Emotional Abuse and Anxiety in Nursing Homes

elderly anxietyChoosing to place your loved one in a nursing home is almost always a difficult thing to do. The decision is usually motivated by a desire to ensure that they are in a safer setting than they would be in if they were living on their own or without trained help around the clock. This is why it can feel particularly disturbing if you notice that your loved one is beginning to show signs of anxiety as a result of their time in a nursing home.

While there are many causes of anxiety, emotional abuse and anxiety in nursing homes often go hand in hand. If you suspect that your loved one’s anxiety is rooted in mistreatment in their nursing home, Chris Hudson Law Group is here to help you put an end to it and make things right.

We are committed to fighting for justice for vulnerable abuse victims. We will do all we can to hold the at-fault party to account and to recover compensation to pay for your loved one’s treatment and more. Call us today at (706) 863-6600 for a free consultation.

Anxiety in Nursing Home Residents

Anxiety is a common condition for many people across all age ranges. In general, it is a future-oriented emotional response to anticipated or imagined danger. While most people experience feelings like this, anxiety becomes a problem when it occurs with such frequency or intensity that it starts to prevent a person from doing the things they want or need to do.

The experience of anxiety can be particularly problematic for older people. According to a review of several studies by the International Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry, older adults who live in nursing homes may be up to twice as likely as the general populace to suffer from anxiety. Unfortunately, they may also be less likely to seek treatment for the feelings they are experiencing. Part of the reason for this is that they may have a difficult time communicating their feelings, either because their capacity for speech has become more limited or simply due to the fact that they are of a generation that feels less comfortable discussing mental health issues.

Furthermore, health professionals and even family members may have a harder time recognizing symptoms of anxiety in elderly individuals. Behavioral changes are often ascribed to physical changes associated with aging or mental side effects of medication, which is a problem when there have been errors in the prescription or dosing of that medication.

Symptoms of Anxiety in Nursing Home Residents

Some of the most common symptoms of anxiety include:

  • Nervousness, restlessness, or tension
  • A sense of impending danger, panic, or doom
  • Increased heart rate
  • Increased rate of breathing
  • Sweating
  • Trembling
  • Feelings of weakness or lethargy
  • Issues concentrating
  • Ruminating over fears
  • Sleep issues
  • Gastrointestinal problems
  • Uncontrollable worry or fear
  • Avoiding situations that may contribute to the above symptoms

elderly healthy check

While you may not notice some of the above symptoms if you are not spending extended periods of time with your loved one, it is worth paying close attention to whether they are suffering any of the following long-term effects of anxiety, such as:

  • A reduced ability to carry out daily tasks
  • A decline in general health
  • A decreased sense of satisfaction from life
  • Depression over time

If you recognize any of the above signs, ask a clinician to complete a Geriatric Anxiety Inventory to determine the degree to which your loved one might be experiencing anxiety. This is the first step toward getting them the help they need to manage their symptoms and possibly relieve their anxiety.

Causes of Anxiety in Nursing Home Residents

As is the case with many people who suffer from anxiety, nursing home residents can experience the condition for a variety of reasons. Some of these include:

  • Physical illness – Sometimes, anxiety can come about as a side effect of medical conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, and respiratory problems.
  • Pain – Chronic or intense pain can often lead people to avoid many daily tasks for fear of making the pain even worse.
  • Trauma – Surviving an assault or an accident (such as a fall) can lead to increased levels of anxiety in elderly nursing home residents. It is the responsibility of nursing homes to take necessary precautions to protect their patients from abuse of all kinds, as well as from the risk of falling.
  • Abuse and neglect – Unfortunately, abuse and neglect often cause or exacerbate anxiety in nursing home residents. This can come in the form of emotional or verbal abuse, financial abuse, malnutrition, dehydration, or neglectful hygiene practices. Sometimes the anxiety can be made even worse if the resident is intimidated or bullied as a way of preventing them from reporting the abuse or neglect they are suffering.

While it can be hard to consider the idea that changes in your loved one’s behavior might be indicators of a state of anxiety that is caused by abuse in their long-term care facility, their well-being may depend on finding out exactly what is going on.

Contact an Augusta Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer Today

If you suspect that your loved one is experiencing anxiety as a result of abuse or negligence, it is important that you get them the help they need to resolve their condition as soon as you can.

The experienced legal team at Chris Hudson Law Group is committed to uncovering and putting an end to abuse and neglect in nursing homes in Augusta and across the state of Georgia – whether emotional, physical, financial, or otherwise.

Our nursing home abuse and neglect lawyers handle cases related to a wide variety of types of abuse and resulting injuries, including:

When a long-term care facility fails to provide a safe environment for some of the most vulnerable members of society, the victims deserve justice. If you have reason to believe that your loved one is a victim of nursing home abuse, contact our legal team today. We won’t charge you any fees unless and until we recover money on your loved one’s behalf.

Call us now at (706) 863-6600 for a free consultation.

Last Updated : October 25, 2022