Common risk factors
Older people of all ages, ethnicity, environment and gender may be vulnerable or at risk of abuse. Here are some common factors that increase a person’s risk of experiencing abuse, neglect or mistreatment.
Isolation or being excluded from friends and social activities
Isolation limits an older person’s ability to participate in social activities and the natural oversight of others. This can leave an older person more vulnerable as there is no one to witness the abuse. The absence of social connections also leaves the older person with fewer people, or indeed no one, to whom they can share their concerns with.
Cultural and linguistic differences
People from diverse backgrounds may be influenced by their cultural or generational attitudes to gender and family responsibilities. They may also find responses and services may not be culturally acceptable or available in their preferred language. Some people may also be reluctant to seek help if they fear racism or discrimination.
Financial pressures and exclusion
People with low financial literacy may find that they are excluded from key financial decision-making. Others may find that their limited income makes them more dependent upon others.
Substance abuse problems
Alcohol, illicit drugs, or gambling may impact the older person or indeed the person who is the primary carer of an older person.
Reduced health and capacity
Poor physical health and mental health, and cognitive impairment may increase reliance on others for support in daily living activities.