Journal of General Internal Medicine

, Volume 29, Issue 12, pp 1615–1623 | Cite as

Financial Exploitation of Older Adults: A Population-Based Prevalence Study

  • Janey C. Peterson
  • David P.R. Burnes
  • Paul L. Caccamise
  • Art Mason
  • Charles R. HendersonJr.
  • Martin T. Wells
  • Jacquelin Berman
  • Ann Marie Cook
  • Denise Shukoff
  • Patricia Brownell
  • Mebane Powell
  • Aurora Salamone
  • Karl A. Pillemer
  • Mark S. Lachs
Original Research

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND

Financial exploitation is the most common and least studied form of elder abuse. Previous research estimating the prevalence of financial exploitation of older adults (FEOA) is limited by a broader emphasis on traditional forms of elder mistreatment (e.g., physical, sexual, emotional abuse/neglect).

OBJECTIVES

1) estimate the one-year period prevalence and lifetime prevalence of FEOA; 2) describe major FEOA types; and 3) identify factors associated with FEOA.

DESIGN

Prevalence study with a random, stratified probability sample.

PARTICIPANTS

Four thousand, one hundred and fifty-six community-dwelling, cognitively intact adults age ≥ 60 years.

SETTING

New York State.

MAIN MEASURES

Comprehensive tool developed for this study measured five FEOA domains: 1) stolen or misappropriated money/property; 2) coercion resulting in surrendering rights/property; 3) impersonation to obtain property/services; 4) inadequate contributions toward household expenses, but respondent still had enough money for necessities and 5) respondent was destitute and did not receive necessary assistance from family/friends.

KEY RESULTS

One-year period FEOA prevalence was 2.7 % (95 % CI, 2.29–3.29) and lifetime prevalence was 4.7 % (95 % CI, 4.05–5.34). Greater relative risk (RR) of one-year period prevalence was associated with African American/black race (RR, 3.80; 95 % CI, 1.11–13.04), poverty (RR, 1.72; 95 % CI, 1.09–2.71), increasing number of non-spousal household members (RR, 1.16; 95 % CI, 1.06–1.27), and ≥ 1 instrumental activity of daily living (IADL) impairments (RR, 1.69; 95 % CI, 1.12–2.53). Greater RR of lifetime prevalence was associated with African American/black race (RR, 2.61; 95 % CI, 1.37–4.98), poverty (RR, 1.47; 95 % CI, 1.04–2.09), increasing number of non-spousal household members (RR, 1.16; 95 % CI, 1.12–1.21), and having ≥1 IADL (RR, 1.45; 95 % CI, 1.11–1.90) or ≥1 ADL (RR, 1.52; 95 % CI, 1.06–2.18) impairment. Living with a spouse/partner was associated with a significantly lower RR of lifetime prevalence (RR, 0.39; 95 % CI, 0.26–0.59)

CONCLUSIONS

Financial exploitation of older adults is a common and serious problem. Elders from groups traditionally considered to be economically, medically, and sociodemographically vulnerable are more likely to self-report financial exploitation.

KEY WORDS

financial exploitation elder financial abuse elder abuse elder mistreatment economic abuse 

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Copyright information

© Society of General Internal Medicine 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Janey C. Peterson
    • 1
  • David P.R. Burnes
    • 4
  • Paul L. Caccamise
    • 3
  • Art Mason
    • 3
  • Charles R. HendersonJr.
    • 2
  • Martin T. Wells
    • 8
  • Jacquelin Berman
    • 5
  • Ann Marie Cook
    • 3
  • Denise Shukoff
    • 3
  • Patricia Brownell
    • 6
  • Mebane Powell
    • 5
  • Aurora Salamone
    • 5
  • Karl A. Pillemer
    • 2
  • Mark S. Lachs
    • 7
  1. 1.Division of Clinical Epidemiology and Evaluative Sciences Research, Center for Integrative Medicine, Department of Cardiothoracic SurgeryWeill Cornell Medical CollegeNew YorkUSA
  2. 2.Department of Human DevelopmentCornell UniversityIthacaUSA
  3. 3.Lifespan of Greater RochesterRochesterUSA
  4. 4.Factor-Inwentash Faculty of Social WorkUniversity of TorontoTorontoCanada
  5. 5.New York City Department for the AgingNew YorkUSA
  6. 6.Fordham UniversityBronxUSA
  7. 7.Division of Geriatrics and Palliative MedicineWeill Cornell Medical CollegeNew YorkUSA
  8. 8.Departments of Statistical Science and Social StatisticsCornell UniversityIthacaUSA

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