Elder Abuse: The Likelihood of Family Abusers

While elder abuse may commonly occur in nursing homes, it is not an issue confined to that industry. Instead, anyone can be guilty of elder abuse. In fact, the majority of elder abuse is perpetrated by family members of the victim. The likelihood of family abusers is high for a number of reasons, and family members are capable of every form of abuse. Here’s what you need to know.

Forms of Elder Abuse

Elder abuse is any intentional or negligent act by a caregiver or a trusted person that causes or creates a serious risk of harm to an older adult.

—National Center on Elder Abuse

Elderly family members often rely on others to take care of them—whether it’s because of an illness, physical or mental disability, or simply the desire to age at home. Because of this, the full burden of caring for an elderly family member is placed on one person, or a small group of people. This can lead to increased stress, financial demands, physical demands, or overwhelm for the caretaker, which can, in turn, lead to a sense of resentment towards the person in need of care.

Unfortunately, family members of those needing care are capable of physical, emotional, and financial abuse. According to the Nursing Home Abuse Center, caretakers are more at risk of committing abuse if they:

  • Are under trained and unprepared for the demands of caring for a loved one
  • Lack support and respite care access
  • Are financially dependent on the elderly relative
  • Have their own substance abuse or mental health problems
PC: Mariia Chalaya via Unsplash

Likelihood of Family Abusers 

Abuse happens within the family if the caregiver lives with the elderly family member. Resentment, entitlement, and frustration with the relative’s declining health and abilities can all be factors that lead to abuse. 

In almost 60% of elder abuse and neglect incidents, the perpetrator is a family member. Two-thirds of perpetrators are adult children or spouses.

— National Council on Aging (NCOA)

All of the same signs of abuse will help indicate to outsiders if abuse is occurring. Which makes it more important than ever to familiarize yourself with these signs of elder abuse. Additionally, while they most readily apply to nursing homes, it is also a good idea to know strategies to prevent abuse

Visit the loved one often, look for signs of neglect like poor hygiene, and signs of abuse such as a change in mood, bruising, worsening health conditions, anxiety, and tension with the caregiver. 

In a home abuse case, however, the best first step is to remove the loved one from the home of the abuser. Then, contact authorities, and speak with a lawyer

If you or a loved one have been the victim of abuse or neglect, call Gharibian Law (877-460-1187) today for a FREE consultation and the best legal representation.