Thesis

Identifying risk factors of financial exploitation of older and dependent adults in Sacramento County

This study describes and explores the nature of financial abuse (FA) of older adults, those aged 65 and over, in Sacramento County, California, with the aim of developing characteristic profiles for those with increased vulnerability for such mistreatment. This research was conducted with Sacramento County Adult Protective Services (APS), a program aimed at detection and prevention of abuse, neglect, and exploitation of older and dependent adults, and the investigation of reports thereof. Existing data for 1,211 financial abuse (FA) reports was collected through the APS 24-hour report hotline. This study used descriptive statistics to identify existing correlations between hotline data points, and inferential statistics to relate those to level of risk of FA. Specific attention was given to the correlation between the victim’s gender, ethnicity, and living situation and the report outcome – substantiated or unsubstantiated – of financial abuse. Analysis shows that a statistically significant correlation exists between the victim living alone and the substantiation of the report of FA. Although the additional individual characteristics identified in the hypothesis, gender and ethnic minority, did not individually yield significant results, multivariate analysis indicated a significant vi relationship between report substantiation and non-minority females who live alone when compounded; additionally “non-relative” perpetrator relation was most strongly associated with substantiated reports. Overall, the results of this research confirms the complex nature of financial abuse of older adults; creates a localized perspective to assist in prevention, assessment, and intervention; and contributes to the larger body of literature of FA as a national public health issue.

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