ITHACA — More than 1 in 10 older adults in New York state may become victims of elder mistreatment over the next decade, according to a new study from Cornell University and the University of Toronto that tracked nearly 630 participants over a 10-year period.
Its authors say the study confirms elder abuse is widespread and advances understanding of risk factors —such as poor health or isolation — that should inform efforts to detect and prevent mistreatment. “This study contributes to a growing base of evidence that elder mistreatment is a highly prevalent problem that demands a vigorous public health response,” said senior author Karl Pillemer, a professor of human development at Cornell.
Prior to the study, participants reported no experience with mistreatment in five categories: financial abuse, emotional abuse, physical abuse, neglect and sexual abuse. But a decade later, 11.4% reported having become victims of elder mistreatment, the study found. Financial abuse was the most common type, affect 8.5% of respondents, followed by emotional abuse (4.1%), physical abuse (2.3%) and neglect (1%). No sexual abuse was reported.