Non-professional caregivers, such as spouses, children, other relatives and sometimes friends can find the demands and responsibilities of the role to demanding especially as the individual gets older and their condition changes and/or deteriorates. This often leads to the caregiver becoming unable to cope and may result in them carrying out a variety of forms of abuse/neglect, sometimes intentionally but also through frustration and by accident.Some of the factors that present a risk of abuse can come about because the carer may lack the resilience necessary to cope with the stresses and strains of being a care giver. They may well not have had any training and may feel that their role is a thankless task and that a lone carry the burden caring for the individual, especially if they feel they lack support from others around them. It is not uncommon for care givers to suffer from stress and depression which may lead to mental and physical health problems and even down the path of substance abuse.
Paid carers are not immune from high levels of stress. It maybe that they have too many responsibilities, that they lack training, are not suited to their role or that the working conditions are not of a suitable standard. A carer operating under such conditions maybe more likely to carry-out abuse. There are many other factors that could put an individual at risk of abuse. It may be that the individual is isolated and unable to communicate with anyone outside of their immediate environment.
They may lack social skills and awareness of how to behave in public and towards strangers. They may not understand the difference between appropriate touching, such as that which is necessary when providing personal care, and inappropriate touching which is over physical, or of a sexual nature. They may be naive and too trusting or generous, leaving them vulnerable to being taken advantage of. Some individuals may continually complain of abuse where there is none (vexatious complainer). This could lead to them not being believed, even when they are a victim of actual abuse.
Similarly, an individual who is prone to falls, bumps bruises etc. May find that signs of actual physical abuse are misattributed to their disability. An individual maybe reluctant to report abuse for fear of retribution, or they may believe that a carer is doing their best and has their best interest at heart.