Elders say they experience verbal and financial mistreatment by relatives

NEWS IN BRIEF — Posted Sept. 8, 2008

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A significant percentage of older adults are verbally abused by a family member. Financial mistreatment also is a risk, although physical abuse is uncommon, according to a study in the July Journal of Gerontology: Social Sciences.

Researchers analyzed data from the National Social Life, Health and Aging Project, a representative sample of 3,005 people ages 57 to 85 across the U.S. Of this group, 9% reported that relatives insulted and berated them, and 3.5% said that family members took their money or things without permission. Only 0.2% reported physical mistreatment.

"The population of the country is aging, and people now live with chronic diseases longer. So it's important to understand from a health perspective how people are being treated as they age," said Edward Laumann, PhD, lead author and George Herbert Mead Distinguished Service Professor in Sociology at the University of Chicago.

Older women were twice as likely as older men to report that they had experienced verbal mistreatment. Fewer Latinos than Caucasians experienced financial and verbal abuse.

Note: This item originally appeared at

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