To learn more about preventing abuse by Family Caregiver Alliance To learn more about elder abuse and
caregivers: how to report it:
A Model Intervention for Elder Abuse and A national information center and pioneer in the
Dementia. This curriculum was designed for workers www.elderabusecenter.org
development of caregiver services. FCA’s website The National Center on Elder Abuse
in the field of adult protective services and Alzheimer’s
provides a wealth of information and online services 1225 I Street NW, Ste. 725
Association personnel. It contains referral protocols to for caregivers.
improve communication and promote cooperation Washington, DC 20005
among organizations that provide services to caregivers
and those that provide protective services. It also
690 Market Street, Ste. 600
San Francisco, CA 94104
Phone: (202) 898-2586
A Fact Sheet On
includes assessment guidelines to help professionals Phone: (415) 434-3388
identify individuals and families at risk. For more
Office of Geriatric Medicine/Gerontology
Northeastern Ohio Universities
National Committee for the Prevention of Elder
1101 Vermont Ave. NW, Ste. 1000
College of Medicine The largest national voluntary health organization Washington, DC 20005
P.O. Box 95 committed to finding a cure for Alzheimer’s disease Phone: (202) 682-4140
Rootstown, OH 44272 and helping those affected by it. State and local Fax: (202) 682-3984
(330) 325-6359 chapters provide services to people with the Email: email@example.com
Fax: (330) 325-5907 disease’s, their families and caregivers, and health
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org care professionals. The Alzheimer’s Association’s To find out about services in your community:
website contains a section for caregivers, that
Preventing Stress from Becoming Harmful: A Guide Area Agencies on Aging (AAA) provide or coordinate
includes resource directories, instructions in
for Individuals Who Care for Persons with Dementia. services for the elderly and their families. They also
behavior management, and information about the provide information on a variety of issues of concern to
This handbook, available from the Office of Geriatric disease and its treatment.
Medicine/Gerontology (see above), is a self-assessment the elderly and caregivers, and help seniors and their
guide to help caregivers identify their own risk of 919 North Michigan Ave., Ste. 1100 families gain access to services. Look in the city or
becoming abusive and offers suggestions for lowering Chicago, IL 60611-1676 county government section of the telephone directory
Phone (800) 272-3900 under “Aging Services” or “Social Services.” You can
risk. The handbook is available in English and Spanish
versions. also get the number from the Eldercare Locator at
National Aging Information Resource Center (800) 677-1116.
To learn more about dementia and caregiving: www.aoa.gov/NAIC/Notes/caregiverresource.html
AARP Operated by the Administration on Aging of the U.S.
Department of Health and Human Services, this site Equal Opportunity Employer/Program
www.aarp.org/statepages/az.html includes information on government-sponsored Under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the
The nation’s leading organization for people over resources, national caregiver organizations, articles Department must make a reasonable accommodation to allow
the age of 50. The organization has produced a and links to other sites. a person with a disability to take part in a program, service, or
variety of publications on caregiving, many of which activity. For example, this means that if necessary, the
are available on its website, including A Caregiver Department must provide sign language interpreters for people
Guide of Information and Resources (Document # who are deaf, a wheelchair accessible location, or enlarged
D16697): print materials. It also means that the Department will take
any other reasonable action that allows you to take part in and
understand a program or activity, including making reasonable
Arizona State Office changes to an activity. If you believe that you will not be able
302 North 1st Ave., Ste. 410 ADULT ABUSE, NEGLECT to understand or take part in a program or activity because of
Phoenix, AZ 85003
(602) 256-2277 AND EXPLOITATION your disability, please let us know of your disability needs in
advance if at all possible. This document is available in
Fax: (602) 256-2928 alternative formats by contacting 602-542-4446. Disponible
CALL en español en la oficina local.
Tucson Information Center
5055 E. Broadway, Ste. B-105 1-877-SOS-ADULT
Tucson, AZ 85711
Fax: (520) 571-9832 TDD 1-877-815-8390 AAA-1040APAMNA (10-02) Aging -If it’s not your issue...
it will be.
ost people who need help with daily activities caregiver is at greater risk for infections and disease. Experiences emotional and mental “burnout,” assistance with most daily activities. Caregivers
as a result of a disabling condition or illness Some experts believe that stress causes hypertension, anxiety or severe depression who cannot afford to hire helpers may qualify for
get the care they need from family members coronary disease or even premature death. Feels “caught in the middle” by providing care to public assistance.
or friends. Some receive help from paid caregivers who children and elderly family members at the same Plan for the future. Careful planning can relieve
work for agencies or independently. Despite the Do all caregivers experience stress? time stress by reducing uncertainty, preserving
significant physical and emotional demands of providing resources and preventing crises. A variety of
care, the overwhelming majority of caregivers are Some stress is normal. In the past, it was believed Has “old anger” toward the care receiver that can
that the more care a person provided the more likely he be traced to their relationship in the past instruments exist to help plan for the future
meeting the challenge; many are doing an excellent job. including powers of attorney, advanced directives
But reports of abuse by caregivers are not uncommon or she was to experience stress. Now it is known that
not all caregivers are created equal. Some, who provide for health care, trusts and wills.
and appear to be on the rise. This fact sheet responds The care receiver:
to frequently asked questions about caregiver stress high levels of care, experience no stress, while others
and abuse. who provide relatively little care experience high levels Is aggressive or combative Agencies can:
of stress. Many experts believe that these differences Is verbally abusive Carefully screen caregivers and patients for the
can be explained by subjective factors such as how
What is a caregiver? caregivers feel about providing care, their current and Exhibits disturbing behaviors such as sexual risk factors associated with caregiver abuse.
