09:45 - 10:30
Key Note: Mark S. Lachs
After years of slow progress in the field of elder abuse, the past decade has borne witness to significant progress in our understanding of the phenomenon and led to the formulation of new promising clinical strategies. In this presentation, I will summarize what I regard as the major scientific and service developments in the field. These include several large-scale epidemiological studies that have yielded generally similar prevalence estimates when common methodologies are employed. Those studies have also revealed strikingly high rates of financial exploitation among older adults; this differentiates elder abuse from other forms of domestic violence. Neuroscientists have begun to explore the basis for older adults brain vulnerability to financial exploitation; dementia or other neurodegeneration does not appear to be required for such vulnerability. Other studies have convincingly demonstrated the adverse health and quality of life outcomes associated with abuse including depression, hospitalization, and mortality. In the field of long-term care, high rates of interpersonal aggression between residents has emerged as a much more common problem than abuse of residents by staff, despite lay media attention to the contrary.
While high quality randomized controlled clinical trials of elder abuse interventions have been lacking, several promising intervention strategies are spreading widely to combat elder abuse. The most common is the emergence of multidisciplinary teams or MDTs. Modeled after child abuse intervention teams, MDTS convene experts from medicine, law, housing, mental health, justice, and other fi elds in an attempt to collaboratively solve the complex multifaceted problems of the elder abuse victim.
Mark S. Lachs
Distinguished Professor of Medicine, Chief of Geriatrics and Palliative Medicine, The Weill Medical College of Cornell University, Director of Geriatrics, New York Presbyterian Health System, New York/USA