There are some people who crave isolation and like to spend the majority of their time away from others. But forced, never-ending isolation can be a form of abuse, elder abuse attorneys in California report — one that is hard to monitor or stop, especially in nursing homes for elderly residents.
Studies show that human companionship is critical to a person’s well-being and even the most solitary individuals need some form of contact with others. If a person is isolated or forcibly shut off from everyone else, the solitary time can be unendurable and contribute to a person’s decline in both mental and physical health.
Isolation as a form of elder abuse can include any of the following behaviors or actions:
- Intentional steps taken towards reducing or cutting off contact between an older resident and their family members, either by phone or in person
- Any attempts to prevent an older resident from consulting with his or her doctor and nurses, any law enforcement officials, members of a religious organization such as priests and clergy or other professionals
- Any instances of locking a resident in his or her room or keeping a resident from joining the rest of the community in common areas without probable reason
- Any restraining of a resident without his or her consent
- Confinement or false imprisonment of any kind
- Any restriction of visitors without a good reason
In a nursing home, isolation can be used as a fear tactic to dominate or suppress residents and force them into obedience or submission. An older person who has been victimized by isolation can suffer serious trauma and consequences, including depression, stress, anxiety, fear and extreme loneliness, even going so far as to commit suicide or to lose the will to live.
Often, older people do not receive daily visitors at their nursing homes and even those with close family members may be set up for visits on a rotating schedule. That said, the same people may not be there every day to pick up on patterns of abuse and violence. But nursing homes are required to provide quality care for their residents and one aspect of this care is companionship and contact, so any attempt to suppress that is considered elder abuse.
If you suspect an older person is being subject to any abusive behavior, including isolation, you should report it immediately, California elder abuse attorneys advise. No one deserves to be left completely alone, devoid of any companionship. To report abusive behavior, you can contact your local law enforcement agencies or police department, or the Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program, which has an all-hours crisis hotline, or speak to an elder abuse attorney with the Evans Law Firm, Inc. about legal options.
At the Evans Law Firm, our attorneys represent clients who have been victims of elder abuse as well as family members who have lost loved ones to elder abuse. To discuss your case, call one of our elder abuse attorneys in California for a free, no-strings consultation today. We can be reached by email at email@example.com, or by telephone at (888) 503-8267 or (415) 441-8669.