Elder Mental Suffering

Elder mental suffering applies to persons 65 years and older. Elder mental suffering is covered in both criminal and civil law and falls under the category of elder abuse. Elder abuse is defined by civil law under the Welfare & Institutions Code Section 15610.07.

According to the Administration on Aging, elder mental suffering, sometimes referred to as elder psychological abuse, is the most common form of elder abuse. It has been reported that over 50% of all elders 65 or older suffer from at least one form of mental abuse.

Elder mental suffering includes:

  • The infliction of fear
  • Manipulation
  • Humiliation
  • Agitation
  • Confusion through threats
  • Harassment
  • Forms of intimidating behavior

Caregivers & Family Members

Nearly all victims of physical abuse also suffer from mental abuse, especially when this abuse is committed by a male. Females with a physical disability have an increased risk of mental abuse by 83%.

Although elder mental abuse can be inflicted by a caregiver, abuse by a family member is most common. Over 90% of elder mental abuse cases involve a family member. Many caregivers provide basic domestic services for elders but lack the training and understanding with regard to their client’s mental state and act in a controlling way that leads the elder to isolation and low self-esteem. Unintentional elder abuse by well-intended caregivers could be regarded as neglect.

Symptoms of Elder Mental Abuse

  • Depression
  • Avoiding eye contact with a caregiver
  • Withdrawal
  • Fear
  • Change in domestic habits such as eating and sleeping
  • Confusion
  • Anxiety

Taking Action

Elder mental abuse includes a range of complex issues that cannot easily be handled by an individual acting alone, in many situations this will only lead to more anxiety. California provides protection for elders through laws and other protective services. Frank P. Barbaro & Associates is well equipped and highly experienced with elder abuse cases. If you believe that you or someone you care about is the victim of elder mental abuse then call us for a free assessment.


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