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The Gerontologist 46:583-589 (2006)
© 2006 The Gerontological Society of America

Violent Crime Victimization Increases the Risk of Nursing Home Placement in Older Adults

Mark Lachs, MD, MPH1,, Ronet Bachman, PhD2, Christianna S. Williams, PhD3, Alice Kossack, BA4, Carolyn Bove, BA5 and John R. O'Leary, MA4

Correspondence: Address correspondence to Mark Lachs, MD, MPH, Professor of Medicine, Division of Geriatric Medicine and Gerontology, The Weill Medical College of Cornell University, 1300 York Avenue, Box 39, New York, NY 10021. E-mail: mslachs{at}

Purpose: We estimate the independent contribution of crime victimization to nursing home placement in a cohort of older adults who were community dwelling at baseline. Design and Methods: The data come from an observational cohort study of 2,321 community-residing older adults who were members of the New Haven Established Populations for Epidemiological Studies in the Elderly cohort in 1985. Participants had annual evaluations using standardized instruments. We defined the major outcome, custodial nursing home placement, as a stay of at least 30 days; mean length of nursing home stay was 413 days. We determined crime victimization by matching police records in the same catchment area as the cohort for the period 1985–1995. We determined nursing home placement through linkage to the Connecticut Long Term Care Registry. We used growth curve modeling to estimate the risk of placement in victimized and nonvictimized participants, and we used multivariable models to adjust for other factors known to predict nursing home placement. Results: There were 482 members of the cohort (21%) who experienced victimization over the 10-year follow-up; 747 (32%) experienced nursing home placement. Most victimization episodes were nonviolent and noninjurious. However, violent victimization conferred an independent increased risk of nursing home placement (odds ratio = 2.1; 95% confidence interval = 1.0–4.6) that exceeded the increased risk associated with other variables traditionally thought to be predictive of placement (such as functional and cognitive impairment, and social network size). Implications: Violent crime victimization increases the risk of nursing home placement. Future research should be directed at determining the mechanism of this increased risk and developing interventions directed at victimized older adults that might avert nursing home placement in this uniquely vulnerable population.

Key Words: Crime victimization • Geriatric syndromes • Long-term care • Nursing home placement

This article has been cited by other articles:

Home page
Journal of Contemporary Criminal JusticeHome page
R. Bachman and M. L. Meloy
The Epidemiology of Violence Against the Elderly: Implications for Primary and Secondary Prevention
Journal of Contemporary Criminal Justice, May 1, 2008; 24(2): 186 - 197.
[Abstract] [PDF]

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Copyright © 2006 by The Gerontological Society of America.