Most elder abuse is caused by a family member. This could be a son, daughter, spouse, grandchild, or other relative. This family member is often dependent on the older person for money or a place to live. The abuser might have difficulties, such as chronic unemployment, or psychological or personal problems.
Sometimes elderly people are abused by health care and social service providers, either in the community or in long-term care homes.
Theft and assault can happen in institutions, but most abuse there takes the form of neglect, poor care, and lack of respect for residents.