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 a senior are a crime, even if carried out by a child, spouse, friend or caretaker.

Seniors, 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).

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

Warning Signs

  • The senior seems depressed, sad or withdrawn.

  • The senior displays unusual mood swings or anger.

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

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


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

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

  • Friends and relatives of a senior should closely watch the behavior of the senior and the actions of the caregiver.

  • Intervene immediately when abuse is suspected.

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