Who is at Risk?
No one risk factor can explain or cause elder abuse. In the majority of instances where abuse is occurring, there are often a combination of risk factors that contribute to the abuse. Being able to understand and identify risk factors can assist in alerting you to a situation that has the potential for abuse for yourself or someone you know.
Who is at heightened risk of abuse?
Older people who:
- Are socially and geographically isolated and lack connection from their neighbours, family and/or community
- Dependent on others for their care
- Have insecure or inadequate accommodation
- Lack capacity and ability to self advocate – may be confused about their property, bills, belongings and/or surroundings
- Have financial difficulties
- Are in poor physical health/frail
- Have family conflict or dysfunction
- Are living with domestic violence
- Are carers of older people who become aggressive due to dementia or illness
People at risk of abusing older people
- Are stressed, burdened or feel resentful of the caring role
- Lack skill in the caring role
- Are dependent on the victim
- Have a history of drug and alcohol abuse
- Have gambling and or/financial problems
- Have cognitive impairment or mental health issues
- Experience challenging behaviours from the person they care for
- Lack support from family, friends, community or the service system
- Experience cultural/settlement issues (multiple carers, over-dependency, lack of understanding of the Australian system, have a history of trauma or abuse, and/or isolation from cultural activities or interaction)
- Have a history of family violence, as a victim or perpetrator