treatment looks like.
Verbal vs. nonverbal
Emotional abuse can happen verbally and non-verbally. According to Psych Central, non-verbal emotional abuse includes isolation, restricting opportunities for socializing, condescending treatment, terrorizing, ignoring and limiting access to necessities. Verbal emotional abuse includes intimidation, yelling, threats, insulting and ridiculing.
Both forms of emotional abuse can cause debilitating trauma. If your parents begin to withdraw or show signs of fear, you may want to look deeper into their experiences at the assisted living facility where they live. Other signs that indicate emotional abuse include depression, insomnia, poor decision making, behavioral changes and anxiety. If your parents appear to have lost their enthusiasm and excitement for events they typically look forward too, you may have cause for concern.
Undoing psychological injuries
Reversing the psychological trauma that emotional abuse creates may take time and consistent support. You can encourage your parents to share their feelings. Consider counseling to help them identify triggers and regain their sense of confidence and dignity. You can participate in therapy appointments as well so you can gain insight into the situation and learn how to provide optimal support.
Institutionalized elder abuse has severe legal consequences. Do not be afraid to report abusive behavior to the proper authorities. You may also consider taking legal action to press charges against the perpetrators.