Emotional or psychological abuse can include:
- threatening to do something to the older adult or to something or someone the person cares about;
- mental cruelty;
- forced socialization or isolation;
- treating the older adult like a child; or
- not allowing the older adult to make decisions for themselves.
Signs of Emotional Abuse
- showing fear of certain family members, friends, or caregivers;
- withdrawal, passivity, agitation, anxiety, apathy, or depression without any apparent reason;
- unexplained paranoia or fears;
- physical signs of isolation;
- unusual weight gain/loss;
- refusing to talk openly;
- making inconsistent statements;
- waiting for the caregiver to respond to questions;
- noticeable behavioural changes including avoiding eye contact;
- low self-esteem;
- difficulty sleeping or needing excessive sleep;
- making excuses for social isolation; or
- being largely ignored, treated passively, or treated like a child by a caregiver.
NOTE: Some of these indicators may be present and the older adult is not being abused. These are only possible signs of abuse.
For more information, see CPLEA’s Let’s talk: Elder abuse resource manual.