Emotional Abuse

Emotional abuse can result from verbal assaults, threats, intimidation, humiliation or isolation and can cause psychological and emotional trauma.

Verbal threats, insults, intimidation, shouting and other acts of rage directed at an older adult are a crime, even if carried out by a child, spouse, friend or caretaker.

Older adults, caretakers or loved ones may report any psychological abuse they experience or witness to police or the Los Angeles County Elder Abuse Hotline at (877) 4-R-SENIORS ((877) 477-3646).

Older adults should not blame themselves for the emotionally abusive behavior of others.

Warning Signs

  • The older adult seems depressed, sad or withdrawn.

  • The older adult displays unusual mood swings or anger.

  • The older adult appears afraid of being touched or approached by others.

  • The older adult seems unusually introverted, fearful or shies away from contact.


  • Older adults should not be afraid to speak up and notify friends, family and police about abuse and neglect.

  • Older adults should keep in touch with family and friends and avoid becoming isolated.

  • Friends and relatives of an older adult should closely watch the behavior of the older adult and the actions of the caregiver.

  • Intervene immediately when abuse is suspected.

  • Educate others about how to recognize and report abuse and neglect.