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Psychological Abuse of the Elderly for Family Members and Carers


Psychological or emotional abuse occurs when a carer causes emotional pain or stress for an elder. A carer may be a family member or a person who is responsible for taking caring of him. The carer may insult, threaten, humiliate, or harass him through words or actions. He may also ignore the elder or isolate him from family members, friends, or daily activities. His rights may be ignored, limited, or taken from him even if he can think and act for himself. Psychological abuse can happen in the elder's home, the carer's home, or a facility, such as a nursing home.


Follow up with the elder's healthcare provider as directed:

Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during the elder's visits.


The elder may need to rest when he feels it is needed. Tell the elder's healthcare provider if he has trouble sleeping.


Psychological abuse may cause the elder to feel scared, depressed, or anxious. A healthcare provider may suggest that the elder see a counselor to talk about how he is feeling.

How to help the elder:

  • Report psychological abuse: It may be hard to report psychological abuse, but it is very important. Healthcare providers can help the elder if he is at risk for or is a victim of psychological abuse.
  • Attend follow-up visits with the elder: A healthcare provider may talk to you, the elder, his family, friends, or those who should be held responsible for psychological abuse. This includes what may happen if psychological abuse does not stop.

Contact the elder's healthcare provider if:

  • He has problems sleeping.
  • He cannot get to his next office visit.
  • He has new signs and symptoms.
  • You or the elder has questions or concerns about his condition or care.

Return to the emergency department if:

  • He feels like hurting himself or someone else.
  • He feels that he cannot cope with his condition or his recovery from it.
  • He has shortness of breath, chest pain, or a fast heartbeat.

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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

Learn more about Psychological Abuse of the Elderly for Family Members and Carers (Aftercare Instructions)

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Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.