This article reviews developments in the field of elder abuse and neglect since the publication of Elder Abuse and Neglect in Canada (1991). The arguments made here are twofold: first, we have no idea of the size and nature of the problem of abuse and neglect in the community or in institutions; second, we do not know how to solve these problems or their attendant issues that have been masked by rhetoric and the recycling of information for the past 20 years. It is time to move forward from the "awareness phase". What we must tackle in the future is as obvious now as 20 years ago. Our knowledge is incomplete (i.e., our glass remains half full) because we lack the type of investigations we most urgently need: prevalence studies in the community and institutions, serious theory development, and random clinical trials to test our interventions both socially and legally.
This paper provides the findings from a large pilot study, Defining and Measuring Elder Abuse and Neglect, a precursor to a national prevalence study to be conducted in Canada beginning in September 2013. One purpose of this study and the focus of this paper was to determine whether a life course perspective would provide a useful framework for examining elder abuse. The two-year pilot study, 2009-2011, examined the prevalence of perceptions of abuse at each life stage by type of abuse, the importance of early life stage abuse in predicting types of elder abuse, and early life stage abuse as a risk factor for elder abuse.
Older adults who were aged =55 years (N = 267) completed a cross-sectional telephone survey, comprising measures of five types of elder abuse (neglect, physical, sexual, psychological, and financial) and their occurrence across the life course: childhood (=17 years), young adulthood (18 to 24 years), and older adulthood (5 to 12 months prior to the interview date). Data analyses included descriptive statistics, bivariate correlations for abuse at the various life stages, and the estimation of logistic regression models that examined predictors of late life abuse, and multinomial logistic regression models predicting the frequency of abuse.
Fifty-five percent of the sample reported abuse during childhood, and 34.1% reported abuse during young adulthood. Forty-three percent said they were abused during mature adulthood, and 24.4% said they were abused since age 55 but prior to the interview date of the study. Psychological (42.3%), physical (26.6%), and sexual abuses (32.2%) were the most common abuses in childhood while psychological abuse was the most common type of abuse at each life stage. When the risk factors for abuse were considered simultaneously including abuse during all three life stages, only a history of abuse during childhood retained its importance (OR = 1.81, p = 0.046, CI = 1.01-3.26). Abuse in childhood increased the risk of experiencing one type of abuse relative to no abuse, but was also unrelated to experiencing two or more types of abuse compared to no abuse.
Results suggest that a life course perspective provides a useful framework for understanding elder abuse and neglect. The findings indicate that a childhood history of abuse in this sample had a deciding influence on later mistreatment, over and above what happens later in life.
A handful of scholars have acknowledged that, along side the traditional homeless, there are now older people who become homeless for the first time in old age. Few researchers, however, have systematically compared the recent older homeless with the chronic or traditional homeless. In the research presented here, we compare recent older homeless with long-term older homeless adults in Toronto according to their health and wealth, their housing history, and their use of health and social services. Findings indicate that people who become homeless for the first time at older ages have needs that are different from the lifetime elderly homeless and require different approaches to intervention.
In this article, we raise the question as to whether retirement is lost as we currently know and understand it in Canada. With a selected review, we examine retirement research according to the scope of retirement and the new retirement, possible theoretical developments, the timing of transitions into retirement, and life as a retiree including the quality or lack of pensions. Accordingly, we propose that retirement is undergoing modifications on the basis of several trends that commenced before the 2008 economic downturn. The data would appear to lean towards the emergence of a different type of retirement, insofar as the collective Canadian vision of retirement is lost, notwithstanding the economic meltdown in global markets.