50% of Professional Caregivers Admit Abusing Those in Their Care – But It Doesn’t Stop There
Many nonprofessional caregivers—spouses, adult children, other relatives and friends—find taking care of an elder to be satisfying and enriching. But the responsibilities and demands of elder caregiving, which escalate as the elder’s condition deteriorates, can also be extremely stressful. The stress of elder care can lead to mental and physical health problems that make caregivers burned out, impatient, and unable to keep from lashing out against elders in their care.
Among caregivers, significant risk factors for elder abuse are:
- Inability to cope with stress (lack of resilience)
- Depression, which is common among caregivers
- Lack of support from other potential caregivers
- The caregiver’s perception that taking care of the elder is burdensome and without psychological reward
- Substance abuse
Even caregivers in institutional settings can experience stress at levels that lead to elder abuse. Nursing home staff may be prone to elder abuse if they lack training, have too many responsibilities, are unsuited to caregiving, or work under poor conditions.
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