There are various types of elderly abuse, including physical abuse, neglect, emotional and psychological abuse, sexual abuse, financial exploitation, and verbal abuse. Verbal mistreatment is one of the most common types of abuse in long-term care facilities, and unfortunately, it’s also one of the most difficult to identify and prove.
Understanding Verbal Mistreatment of Vulnerable Adults
Defining Verbal Mistreatment
Elder Mistreatment: Abuse, Neglect, and Exploitation in an Aging America defines elder mistreatment as “(a) intentional actions that cause harm or create a serious risk of harm (whether or not harm is intended) to a vulnerable elder by a caregiver or other person who stands in a trust relationship to the elder or (b) failure by a caregiver to satisfy the elder’s basic needs or to protect the elder from harm.” Verbal mistreatment often falls under this definition.
According to a report in the Journal of Elder Abuse and Neglect, 38 percent of older adults in their sample reported verbal mistreatment. Of course, the actual number of older adults who are verbally abused is likely much higher; many nursing home residents are too fearful or lack the cognitive/language ability to report abuse.
Types of Verbal Abuse
Verbal mistreatment comes in many forms. It can come from family members, nursing home staff and other caregivers. Any statement made to an elderly person that is meant to cause pain, fear or detriment is considered verbal mistreatment. This includes the following.
- Insults, name calling or profanities
- Yelling and screaming
- Mocking and criticizing
- Threats of harming the resident or his or her family
- Undermining or trivializing concerns or interests and belittling
- Excluding in activities or ignoring
- Preventing the resident from seeing their visitors
Recognizing the Signs of Elder Verbal Mistreatment
Verbal mistreatment can be very hard to spot. If the perpetrator has threatened your loved one, he or she may be too afraid of retaliation to speak up or may just not be able to articulate the abuse. He or she may be too embarrassed or feel too defeated and helpless to say anything or may not want to worry you. You’ll need to be privy to the signs of elder verbal mistreatment and check on your loved one regularly.
If you notice any of the following, it may be an indicator of verbal abuse.
- Withdrawal from activities and socialization
- Being unusually quiet or refusing to answer simple questions
- Avoidance of eye contact, shiftiness and noticeable nervousness
- Changes in weight, hygiene or sleep habits
- Mood swings, irritability or aggression
- Making statements that signal low self-esteem, fear or hopelessness
Our Approach to Verbal Mistreatment of the Elderly Cases
At Ron Meyers & Associates, we are dedicated to protecting the rights and well-being of the elderly who have suffered from verbal mistreatment. Our compassionate team of legal professionals understands the profound impact that verbal abuse can have on the physical and emotional health of vulnerable adults. We are here to provide the support, guidance, and legal representation needed to seek justice on behalf of those who have endured such mistreatment.
Comprehensive Investigation and Case Evaluation
When you reach out to us regarding a case of verbal mistreatment of the elderly, our first step is to conduct a thorough investigation to gather evidence and understand the details of the situation. We understand the sensitive nature of these cases and approach them with utmost care and professionalism. Our team will review any available documentation, interview relevant individuals, and work closely with you to uncover the facts and build a strong case.
Building a Strong Legal Strategy
Based on the findings of our investigation, we will develop a comprehensive legal strategy tailored to your specific case. Our goal is to hold the responsible parties accountable for their actions and seek compensation for the harm caused to your loved one. Whether the mistreatment occurred in a nursing home, assisted living facility, or by a caregiver, we will leverage our expertise in elder abuse law to pursue justice on your behalf.
Compassionate Support and Guidance
We understand that these cases can be emotionally challenging for both the victim and their families. Throughout the legal process, we provide compassionate support and guidance, ensuring that you and your loved ones are informed and involved at every stage. We will explain the legal options available to you, answer your questions, and provide updates on the progress of your case. Your well-being and peace of mind are our priorities.
Negotiation and Litigation
In many instances, we strive to reach a fair settlement through negotiation, sparing our clients the additional stress and time associated with a trial. However, if a fair resolution cannot be achieved through negotiation, we are fully prepared to take your case to court. Our experienced attorneys will vigorously advocate for your rights, presenting a compelling case and seeking the maximum compensation available under the law.
Seeking Justice and Fair Compensation
Our ultimate goal is to seek justice for your loved one and hold those responsible for the verbal mistreatment accountable. We will pursue compensation for damages such as medical expenses, therapy costs, emotional distress, and pain and suffering. We believe that by taking legal action, we can not only help your family recover the financial support you deserve but also raise awareness about elder mistreatment and drive positive change in the care of vulnerable adults.
Contact Us for a Consultation
If you suspect that your loved one has experienced verbal mistreatment, we are here to help. Contact our firm today to schedule a consultation. We offer a compassionate and confidential environment where you can discuss your concerns and explore your legal options. Together, we can take a stand against elder abuse and seek justice for your loved one.
Free Case Evaluation
How Ron Meyers & Associates Can Help with Verbal Mistreatment Cases
Dealing with the Effects of Verbal Mistreatment
Verbal mistreatment can have long-lasting, very detrimental effects on an elderly person, and the longer they are mistreated, the more damaging the adverse effects. Verbal abuse can lead to psychological and emotional damage, but it can also weaken their immune system and leave them more susceptible to illness and reduce their overall quality of life.
If you suspect that your loved one is being abused, you will want to try to remove your loved one from the situation as soon as possible. You can report it to the management at the care facility, the local Adult Protective Services, or the Long-term Care Ombudsman. In Olympia, you can call the Agency on Aging at (360) 459-5600.
You may need to get your loved one counseling to deal the damaging effects and to foster healing. If your loved one was victimized by verbal mistreatment, you can speak to an attorney about how to hold the abuser liable. You may qualify to file a claim or lawsuit against the at-fault facility to recover expenses.
Frequently Asked Questions About Verbal Mistreatment of Vulnerable Adults
Verbal mistreatment can occur from various individuals, including family members, nursing home staff, caregivers, or anyone in a position of trust or care for the elderly person.
Verbal mistreatment is a pervasive issue affecting older adults in Washington and throughout the country. While the true extent is often underestimated due to underreporting, it is important to address this form of mistreatment and protect the rights of our elderly population.
Signs of elder verbal mistreatment may include withdrawal from activities, unusual quietness, avoidance of eye contact, changes in weight or sleep patterns, mood swings, and statements indicating low self-esteem, fear, or hopelessness.
Yes, if your loved one has suffered verbal mistreatment in Washington, you have the right to take legal action. Consult with an experienced attorney in Washington who specializes in elder abuse cases to evaluate your situation and explore the legal options available to you.
Compensation in verbal mistreatment cases may cover various damages, including medical expenses, therapy costs, emotional distress, pain and suffering, and other losses resulting from the mistreatment. An attorney familiar with Washington laws can assess the specifics of your case and determine the appropriate compensation to seek.
A knowledgeable attorney in Washington can provide essential legal guidance and support throughout the process. They will investigate the case, gather evidence, develop a strong legal strategy, negotiate on your behalf, and, if necessary, litigate the matter in court to seek justice and fair compensation within the legal framework of Washington state.
The statute of limitations for verbal mistreatment cases may vary depending on the jurisdiction and specific circumstances within Washington state. It’s crucial to consult with an attorney in Washington promptly to ensure compliance with any applicable deadlines set by Washington state law.
If you suspect or witness verbal mistreatment of an elderly person in Washington, it’s essential to report it to the appropriate authorities. Contact local adult protective services, law enforcement agencies, or state agencies responsible for handling elder abuse cases in Washington. An attorney familiar with the reporting processes in Washington can also guide you on the appropriate channels to report the mistreatment.