Thursday, January 10, 2013

Risk Factors for Elder Abuse

Lily, who lives in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, was worried that her mother might be suffering from elder abuse. One of the caregivers working at the nursing facility in which Deborah, her mother, resided was friendly at first, but became increasingly distant and impatient as time went on. To determine whether or not she should be worried about her mother's safety, Lily embarked on a search to pinpoint the risk factors that could lead to elder abuse. Here are the factors that she found:[1]

Risk Factors of Elder Abuse: Caregivers
  • The inability to deal with stress or bounce back from stressful situations
  • Depression, which is commonly experienced by caregivers
  • The absence of a support system based on relationships with other caregivers
  • The attitude that providing senior care is a burden and that the job does not provide any psychological rewards
  • Abuse of alcohol and other substances
Risk Factors for Elder Abuse: Seniors
  • Severe dementia or other illness
  • Isolation from friends and family
  • History as an abusive family member, including parent or spouse, as well as history of violence at home
  • Habit of using verbal or physical aggression
These risk factors can lead to the development of an abusive situation; however, it is important to note that they do not necessarily cause abuse in every circumstance. Just because one or more of these risk factors is present does not mean that your senior is being abused. You may find it prudent, though, to keep a watchful eye on your senior to ensure that they are not in harm's way.

Lily was happy to find that her mother was not being abused, although she was certainly glad to have gained the knowledge necessary to pinpoint an abusive situation. Now that she is aware of the risk factors associated with elder abuse, she knows that she can better help her mother if any issues come to light in the future. If your senior is living in an assisted living facility or nursing home, keep these risk factors in mind in order to pinpoint any problems that may arise as quickly as possible. 

[1] Information from

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