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Post Traumatic Stress Caused by Elder Abuse in Nursing Homes

Posted Jul 22 2013 9:00am

The following is a guest post by Farid Yaghoubtil of Downtown LA Law Group
According to the most recent data more than one million of our elderly experience some form of elder abuse, ranging from acts of violence, neglect, emotional abuse, sexual abuse, and fraud. However there has been little attention paid on the psychological and emotional trauma the elderly experience because such acts inflicted against them.
Over the past decade Post Traumatic Stress has gained more attention due to the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and the emotional trauma experience by our veterans. PTSD can effect anyone who has experience a traumatic event. The elderly are particularly vulnerable to developing PTSD from acts of verbal, emotional, and physical abuse and neglect.
What Are Some Sing of PTSD and Emotional Trauma Amongst Nursing Home Residents:
There can be numerous sings and symptoms of PTSD amongst resident of nursing homes and elderly care facilities. Some of the most common symptoms of post traumatic stress are as follows.
·       Depressed mood
·       Anxiety
·       Emotional detachment and avoidance ·       Increase irritability and anger ·       Nightmares and Flashbacks ·       Self destructive acts including attempted suicide ·       Inability of unwillingness to consume food ·       Failure to respond to questions asked by others ·       Afraid of staff and other residents of nursing homes
Victims of PTSD can also experience physical manifestations including increased blood pressure, heart attacks, ulcers, gastrointestinal concerns, vomiting and general nausea.
Verbal and Emotional Abuse in Nursing Homes:
All too often our elderly loved one will experience severe instances of emotional abuse while under the care of nursing home staff. Emotional abuse is often unnoticeable to family members of loved ones who have been victimized. Such abuse can manifest itself in tow way, verbal abuse and non verbal abuse. Signs of verbal and non verbal abuse are presented below.
Signs of Verbal Abuse:
·       Verbal abuse, threats, intimidation or humiliation ·       Constant yelling or degradation or harassment ·       Placing blame on the elderly
Signs of Nonverbal Abuse:
·       Isolation or confinement ·       Placing the elderly individual in a constant state of fear
Unlike other forms of elder abuse, emotional abuse rarely shows itself in a physical manifestation in the victim.  Rather, it places the elderly in a constant state of emotional pain and distress. Therefore, emotional  abuse is far more difficult to detect than other types of elder abuse.
Female Nursing Home Patient At Greater Risk of PTSD:  According to statistics females account for the vast majority of nursing homes and elderly care abuse victims. What's more troubling is that women are at a greater risk of developing PTSD from acts of severe emotional trauma and abuse. A recent study concluded that women are 2.4 time to 2.8 time more likely than men to experience PTSD after a traumatic experience.
Call To Action:  Whatever the cause PTSD amongst nursing home patients who have suffered acts of abuse and neglect should gain greater attention amongst law makers, nursing home regulators, advocates against elderly abuse and policy makers.
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