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nursing home abuseThe decision to place a loved one in an elder care or nursing home facility is extremely emotional and challenging for many people. Family members hope for the smoothest adjustment possible, facilitated by caring and knowledgeable medical professionals. Most nursing homes and their staff have the best interests of residents in mind at all times.  However, exceptions definitely exist. Emotional abuse, also known as “elder psychological abuse,” is an unfortunate reality. Nurses, nursing assistants, doctors, volunteers, and other elder care employees are in a position of power with regard to elderly patients and residents. Most will use that power in a caring, helpful way. Those who do not should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. If someone you care about resides in an elder care facility, it is important to understand the common signs of emotional abuse.

Different Kinds of Emotional Abuse

Non-verbal abuse includes repeated isolation from social activities and being ignored on a consistent and intentional basis. Many elder care residents have difficulty walking. Neglecting to assist with daily living needs like going to the bathroom, bathing, or eating is another kind of non-verbal abuse. Being ignored may result in depression, weight loss, and other health issues.

Types of verbal elder abuse include humiliation and blame. A caretaker may threaten to hurt a resident, yell, or act in an aggressive manner. This kind of intimidation causes fear, shame, and hopelessness, contributing to an unhealthy power dynamic. Demeaning behavior and scapegoating are other forms of verbal abuse. Residents diagnosed with dementia or Alzheimer’s may be targeted by abusers. Reports of abuse may be disregarded as confusion triggered by the disease, allowing abusive behavior to go unnoticed.

What to Look For

If you are concerned that your loved one may be suffering from elder emotional abuse, there are certain clues to look for. In cases of neglect, you may notice a lack of cleanliness. Observe the state of fingernails and hair hygiene. Are the sheets clean? What is the state of the bathroom? Notice changes in toiletry supplies. Has the soap and shampoo been used regularly? Is there drinking water consistently available? Lack of these necessities may demonstrate a level of inattention that could lead to serious health issues and depression.

Certain behaviors serve as indicators that an environment is unhealthy. If your loved one exhibits any of the following signs, further investigation is recommended:

  • Uncharacteristically reserved, withdrawn, quiet, or depressed
  • Avoids eye contact
  • Uncomfortable or fearful of answering questions, indicating intimidation from abuser has been established
  • Exhibits a sense of hopelessness
  • Uncharacteristically violent towards others or him or herself
  • Abnormal mood swings
  • Sudden changes in eating habits
  • Sleeping more or less than normal

Malman Law – Elder Care Attorneys

Discovering that a loved one may be the victim of emotional abuse or neglect is an agonizing situation. Attorney Steven J. Malman has extensive experience with cases involving elder care facilities. He is committed to creating safe, healthy environments for our older community. At Malman Law, our skilled, compassionate legal team will fight for your loved one’s fundamental rights. Contact us today.

Firm Awards & Recognitions

Steven Malman was selected to the list. The list is issued by the American Institute of Legal Counsel. A description of the selection methodology can be found at

  • Steven Malman was selected to the list. The list is issued by the National Academy of Personal Injury Attorneys. A description of the selection methodology can be found at

  • Steven Malman was selected to the list for 2018-2019.

  • Only the top 100 trial lawyers from each state or highly-populated regions of certain states who are actively practicing in civil plaintiff and/or criminal defense law are eligible for invitation. Invitees must demonstrate superior qualifications, leadership skills, and trial results as a legal professional. The selection process for this elite honor is based on a multi-phase process based upon objective and uniformly applied criteria which includes peer nominations combined with third party research.

    Prospective members of The NTL are carefully screened prior to receiving an invitation for membership.

  • Top Attorneys Diamond Member

  • Top Attorneys of North America 2019-2020

  • The American Institute of Trial Lawyers is an invitation only professional organization composed of premier trial attorneys from each state. These attorneys exemplify the very best qualities and qualifications of an attorney. Each attorney must meet stringent qualifications as a civil or criminal trial attorney. These attorneys practice in a variety of fields to help and promote the ethical and elite practice of law. Selection is based on a thorough multi phase process which includes peer nominations and third party research. Each member must be in good standing with their local compliance organization. Membership is extended to only a select few in each state and/or region.

  • As the founder of Steven J. Malman and Associates, P.C., Attorney Steven Malman has 21 years of experience handling personal injury, nursing home, medical malpractice, premises liability, construction and workers’ compensation cases. Mr. Malman is one of Chicago’s leading authorities on personal injury law and has taken a special interest in defending the elderly from neglect and abuse. He has personally handled over 10,000 cases successfully, and collected hundreds of millions dollars for his clients.

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  • "I'm very pleased to recommend Malman Law to my friends and relatives! I have to mention how efficient and professional in dealing with my case has been with everyone that I've been in contact with at Malman Law. Mrs. Sabo is outstanding as well as her secretary and assistant in responding quickly to any of my questions or concerns. This firm has gone above and beyond to keep me updated and get answers to my questions at any time, weekends included! Malman Law rules in my opinion! "

    - Cheryl Wagemann
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