Why personality changes go along with elder abuse

On Behalf of | Jun 23, 2022 | Nursing Home Abuse

If you’re worried about elder abuse in a nursing home abuse, you’re probably looking for physical signs. You want to make sure that you notice any bruises or cuts that are unexplained. You are hoping to protect your elderly loved one from harm, knowing they may not be able to do so on their own.

This is a good place to start, but it may not be all that you need to look for. In a lot of cases of elder abuse, family members notice significant personality changes. These can happen even when there is no physical evidence of the abuse that is taking place.

What do these look like?

The signs and symptoms can obviously be different for anyone, but you want to watch out for things that seem significantly different than before. These major changes almost always have a clear cause, and you need to determine what that cause is.

For instance, maybe your loved one is very quiet and withdrawn now, when they used to be friendly and welcoming. You just get the sense that they are feeling isolated or perhaps even isolating themselves. They don’t seem like the excitable and happy person that they were before. This is especially problematic if there’s a clear time when the change occurred.

Similarly, you may see levels of confusion increase. This could also indicate that abuse is occurring, especially if your loved one is dealing with Alzheimer’s or any other sort of mental disorder to begin with. They may well know that something is wrong, but even they may not be sure what’s happening.

Why do these personality changes happen?

In some cases, the elderly are embarrassed about the abuse and that can lead to these personality changes. In other cases, they may not even really realize that the abuse is happening. As noted, some people have Alzheimer’s or dementia, and they struggle to recall the exact details.

But even if that happens, they may still be well aware that something is wrong. They know that they shouldn’t be treated this way. This can cause confusion, sadness, anger, and other emotional changes. This can happen if they are experiencing physical abuse, sexual abuse or even financial abuse.

If it does turn out that your loved one is being abused and neglected by caregivers, it may be time to take legal action to protect them.