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Elder Mistreatment: Priorities for Consideration


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.


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by the White House Conference on Aging

Karl Pillemer, PhD*,1, Marie-Therese Connolly, JD2, Risa Breckman, LCSW3,

Nathan Spreng, PhD1, and Mark S. Lachs, MD, MPH 3

The Gerontologist, 2015, Vol. 55, No. 2, 320–327

doi:10.1093/geront/gnu180

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Special Issue: 2015 WHCoA