‘That triggers me right off’: factors influencing abuse and violence in older people’s care-giving relationships
Hughes, M 1997 '‘That triggers me right off’: factors influencing abuse and violence in older people’s care-giving relationships', Australasian Journal on Ageing, vol. 16, no. 2, pp. 53-60.
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While the role of family members and spouses as informal care-givers of older people is increasingly valued in Australia, few studies have investigated the impact of pre-care-giving abuse or violence on these relationships. This paper presents results of semi-structured interviews conducted with 43 primary care-givers in 47 care-giving relationships. Two risk factors for abuse and violence in older people's care-giving relationships were examined: the mental health status of the care-receiver and the pre-care-giving history of abuse or violence. Care-receivers with mental health problems (including dementia) appeared no more likely than others to have initiated abuse or violence, although their care-givers were more likely to have directed violence towards them. A series of associations indicated that pre-care-giving experiences of abuse and violence were key risk factors for similar experiences during care-giving. This was even the case in those relationships involving a care-receiver with mental health problems. Implications for research, social policy and service delivery are considered.