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What Are the Risk Factors for Emotional Abuse in the Elderly?

Instances of emotional and psychological abuse in nursing homes and assisted living facilities are more prevalent than the American public may know. The World Health Organization notes that this type of abuse is more common than others, including cases of neglect and physical abuse, with nearly 12% of patients in group homes experiencing some type of emotional mistreatment.

While any elderly individual might fall prey to emotional abuse in a nursing facility, there are several risk factors that may increase the chances of new or repeated occurrences of this problem.

Poor mental health

Elderly people may experience psychological and emotional abuse due to a weakened state of mind, such as those who suffer from dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. When this is the case, the abuser may worry less about the victim reporting any incidents, so relatives of any elderly patients with mental health problems may want to remain vigilant about who comes into contact with the elder and request background checks for any employees who spend a great deal of time with him or her.

Gender

While both elderly men and women can fall victim to emotional abuse while living in a nursing home,  women tend to experience it more often. Those who practice the abuse may see female victims as easier targets, especially those from cultural backgrounds with a patriarchal history and feel they do not have the right to speak out.

Stereotypes and antiquated views of elderly people may also contribute to emotional abuse among those who live in a community setting. Solid family ties and a commitment to the emotional and physical well-being of an elderly family member may reduce the risk.

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