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

People who:

  • 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