Elder abuse affects older people from different backgrounds, including education, occupational, financial, and cultural.

Known risk factors include:

  • increased dependency for daily activities
  • dependency on others for your finances
  • isolation
  • shared living arrangements
  • frailty in older age
  • long term or sudden illness
  • problems with confusion or memory
  • dementia or illnesses that affect memory
  • mental health problems
  • history of family violence
  • drug and alcohol dependency
  • addictive behaviours

Factors that increase the likelihood of elder abuse include situations where:

  • a family undergoes an unforeseen or unfavourable change in circumstances
  • there is a history of poor relationships or abuse between family members
  • difficulties emerge as a result of role reversal (e.g, if a father or mother becomes dependent on a son or daughter)
  • family members are isolated and lack other relationships which give social, physical and emotional satisfaction
  • a carer has been forced to change lifestyle as a result of caring
  • the older person requires a level of care beyond the capacity of the carer
  • there are difficulties due to hearing, visual or speech impairments
  • a carer has conflicting responsibilities or financial difficulties
  • a carer has not received help or support
  • the older person refuses adequate support for themselves or their carer
  • the older person has an illness or dementia that can cause unpredictable or repetitive behaviour, wandering or aggression, or major changes in personality
  • financial pressures and/or beliefs about rights of inheritance or ownership lead to control of finances, property or resources.

Elder Abuse Response Contacts: Febe Camacho
 07 346 2096   febe.camacho@familyfocus.org.nz