Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Older adults are at risk of financial abuse, often from family members

Date:
July 30, 2014
Source:
Springer Science+Business Media
Summary:
Nearly one in every 20 elderly American adults is being financially exploited -- often by their own family members. This burgeoning public health crisis especially affects poor and black people. It merits the scrutiny of clinicians, policy makers, researchers, and any citizen who cares about the dignity and well-being of older Americans, says an expert.

Nearly one in every twenty elderly American adults is being financially exploited -- often by their own family members. This burgeoning public health crisis especially affects poor and black people. It merits the scrutiny of clinicians, policy makers, researchers, and any citizen who cares about the dignity and well-being of older Americans, says Dr. Janey Peterson of Weill Cornell Medical College in the US. She led one of the largest American studies ever on elder abuse, the findings of which appear in the Journal of General Internal Medicine, published by Springer.

Related Articles


With old age often also comes social isolation and mental decline, which makes the elderly uniquely susceptible to being abused by others in different ways. According to Peterson, even though financial exploitation is the most common form of elder abuse, it is also the aspect that has been least studied. Her team therefore set out to get a clearer picture about its prevalence, the forms it takes and the factors that influence it. To do so, they telephonically interviewed 4,156 New York State residents 60 years of age or older.

In all, 2.7 percent of those interviewed admitted that they had been financially exploited in one way or another during the previous year, while an even more alarming 4.7 percent reported that it happened to them over the course of their later lifetimes. Having their money or property stolen or misappropriated happened to around 78 percent of respondents -- in cases that occurred in the past year, 42 percent said it happened 2 to 10 times, and 9 percent said it happened more than 10 times, in fact. Some people were forced or misled into surrendering rights or property or signing or changing a legal document. Some were impersonated to obtain property or services. Others had to carry the cost of all domestic expenses without the contributions of other household members. A small group of respondents reported being destitute and not receiving assistance from family or friends.

The most common perpetrator was not an outsider, but most often a family member (57.9 percent of the time) -- and the adult children at that. This is followed by friends and neighbors (16.9 percent) or a paid home aid (14.9 percent).

The researchers' analyses convey a consistent narrative: Financial exploitation disproportionately affects older black adults, those surviving below the poverty line and elderly people living in large households without their spouses. Peterson's team was also not surprised to find that elderly adults who struggle to maintain an independent lifestyle are often exploited. Requiring assistance with shopping and meal preparation often gives potential perpetrators access to their finances.

"Financial exploitation of older adults is a common and serious problem, and especially happens to elders from groups traditionally considered to be economically, medically and socio-demographically vulnerable," says Peterson.. "In addition to robbing older adults of resources, dignity, and quality of life, it is likely costing our society dearly in the form of increased entitlement encumbrances, health care, and other costs."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Springer Science+Business Media. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Janey C. Peterson, David P.R. Burnes, Paul L. Caccamise, Art Mason, Charles R. Henderson, Martin T. Wells, Jacquelin Berman, Ann Marie Cook, Denise Shukoff, Patricia Brownell, Mebane Powell, Aurora Salamone, Karl A. Pillemer, Mark S. Lachs. Financial Exploitation of Older Adults: A Population-Based Prevalence Study. Journal of General Internal Medicine, 2014; DOI: 10.1007/s11606-014-2946-2

Cite This Page:

Springer Science+Business Media. "Older adults are at risk of financial abuse, often from family members." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 30 July 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/07/140730093831.htm>.
Springer Science+Business Media. (2014, July 30). Older adults are at risk of financial abuse, often from family members. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 26, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/07/140730093831.htm
Springer Science+Business Media. "Older adults are at risk of financial abuse, often from family members." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/07/140730093831.htm (accessed October 26, 2014).

Share This



More Science & Society News

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Texas Nurse Nina Pham Cured of Ebola

Texas Nurse Nina Pham Cured of Ebola

AFP (Oct. 25, 2014) An American nurse who contracted Ebola while caring for a Liberian patient in Texas has been declared free of the virus and will leave the hospital. Duration: 01:01 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ebola Protective Suits Being Made in China

Ebola Protective Suits Being Made in China

AFP (Oct. 24, 2014) A factory in China is busy making Ebola protective suits for healthcare workers and others fighting the spread of the virus. Duration: 00:38 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
WHO: Millions of Ebola Vaccine Doses by 2015

WHO: Millions of Ebola Vaccine Doses by 2015

AP (Oct. 24, 2014) The World Health Organization said on Friday that millions of doses of two experimental Ebola vaccines could be ready for use in 2015 and five more experimental vaccines would start being tested in March. (Oct. 24) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Microsoft Riding High On Strong Surface, Cloud Performance

Microsoft Riding High On Strong Surface, Cloud Performance

Newsy (Oct. 24, 2014) Microsoft's Q3 earnings showed its tablets and cloud services are really hitting their stride. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Science & Society

Business & Industry

Education & Learning

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins