Elder abuse and neglect in Ireland: results from a national prevalence survey

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Objective: to measure the 12-month prevalence of elder abuse and neglect in community-dwelling older people in Ireland and examine the risk profile of people who experienced mistreatment and that of the perpetrators.

Design: cross-sectional general population survey.

Setting: community.

Participants: people aged 65 years or older living in the community.

Methods: information was collected in face-to-face interviews on abuse types, socioeconomic, health, and social support characteristics of the population. Data were examined using descriptive statistics and logistic regression, odds ratios (OR) and 95% confidence intervals (95% CI) are presented.

Results: the prevalence of elder abuse and neglect was 2.2% (95% CI: 1.41–2.94) in the previous 12 months. The frequency of mistreatment type was financial 1.3%, psychological 1.2%, physical abuse 0.5%, neglect 0.3%, and sexual abuse 0.05%. In the univariate analysis lower income OR 2.39 (95% CI: 1.01–5.69), impaired physical health OR 3.41 (95% CI: 1.74–6.65), mental health OR 6.33 (95% CI: 3.33–12.0), and poor social support OR 4.91 (95% CI: 2.1–11.5) were associated with a higher risk of mistreatment but only social support and mental health remained independent predictors. Among perpetrators adult children (50%) were most frequently identified. Unemployment (50%) and addiction (20%) were characteristics of this group.

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