A population-based study of physical function and risk for elder abuse reported to social service agency: Findings from the Chicago health and aging project

Xinqi Dong, Melissa Simon, Denis Evans

Publication Date: 10/01/2014

We examined the association between physical function and the risk for reported elder abuse. In the Chicago Health and Aging Project (N = 8,932), 238 participants had reported elder abuse. The independent variable was objectively assessed physical function using both directly observed physical performance testing and self-reported physical function (Katz activity of daily living scale, Nagi physical activity scale, and Rosow Breslau mobility scales). Outcomes were elder abuse and specific subtypes of elder abuse. After adjusting for confounders, lower levels of physical performance testing (OR, 2.71[1.58-4.64]), Katz impairment (OR, 1.84[1.29-2.59]), Nagi impairment (OR, 1.65[1.15-2.37]) and Rosow Breslau (OR, 1.76[1.26-2.47]) were associated with increased risk for elder abuse. Lowest levels of physical performance testing were associated with increased risk for psychological abuse (OR, 2.69[1.27-5.71]), caregiver neglect (OR, 2.66[1.22-5.79]), and financial exploitation (OR, 2.35 [1.21-4.55]). Our results may have important implications to healthcare professional, social services and other disciplines to prevent and treat elder abuse.