There is one thing that elders should never go through, and that is abuse. Elder abuse of any kind can make their lives awful and even lead to injuries or death.
While many people think of elder abuse as physical or verbal abuse, there are other forms that could affect someone. One of them is isolation. Isolation becomes abusive when the elder is intentionally cut off from others. Someone who is intentionally isolating a senior may:
- Prohibit them from making phone calls
- Limit or completely restrict them from seeing family members outside the nursing home facility or home
- Take actions to limit communication, like removing the phone line or internet connection
- Stop the elder from reaching out to community leaders and service providers, like doctors or attorneys
- Confine the individual without their permission
- Use locks and restraints to prevent the individual from leaving the area
While some elders fall into isolation as a result of not having family or having an illness that prevents them from reaching out to others, that kind of isolation is not generally abusive. Remember that abusive isolation tactics are completely intentional. They may lead to further physical or psychological abuse if they are allowed to continue.
What can you do if an elder is being isolated?
If you believe that an elder you know is being isolated and prevented from talking to others, one of the things you can do is ask to see them. If you are refused access to them, you may call the police for a wellness check. Officers will go to the property to check on the person’s health and make sure they have an opportunity to speak with them.
If they are in danger, call 911. Then, if you can, go with them to the hospital. If this is someone you are related to, you may be able to help them move into a new facility or get back in touch with those who can. Additionally, you have the option of looking into the elder’s legal options, so they can seek support and compensation for what they’ve had to go through.