This study used two composites to illustrate exploitation of older adults’ residences by trusted others on whom the older adults depended, with potentially serious implications for environmental safety and ultimately the older adults’ housing stability.
Despite nationwide housing challenges that might lead to the exploitation of older adults’ housing resources, exploitation of older adults’ residences has not been a focus of measurement in the rapidly developing field of elder abuse and neglect. Rather, measures of older adult abuse and exploitation used in the research literature emphasize specific property, money, or resources being taken. As part of a larger study on older adult maltreatment, the current study coded police reports for abuse and financial exploitation, as well as misuse of the older adult’s residence that threatened the older adult’s housing security and/or exerted control over the older adult. Nearly one in ten (9.2 percent) police reports involving older adult victims and known/trusted perpetrators described exploitation of residences. Residence exploitation was separable from financial exploitation and less likely to co-occur with neglect. Considering the importance of housing stability to older adults’ well-being, consequences of maltreatment by a known/trusted other, and a national housing crisis, this study proposes that exploitation of older adults’ residences warrants further measurement and practice attention. Findings are relevant to advancing theory in older adult maltreatment (e.g., application of white-collar crime versus betrayal trauma and family violence theories). (publisher abstract modified)
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