What is the most common cause of elder abuse?

Have an overwhelming amount of daily responsibilities. Suffer abuse of illicit drugs, including excessive use of alcohol. Cultural Issues Some individuals or communities show a lack of respect for older adults. They can be considered disposable, increasing the risk of abuse.

Some systems of ethical or religious belief allow abuse of family members and, in particular, of women. Members of these belief systems may not see certain actions as abusive, and victims of abuse often do not recognize their abuse as abuse. Because of all the stress the caregiver goes through, they may begin to abuse the elderly person. This abuse can be involuntary and only a product of caregiver frustration.

Sometimes abuse becomes intentional if the caregiver begins to actively resent the older person and the responsibilities of caring for them. This can put the older person in greater danger, unless you have the older person's permission and can immediately move them to alternative, safe care. Caregivers can be burdened by caring for an older adult who is sick, physically or mentally disabled. Abusers can be spouses, children, caregivers, or any other adult with whom older people have contact.

The Administration for Community Living has a National Center on Elder Abuse, where you can learn how to report abuse, where to get help, and state laws that address abuse and neglect. Frequent arguments or tensions between the caregiver and the elderly person or changes in the elder's personality or behavior can be broad signs of elder abuse. In addition, the field of research has relied heavily on the caregiver stress model, which argues that elder abuse can be attributed to stress associated with providing care and assistance to frail and highly dependent older people. Some nursing homes provide excellent care for elderly residents, but they are more likely to abuse elderly people who are seriously ill or who have mental or emotional disorders.

Unless you're caring for an older family member, you may not realize how difficult and stressful it can be. Both the demands of care and the needs of the elderly can create situations where abuse is more likely to occur. It can be intentional or unintentional, depending on factors such as ignorance or denial that an elder's office needs as much attention as they do. However, current research estimates that approximately 1 to 2 million Americans, age 65 and older, have been abused or neglected by the very people entrusted with their care and protection (National Center on Elder Abuse, 200.

As the older person loses their health and becomes more socially isolated, they are more dependent on the abuser for care, resulting in mutual dependence. These guidelines can help you recognize the warning signs of elder abuse, understand what the risk factors are, and learn how to prevent and report the problem. Elder abuse takes many different forms, some involving intimidation or threats against the elderly, others involving neglect, and others involving financial deception. The stress of caring for the elderly can lead to mental and physical health problems that leave caregivers exhausted, impatient, and more susceptible to neglecting or attacking the elderly in their care.

Erika Shipley
Erika Shipley

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