Every senior—just like every person—deserves to be treated with dignity and respect, no matter what troubles they have encountered as they age, whether they are mentally or physically sick, unable to take care of themselves, suffering from dementia, etc. But in today’s society, emotional abuse is taking a toll on older Americans, and it can be just as harmful and detrimental to their health as physical abuse. This type of abuse can drain a person’s will to live, making it all the more dangerous when it is aimed at an older person will little or no outside ties to the world, such as family, friends, or pets.
At the Evans Law Firm, Inc., an Alameda elder abuse law firm, our attorneys see older clients who have been worn down from emotional abuse, often to a breaking point where they have been convinced that they are burdens to the rest of society. No matter what age or state of health, this is not the case! Any form of emotional abuse—degrading comments, isolation, constant nagging, berating, or belittling—is just that, abuse, and abusers can be prosecuted under California law.
Caretakers as Abusers
Because many older people need help with their day-to-day tasks, whether it is someone to bring in groceries and do light cleaning a few times a week, or full-time care and attention from an in-home nurse or relative, there is a fear of becoming a burden on that caretaker, or on the family. These abusers target that fear, placing the victims in a constant state of emotional strain, worrying that they are not worthy of care, time, or attention, or that money and time are being “wasted” on them.
Unfortunately, the environment is ripe for emotional abuse anywhere that a senior citizen is dependent on another person for care, attorneys at our Alameda County elder abuse law firm report. When emotional abuse comes from a caretaker, the fear of being a burden is constantly reinforced, and can drive the victim to despair and desperation.
What makes elder abuse even more troubling is that it is usually difficult to tell when it is going on. Unlike physical abuse, there are no bruises or broken bones as evidence. A victim is much less likely to report emotional abuse, because the primary goal of this abuse is to erode the person’s self-worth. Once emotional abuse reaches a level where the victim feels worthless and degraded, or like no one cares about him or her, the abuser is likely to continue to get away with these actions.
Some signs of potential emotional abuse include withdrawal, increased anxiety, displays of discomfort around a specific person, lack of contact, communication, or positive thinking, or changes in mood and temperament. If any of these signs are present, someone may be emotionally abusing your loved one, and you should act immediately.
At the Evans Law Firm, Inc., our Alameda County elder abuse attorneys represent clients who have suffered abuse in any form at the hands of their caretakers. Contact our attorneys for a consultation today at 415.441.8669 or www.evanslaw.com.