Introduction Globally, it has been documented that the population is ageing at an unprecedented rate. The issue of elder abuse has not been adequately addressed, especially in Nigeria because it has not yet been recognised as a serious matter. This study compares prevalence, patterns and factors associated with elder abuse among the elderly in a rural and an urban community in Oyo State, Nigeria.
Methods A comparative cross sectional survey was conducted among the elderly in selected rural and urban Local Government Areas in Oyo state, Nigeria, using interviewer administered questionnaires. Data obtained was analysed using SPSS version 16.
Results A total of 722 respondents were interviewed, 358 (49.6%) in the urban location and 364 (50.4%) in the rural area. The mean age of respondents was 70.92±9.21 years (urban 70.22±8.91 years: rural 71.62±9.47 years p<0.05). Over half of the respondents were female (56.0%) and married (58.2%). The urban and rural prevalence of abuse are: physical abuse 21.8% vs 6.3%; emotional abuse 16.8% vs 4.1%; social abuse 27.4% vs 10.2% and financial abuse 20.9% vs 7.7% respectively. Sexual abuse (0.6%) was reported only in the urban area. The positive predictors of elder abuse were locality, living arrangements and functional impairment.
Conclusion This study reveals that there is a high prevalence of all forms of elder abuse especially in the urban areas. There is a need to create awareness of the problem of elder abuse and formulate social security policies to protect the elderly.
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