Risk Factors of Elder Abuse

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Abstract

The Canadian population is aging. Although one key concern is elder abuse, few studies have explored risk factors for elder abuse in immigrant communities in Canada. This article presents the results of a mixed-methods study on the risk factors for elder abuse in the Punjabi community in the Greater Toronto Area. Forty Punjabi older adults participated in semi-structured group interviews facilitated by trained bilingual moderators. Participants were asked to rate the importance and frequency of key risk factors for elder abuse reported in previous research. Group discussions were audio-recorded with consent, translated into English, transcribed, and analyzed thematically. Participants identified advanced age, employment, physical dependence, and financial dependence as the most frequent risk factors for elder abuse, and they identified age, physical dependence, financial dependence, and social isolation as the most important risk factors within their community; some gender differences were observed in ratings. Discussions mainly focused on seven risk factors: social isolation, language, income, advanced age, sponsorship status, gender, and multigenerational households. Overall, the results revealed that older Punjabi women and men face several risk factors that intersect at the individual, community, and society level to increase their vulnerability to abuse; these results can be used to inform the development of intervention strategies to mitigate these risk factors and reduce the risk of elder abuse in the Punjabi community.