Understanding common risk factors in cases of elder abuse

As a person ages and recognizes the need to ask other people for help, he or she is met with the difficulties of allowing other people to intervene and help manage personal needs. Often, a healthy relationship between a vulnerable elderly person and his or her caretaker, is developed over time and with open lines of communication. However, there are plenty of elderly people in New Mexico who for one reason or another, may be the victim of elder abuse. 

Elder abuse can take on a variety of forms including sexual, financial, mental and emotional, and physical. Families who wish to protect their loved ones and mitigate questionable behavior before it creates a danger for their loved ones, should become educated on the signs and symptoms that indicate that their loved ones may be mistreated by their caregiver. According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information, risk factors that may put an elderly person in a more vulnerable position to be abused include gender, race, his or her personality characteristics and the nature of the relationship he or she has with the person who has been designated as the caregiver. Research suggests that screening potential caregivers may be a viable way to reduce the risk of abuse occurring by uncovering questionable behavior in the person's past. 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggests that caregivers who are tasked with caring for elderly people may be at a higher risk of engaging in abusive behavior if they have participated in disruptive behavior in their past. Another risk factor for them includes dependence on a vulnerable elder in terms of financial assistance. They may also be more prone to abusive characteristics if they do not have access to reliable and healthy social support in caring for the elderly they have been assigned to. 

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