The traditional values of Chinese culture promote care and respect toward older adults. While it appears to be ironic to discuss issues of abuse and neglect in the Chinese culture, research findings in Chinese societies do indicate the occurrences of such problems. However, little research on the abuse and neglect of older Chinese in Western societies has been available. This study aims to examine the incidence of abuse and neglect and the associated correlates based on data collected from a random sample of 2,272 aging Chinese 55 years and older in seven Canadian cities. The findings show that 4.5% of the participants reported experiencing at least one incident of maltreatment or neglect within the past year. The most common forms of neglect and abuse experienced by the aging Chinese include being scolded, yelled at, treated impolitely all the time, and ridiculed. Close family members such as spouses and sons are those that most commonly maltreat older Chinese. Those who were more likely to report at least one incident of maltreatment or neglect were older adults living with others; they tended to have no education, more access barriers, more chronic illnesses, less favorable mental health, and a higher level of identification with Chinese cultural values. The findings implied that the face value of respect and care received by older people in Chinese culture should not be taken for granted. Culturally appropriate precautionary steps are needed for prevention and early problem identification.
We aimed to investigate the prevalence rate of abuse (psychological, physical, sexual, financial, neglect) of older persons (AO) in seven cities from seven countries in Europe (Germany, Greece, Italy, Lithuania, Portugal, Spain, Sweden), and to assess factors potentially associated with AO.
A cross-sectional study was conducted in 2009 (n = 4,467, aged 60-84). Potentially associated factors were grouped into domains (domain 1: age, gender, migration history; domain 2: education, occupation; domain 3: marital status, living situation; domain 4: habitation, income, financial strain). We calculated odds ratios (OR) with their respective 95 % confidence intervals (CI).
Psychological AO was the most common form of AO, ranging from 10.4 % (95 % CI 8.1-13.0) in Italy to 29.7 % (95 % CI 26.2-33.5) in Sweden. Second most common form was financial AO, ranging from 1.8 % (95 % CI 0.9-3.2) in Sweden to 7.8 % (95 % CI 5.8-10.1) in Portugal. Less common was physical AO, ranging from 1.0 % (95 % CI 0.4-2.1) in Italy to 4.0 % (95 % CI 2.6-5.8 %) in Sweden. Sexual AO was least common, ranging from 0.3 (95 % CI 0.0-1.1) in Italy and Spain to 1.5 % (95 % CI 0.7-2.8) in Greece. Being from Germany (AOR 3.25, 95 % CI 2.34-4.51), Sweden (OR 3.16, 95 % CI 2.28-4.39) or Lithuania (AOR 2.45, 95 % CI 1.75-3.43) was associated with increased prevalence rates of AO.
Country of residence of older people is independent from the four assessed domains associated with AO. Life course perspectives on AO are highly needed to get better insight, and to develop and implement prevention strategies targeted at decreasing prevalence rates of AO.
This article describes how abuse and neglect of the elderly was made an issue for research in a Nordic perspective. The Council of Nordic Ministers funded a cooperation between Nordic researchers on the issue of abuse of the elderly, based on a Norwegian initiative in 1988. The aim was to establish a base of knowledge in order to recommend social and political measures for each country. The researchers were chosen from the disciplines of social work, social anthropology, sociology, nursing sciences and medicine. Interested researchers were hard to find in Iceland and Denmark. Important results are on a theoretical level the discussion and perspectives on the definition of "family", "violence" and "elderly". On the practical level the results reveal that between 8% and 17% of a random population sample in Denmark, Sweden and Finland knew about elderly people being abused in their homes. Between 1 and 8% of elderly people living in their homes are being abused by their close kin, according to either the old people themselves or as reported by home nurses. In one of the Swedish projects 12% of close family members, being responsible for the care of a demented, mostly spouse or parent, admitted abuse towards the demented person. Swedish home nurses described the difficulties in intervening into the abusive families.
In a population-based study 219 family members of cognitively impaired elderly (casegroup) and 255 family members of cognitively healthy elderly (control-group) were interviewed about their situation as a caregiver to an old person. Twenty-six family members in the case-group reported abusive behavior in the care of the elderly at home. These family members are compared with 154 family members in the control-group, reporting other coping strategies than abusive. In the abusive group most of the elderly were in a mild stage of dementia, and the family members reported more strain in the care situation. The family members were older, judged their health as deteriorated, and were mostly living together with the dependent elderly.