AIM: Elder abuse is a significant public health problem. This study aims to estimate its prevalence and associated factors, using representative national Malaysian data.
METHODS: A nationwide population-based survey involving 3977 community-dwelling older persons aged ≥60 years was conducted via face-to-face interview, of whom 3466 older persons were eligible for screening using a locally validated tool. Elder abuse was defined as any one occurrence of neglect, financial, psychological, physical or sexual abuse perpetrated by someone in a position of trust that was experienced in the past 12 months.
RESULTS: About 9.0% of older persons in Malaysia have experienced elder abuse in the past 12 months, with neglect being the commonest type experienced (7.5%; 95% confidence interval [CI]: 5.54, 10.07). There is no significant difference by age group and geographical location. Males (adjusted odds ratio [aOR] 1.7; 95% CI: 1.06, 2.60), poorer social support (aOR 5.0; 95% CI: 2.25, 11.22), dependency in activities of daily living (aOR 2.1; 95% CI: 1.23, 3.44) and a previous history of abuse (aOR 10.1; 95% CI: 4.50, 22.86) show higher odds of experiencing elder abuse. Almost 5% of abused older persons reported experiencing multiple types of abuse. Reporting is low at 19.3% with none reporting to healthcare personnel.
CONCLUSIONS: The prevalence of elder abuse in this study is lower than global estimates, but similar to local studies. Preventive measures and programs are crucial to overcoming elder abuse and need to be carried out at multiple levels - the individual, community, healthcare and other stakeholders. Geriatr Gerontol Int 2020; 20: 85-91.
* Title and MeSH Headings from MEDLINE®/PubMed®, a database of the U.S. National Library of Medicine.