We Help Elder Abuse Victims and the People Who Love Them
The Lack of Specialized Services Leaves Many Elder Abuse Victims Behind
Mr. Green is a widowed 89 year-old man with moderately advanced dementia who became depressed and lonely after the death of his wife last year. He was recently befriended by a much younger woman at the local laundromat, who told him she was also recently widowed and that she found him attractive.
Flattered, he offered her an empty bedroom in his apartment at a very low monthly rent until she got on her feet. Soon after moving in, she became verbally and physically abusive and also used his ATM card without permission. When he tried to get her to leave, she told him she was now a legal tenant and that he could not force her out. Her friends would visit against his wishes, use drugs and eat his food.
Terrified, he went to the local police precinct where he was told there was nothing they could do and that he should get a lawyer. However, he could not afford one.
Services Should Be Holistic and Multi-Disciplinary to Engage All Stakeholders
Fortunately, Mr. Green had a social worker at the local senior center who was a member of an elder abuse multi-disciplinary team (MDT) in his city.
Modeled after child abuse teams, workers from various disciplines like medicine, law enforcement, social work, housing, and legal services meet weekly at the MDT to discuss the most difficult cases.
When Mr. Green’s case was presented, one of the members recognized the name of his abuser, and it was discovered that she had been serially abusing many older men in this way for several years.
Armed with this information, the younger woman was confronted with her prior criminal convictions by the local police officer. She quickly vacated the premises and was never heard from again.
Providing direct services is critical to ending elder abuse.
As elder abuse experts who have devoted our lives and careers to improving the dignity and quality of life of older adults and their families, we support the creation of highly innovative programs that directly serve victims. Specifically, these direct services help
1 in 10 older adults experience abuse in a growing, aging population. As long as older adults are being abused, effective direct services must be developed to intervene and protect them..
1 in 3 adults know of an older adult being abused and experience stress and burnout trying to help. Direct services must also be available to these concerned others.
Professionals are currently on the ground, helping abused older adults and minimizing risk of abuse but they need better tools. We can develop even more effective programs and trainings to make these professionals more effective.
Elder abuse has a high cost for both society and victims, and can result in bankruptcy, isolation, health decline and even death. There is great urgency to get services to them via teams of professionals, in medical settings and through community services.
Our Team Supports Direct Service Efforts
to Help Elder Abuse Victims and the
People Who Love Them.
Helping Victims – The Multi-disciplinary Teams (MDTs) Approach
The people who founded elderabuse.org regularly convene MDTs to discuss a community’s most difficult and complicated elder abuse cases and to find creative solutions. Originally started in Southern California and New York City, MDTs are springing up throughout the United States and even internationally, and we can help you create one in your community.
Helping Victims – Vulnerable Elder Protection Team
Emergency Medicine physician Dr. Anthony Rosen has created a Vulnerable Elder Protection Team, or VEPT, modeled after child abuse teams that have served emergency rooms for decades. When the suspicion of elder abuse is raised by a busy ER physician, a comprehensive team arrives to fully investigate the situation. The VEPT team frees busy ER staff from that responsibility and thereby increases the likelihood of elder abuse recognition and follow-through. Dr. Rosen is also planning a national dissemination model for Emergency Departments wish to start their own VEPTs. This program was also developed through philanthropic support, including from the Fan Fox and Leslie R. Samuels Foundation.
Helping Loved Ones – The Elder Abuse Helpline
Risa Breckman, LCSW, a founding board member of elderabuse.org, has created an innovative resource called the Elder Abuse Helpline for concerned family, friends, and neighbors who may trying to assist an elder abuse victim, and which was founded through support from the Fan Fox and Leslie R. Samuels Foundation. Her important study “When Helping Hurts” co-authored with Brooke Astor’s grandson Phillip Marshall (who assisted his grandmother during abuse by her son) demonstrated that tens of millions of Americans know an elder abuse victim and are attempting to provide some kind of assistance to them. This role can be extremely stressful because abusers can be menacing, not only to victims but to loved ones who are trying to provide support. The Helpline provides support for the concerned other and recognizes the importance of this role – and that an abandoned victim is often left with little hope.
How we use your donation to fund Direct Services
We use your donations to fill important gaps in direct services, improve current practices, and we then share them with our partners nationally
How Direct Services Save Lives
Delivering a Multi-Disciplinary Team Model to Coordinate Intervention
Elder abuse multi-disciplinary teams (MDTs) began in the late 1990s and were created by Dr. Laura Mosqueda, a geriatrician in southern California. MDTs are springing up all around the country, as they appear to be a highly-efficient way of addressing complex elder abuse cases where victims cross many different public welfare systems (health, law, social services, housing) without coordination.
For example, elderabuse.org board members, in partnership with other elder abuse experts, are launching teams in all five boroughs of New York City with funding support from the Irene Diamond Fund, the Grayce B. Kerr Fund, the Fan Fox and Leslie R. Samuels Foundation, and the City of New York. Additionally, they are creating comprehensive training, procedure, and policy materials for other communities who wish to replicate MDTs.