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What factors contribute to elder abuse?

To put a loved one in the hands of a caregiver or nursing home is a significant responsibility. If you have a parent or grandparent in a long-term care facility, you deserve the peace of mind that the caregivers will provide excellent care.

According to the World Health Organization, one out of every six people over the age of 60 experienced abuse in a community living situation within the last year. Abuse may take the form of psychological, physical, sexual or emotional abuse. Some older adults may face more risk than others when it comes to elder abuse.

Dependency on caregivers

Those who face abuse as seniors tend to be those who have to rely on caregivers. For example, if your loved one has a mental illness, cognitive impairment or dementia, caregivers may exploit their ability to defend themselves. Those with poor physical health and functional dependence tend to have a higher chance of facing abuse by those within a facility. In addition, societal level factors can contribute to the abuse. Caregivers may be ageist or look down upon them.

Overburdened caregivers

If your loved one is in a facility with overworked caregivers, there is a higher chance he or she will suffer neglect or abuse at the hands of those providing medical care. Responsible facilities have services available to intervene when a caregiver feels overworked or stressed. When caregivers have too many patients, they may neglect a patient’s needs or use medication to keep some patients more compliant.

No matter the reason, elder abuse is never excusable. Your social support could make a difference in your loved one’s life.

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