Elder abuse causes often involve a variety of factors as opposed to one explicit Elder Abuse Causessource. A main elder abuse cause can be attributed to nursing home understaffing, as residents in understaffed nursing homes may not receive adequate attention from caregivers. Other issues include personal issues among caregivers and residents. Family, cultural, and societal issues may also play a role in elder abuse causes. No matter the cause, residents, caregivers, and family members should remain alert and aware of elder abuse warning signs to prevent harm to involved individuals.

Nursing Home Understaffing

Nursing home understaffing is a controversial topic. In recent years, nursing home understaffing has received more consumer and media attention due to the negative impact it may have on both residents and staff members. A number of individuals have begun to regard nursing home understaffing as a crime, particularly when facility owners and managers intentionally understaff nursing homes as a means of spending less money on employee labor wages and thus increasing profits.

Understaffing Neglect

Nursing home understaffing often results in resident neglect, which is a form of elder abuse. In cases of neglect, residents may not receive the attention required to maintain optimal health and well-being. This can be especially devastating to residents who are immobile or experience mobility issues. Issues such as bedsores, muscle atrophy, and fall injuries are more likely to occur when nursing home understaffing affects a facility.

Understaffing Abuse

Nursing home employees in understaffed nursing homes are more likely to work overtime hours. As a result, they may become exceptionally stressed and agitated. This can increase the likelihood of physical and emotional elder abuse. These elder abuse causes may occur both intentionally and unintentionally, as staff members may allow stress to reflect onto patients.

Caregiver Issues

Caregiver issues may affect the quality of care in both residential and institutional nursing settings. When caregivers face significant physical, financial, or psychological issues, the issues may be reflected onto the quality of care that elderly patients receive. For example, caregivers with drug addictions may begin to steal medication from residents, resulting in a lack of proper medical treatment for the resident. Caregivers with overwhelming financial issues may financially abuse residents by taking advantage of their financial resources or personal assets.

Caregiver issues may include circumstances such as:

  • Excessive stress due to overwhelming responsibilities and chronic fatigue
  • Substance abuse, including drug and alcohol addiction
  • Psychological disorders, such as depression and bipolar disorder
  • Stress and anxiety from limited finances and resources


Coping with Caregiver Issues

When caregivers experience certain issues that may create extra stress or frustration, it is crucial to deal with them in a healthy manner. By focusing on the needs of the caregiver, elder abuse may be prevented. If other individuals such as co-workers or resident family members see warning signs of caregiver issues, they should discuss these issues with the appropriate parties, such as employers. In some cases, caregivers may be able to receive help through physical and psychological exercise and counseling techniques.

Family and Cultural Issues

In some cases, elder abuse causes may stem from the resident’s family as well as societal and cultural considerations. Power structure in individual families as well as regions or countries may play a role in elder abuse causes. For example, families and cultures that place more esteem toward the elderly may see less elder abuse in general. Elder abuse becomes more frequent in cases were the elderly may be viewed as burdensome or unfruitful to society as a whole.

Family Elder Abuse Causes

Unfortunately, a large percentage of elder abuse causes stem from the elderly individual’s family. In many cases, family members are the perpetrators of physical, emotional, sexual, or financial abuse. These instances are especially true in residential care, when the elderly are treated in a home setting as opposed to a nursing home facility setting. Residential abuse by family members can be devastating, as there are fewer outlets for others to recognize warning signs and intervene to stop elderly abuse. One of the biggest causes of elder abuse is cultural issues.




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Harris, Dylan. “Elder abuse.” Update 1 Dec. 2006: 84. Academic OneFile. Web. 1 Mar. 2014.

Jackson, Shelly L., and Thomas L. Hafemeister. “Differences in Causal Attributions of Caseworkers and Elderly Clients in the USA: Impact on Case Resolution and Cessation of Abuse.” The Journal of Adult Protection 15.5 (2013): 246-57.ProQuest. Web. 1 Mar. 2014.