New findings on elder abuse

Almost 13 per cent of older people are subjected to some form of abuse.

New research from America has concluded that close to 13 per cent of the country’s older people suffer some form of abuse.

The most common form of abuse identified by the study – which was published in The Journal of Gerontology: Social Sciences – was verbal mistreatment (nine per cent), followed by financial mistreatment (3.5 per cent).

In comparison, just 0.2 per cent of older people were found to suffer from physical mistreatment.

A team of researchers from the University of Chicago drew the findings from a national project which conducted interviews with over 3,000 people living in the community, between the ages of 57 and 85.

Older adults with physical impairments and elderly women were more likely to be subjected to verbal mistreatment, while blacks were more likely to report financial mistreatment.

“The population of the country is ageing, and people now live with chronic diseases longer. So it’s important to understand, from a health perspective, how people are being treated as they age,” said lead author, Dr Edward Laumann.

Most elders who reported abuse said it was not perpetrated by a member of their immediate family.

Of those who reported verbal abuse, just over a quarter said their spouse or romantic partner was responsible and 15 per cent said they were mistreated by their children.

But 57 per cent said that the perpetrator was not a spouse, parent, or child.

Similarly, 56 per cent of respondents who reported financial mistreatment said the person responsible was not a family member.

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