Priorities in addressing elder mistreatment
April 2, 2015
"Elder mistreatment is recognized internationally as a prevalent and growing problem, meriting the attention of policymakers, practitioners, and the general public," begins the abstract of an article by lead author Karl Pillemer in a recent special issue of The Gerontologist focusing on the 2015 White House Conference on Aging. The 2015 conference will examine “elder financial exploitation, abuse and neglect” as one of four priority topics. Elder Mistreatment: Priorities for Consideration by the White House Conference on Aging (co-authored by Marie-Therese Connolly, Risa Breckman, Nathan Spreng, and Mark S. Lachs) reviews key issues in the field of elder mistreatment, emphasizes the public health importance of the problem, and proposes three major challenges to be addressed in order to create a comprehensive, coordinated response to elder mistreatment: research, direct services, and policy.
Elder mistreatment is recognized internationally as a prevalent and growing problem, meriting the attention of policymakers, practitioners, and the general public. Studies have demonstrated that elder mistreatment is sufficiently widespread to be a major public health concern and that it leads to a range of negative physical, psychological, and financial outcomes. This article provides an overview of key issues related to the prevention and treatment of elder mistreatment, focusing on initiatives that can be addressed by the White House Conference on Aging. We review research on the extent of mistreatment and its consequences. We then propose 3 challenges in preventing and treating elder mistreatment that relate to improving research knowledge, creating a comprehensive service system, and developing effective policy. Under each challenge, examples are provided of promising initiatives that can be taken to eliminate mistreatment. To inform the recommendations, we employed recent data from the Elder Justice Roadmap Project, in which 750 stakeholders in the field of elder mistreatment were surveyed regarding research and policy priorities.