The term refers to anyone who routinely helps past relationships to those they care for, and their coping “acting out” or embarrassing public displays Provide caregivers with information and support
others who are limited by chronic conditions. “Formal” abilities. Some caregivers find certain behaviors by to lower their risk.
caregivers are volunteers or paid employees connected care receivers to be particularly stressful, including The caregiver and the care receiver: Provide instruction to caregivers (through
to the social service or health care systems. The term aggression, combativeness, wandering and Live together materials, classes, websites or support groups)
“informal caregiver” refers to family members and incontinence. Others report that they experience stress in conflict resolution and how to deal with difficult
friends, who are the primary source of care for nearly because they don’t get enough rest, privacy, support or Had a poor relationship prior to the onset of the behaviors such as violence, combativeness and
three-quarters of the impaired older adults who live in time for themselves. illness or disabling condition verbal abuse.
the community. Caregivers assist with such basic task Are married and have a marital relationship that
as bathing, dressing, preparing meals and shopping. Promote better coordination between agencies
Are all “stressed caregivers” at risk for is characterized by conflict that offer protection to victims and those that offer
Some have the added responsibilities of administering becoming abusive?
medications, making sure that an immobile person is services to caregivers. This can be achieved
turned frequently to avoid developing pressure sores, It is true that some of the same factors that are What can be done? through cross-disciplinary training, interagency
and other tasks related to the older person’s illness or believed to cause caregiver stress also raise the risk of protocols and multidisciplinary teams.
Reducing the risk of elder abuse by caregivers will
disability. abuse. For example, when the relationship between a require the efforts of caregivers, agencies and the
caregiver and care receiver was poor to begin with, the community. Concerned citizens can:
How large a problem is abuse by caregiver is more likely to feel stress and to become
abusive. But the link between caregiver stress and Lend a hand to a caregiver who needs help.
caregivers? abuse is not yet fully understood, and more research is
Report abuse. In most communities, Adult
Although it is known that in 90% of all reported elder needed to understand what factors predict or contribute Get help. Making use of social and support Protective Services (APS) is the agency that
abuse cases the abuser is a family member, it is not to caregiver abuse. Specific areas that need to be services, including support groups, respite care, accepts and investigates reports. Look in the city
known how many of these abusive family members are explored include how aggression by care receivers home delivered meals, adult day care and or county government section of the telephone
also caregivers. Researchers have estimated that raises the risk of abuse, why some caregivers fear that assessment services, can reduce the stress directory under “Aging Services” or “Social
anywhere from 5% to 23% of all caregivers are they will become abusive, whether caregivers who are associated with abuse. Services,” or contact local Area Agencies on
physically abusive. Most agree that abuse is related to afraid of becoming abusive are more likely to actually Learn to recognize their “triggers,” those factors Aging.
the stresses associated with providing care. abuse, and how caregivers’ coping patterns play a role. that cause them the greatest stress or anxiety. Advocate for public policy to increase the supply
Learn to recognize and understand the causes and scope of services available to caregivers.
What is caregiver stress and why is it Are there “red flags” to watch for? of difficult behaviors and techniques for handling Volunteer. Volunteers can make friendly visits,
harmful? Drawing from what is currently known about them more effectively. serve as guardians or bill payers, or provide
Stress is often described as the body’s “fight or caregiver abuse, the following factors may be cause Develop relationships with other caregivers. respite care.
flight” response to danger. When the body goes on “high for concern: Caregivers with strong emotional support from Arrange to have speakers make presentations
alert” to protect itself, essential functions like respiration other caregivers are less likely to report stress on caregiving at churches, clubs or civic
and heart rate speed up, while less essential functions, The caregiver: or to fear that they will become abusive. organizations.
such as the immune system, shut down. Although the Fears that he or she will become violent Get healthy. Exercise, relaxation, good nutrition
stress response is a healthy reaction, the body needs and adequate rest have been shown to reduce
to repair itself once danger is removed. For caregivers, Suffers from low self esteem
stress and help caregivers cope.
whose stress often results from fatigue and conflicts Perceives that he or she is not receiving
that never go away, their bodies never get a chance to adequate help or support from others Hire helpers. Attendants, chore workers, home-
heal. If the immune system isn’t functioning fully, the makers or personal care attendants can provide
Views caregiving as a burden