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Caregiver stress raises the risk of elder abuse

| Sep 11, 2020 | Personal Injury

As people age in Indiana, many of them become reliant on caregivers. They may receive care in their homes from a family member or friend or move into a residential facility where a staff attends to them. In either setting, older people can be vulnerable to abuse. Stress and frustration experienced by caregivers often contribute to negative behavior such as physical neglect, emotional abuse, physical attacks or financial exploitation.

Elder abuse risk factors for in-home caregivers

A caregiver needs physical and psychological health to meet the demands of caring for an elderly person. Unfortunately, the responsibility can wear down people who are providing daily support in the home. The National Council on Aging estimates that about 60% of elder abuse victims are hurt by family members.

People who have mental illness, struggle with substance abuse disorder or suffered abuse as children have a greater tendency to become abusers. Isolated individuals with little to no social support or those who are financially dependent on the older person may also be prone to harming those entrusted to their care. A lack of knowledge about how to care for an elder, especially one with failing physical and mental health, contributes to the stress of caregivers.

Red flags in nursing homes

Nursing home administrators who cut corners on staffing may create an environment where elder abuse is more likely to occur. Understaffing overworks caregivers and makes them likely to quit, and high turnover rates result in nursing home workers who may have poor training.

Legal accountability

Family members who discover elder abuse may have the right to pursue financial damages for negligent treatment. In extreme case, criminal complaints may be appropriate. Guidance from an attorney may help a person learn how to document abuse and file a lawsuit against the responsible party.