Protecting a Loved One From Isolation-Based Neglect in a Nursing Home

7 June 2017
 Categories: , Blog


Seniors in a nursing home need to interact with their care workers and other residents in the center in order to avoid feeling lonely. However, some care workers may purposefully alienate a senior and cause them anguish. If this is the case, a senior neglect case may be possible.

Neglect Can Be Emotional

Many people misunderstand the concept of senior neglect and believe it is only a physical concern. That is simply not the case. While physical neglect can occur in senior centers (such as refusing showers to a soiled patron), it isn't the only type of neglect that can take place. In fact, emotional or social neglect is one of the worst types.

It occurs when the senior is left alone, ignored, or even verbally berated by the senior care staff. These actions can isolate and alienate the senior from the care workers. Even worse, it may cause other seniors in the center to avoid them as a means of self-protection. As a result, loneliness is the most common result of these neglectful behaviors.

Loneliness Is A Major Problem Among Seniors

Seniors in a nursing home often feel a very heavy burden of loneliness. These feelings come from being separated from their loved ones and in a new social environment. As a result, nursing home workers have an obligation to socialize with seniors as much as possible. This doesn't mean they have to be friends with them, but they should at least be friendly, courteous, and kind.

Failure to behave in this way may cause further alienation in a senior. It may cause depression, an increase in anxiety symptoms, and feelings of helplessness. Even worse, the senior may stop communicating with their loved ones or feel awkward communicating with anyone. If the senior care workers have pursued this line of neglect by either ignoring or even mocking the senior, there may be a senior neglect case.

How To Protect The Senior

Proving neglect of a senior by ignoring or isolation is a rather hard case to argue. Many defendants will argue that they weren't isolating or alienating the senior. Some may even believe that their behavior wasn't neglectful. Remember that neglect doesn't have to be a conscious act to count as neglect. However, the toughest part is proving liability and that the senior's health was negatively affected.

This may require getting testimony from the affected seniors, other people living with them, and from a doctor. They will assess whether or not isolation and loneliness contributed to a senior's mental or physical anguish. If they can prove that this is the case and that the nursing home neglected the senior's need for companionship, there may be a case.

By skillfully arguing neglect, a senior health attorney can help the affected senior get monetary compensation. It can be a rather difficult path to follow for many, but it is one that can help keep them in better health and in a caring senior center.