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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.


Informed consent:

A consent form is a legal document that explains the tests, treatments, or procedures that the elder may need. Informed consent means he understands what will be done and can make decisions about what he wants. He gives his permission when he signs the consent form. He can have someone sign this form for him if he is not able to sign it. He has the right to understand his medical care in words he knows. Before he signs the consent form, he should understand the risks and benefits of what will be done. Make sure all his questions are answered.


The elder may need extra oxygen if his blood oxygen level is lower than it should be. He may get oxygen through a mask placed over his nose and mouth or through small tubes placed in his nostrils. Ask his healthcare provider before you take off his mask or oxygen tubing.

Vital signs:

Healthcare providers will check the elder's blood pressure, heart rate, breathing rate, and temperature. They will also ask about his pain. These vital signs give healthcare providers information about his current health.


A special diet may be considered depending on the elder's condition. A dietitian may talk to you about the elder's eating habits and help him create a healthy meal plan.

  • If he has trouble chewing, he may need thickened liquids to drink or soft foods to eat. Some examples are applesauce, bananas, and cooked cereal.
  • He may need to be fed by an IV or a nasogastric (NG) tube if he cannot eat. An IV is a tube placed in his vein for giving medicine or liquids. An NG tube is put in through the nose and goes down into his stomach.


  • Antianxiety medicine: This medicine may be given to help the elder feel less nervous and more relaxed.
  • Sedative: This medicine may be given to help the elder stay calm and relaxed.


  • Blood and urine tests: Blood and urine tests may be done to check for health problems, such as malnutrition or infection.
  • Neurologic signs: Neurologic signs are also called neuro signs. Healthcare providers check the victim's eyes, memory, and how easily he wakes up. Hand grasp and balance may also be tested. This test shows healthcare providers how the brain is working after an injury or illness. He may need to have his neuro signs checked often.


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.


If left untreated, the elder may develop serious health and emotional problems. He may also become depressed.


The elder victim has the right to help plan his own care. To help with this plan, he must learn about his condition or situation. He can then discuss options with his healthcare providers. Working with them will help to decide what actions will be taken, and what care and treatment will be given. The victim always has the right to refuse actions or treatment.

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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.

Further information

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