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Elder Abuse: Prevention Strategies

Elder abuse is a serious problem that can have harmful effects on victims. The goal for elder abuse prevention is simple: to stop it from happening in the first place. However, the solutions are as complex as the problem.

Knowledge about what works to prevent elder abuse is growing. However, most prevention strategies and practices have not yet been rigorously evaluated to determine their effectiveness. In the absence of proven prevention strategies, program planners may wish to consider the following sources to strengthen their approach.

Prevention Principles

Relevant Publications

  • Anderson J, Mangels NJ. Helping victims: social services, health care interventions in elder abuse. In Summers RW, Hoffman AM editors. Elder Abuse: A Public Health Perspective. 2006. p. 139-166.
  • Anetzberger G, Palmisano BR, Eckert S, Schimer MR. A model intervention for elder abuse and dementia. Gerontologist. 2000;40(4):492–497.
  • Ayalon L, Lev S, Green O, Nevo U. A systematic review and meta-analysis of interventions designed to prevent or stop elder maltreatment. Age ageing. 2016; 45(2), 216-227. doi:10.1093/ageing/afv193
  • Baker PRA, Francis DP, Hairi NN, Othman S, Choo WY. Interventions for preventing abuse in the elderly. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2016, Issue 8. Art. No.: CD010321. DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD010321.pub2.
  • Butchart A, Phinney A, Check P, Villaveces A. Preventing violence: a guide to implementing the recommendations of the world report on violence and health. Geneva: Department of Injuries and Violence Prevention, World Health Organization; 2004.
  • Campos-Outcalt D. USPSTF: What’s recommended, what’s not. J Fam Pract. 2014; 63(5), 265-269.
  • Daly JM. Elder abuse prevention. Iowa City, IA: University of Iowa Gerontological Nursing Interventions Research Center, Research Dissemination Core; 2004.
  • Daly JM, Schoenfelder DP. Elder abuse prevention. J Gerontol Nurs. 2011; 37(11), 11-17. doi:10.3928/00989134-20111004-01
  • Day A, Boni N, Evert H, Knight T. An assessment of interventions that target risk factors for elder abuse. Health Soc Care Community. 2016; doi:10.1111/hsc.12332
  • Fearing G, Sheppard CL, McDonald L, Beaulieu M, Hitzig SL. A systematic review on community-based interventions for elder abuse and neglect. J Elder Abuse Negl. 2017 Mar 24. doi: 10.1080/08946566.2017.1308286.
  • National Center for Elder Abuse. Preventing elder abuse by family caregivers. 2002.
  • Nerenberg L. Elder abuse prevention: emerging trends and promising strategies. New York, NY: Springer; 2007.
  • Payne BK, Fletcher LB. Elder abuse in nursing homes: prevention and resolution strategies and barriers. J Crim Justice. 2005;33(2):119–125.
  • Pillemer KA, Mueller-Johnson KU, Mock SE, Suitor JJ, Lachs MS. Interventions to prevent elder maltreatment. In: Doll L, Bonzo S, Sleet D, Mercy J, Hass E, editors. Handbook of injury and violence prevention. New York, NY: Springer; 2007.p. 241–256.
  • Pillemer K, Burnes D, Riffin C, Lachs MS. Elder Abuse: Global Situation, Risk Factors, and Prevention Strategies. Gerontologist. 2016 Apr;56 Suppl 2:S194-205. doi: 10.1093/geront/gnw004.
  • Ploeg J, Fear J, Hutchison B, MacMillan H, Bolan G. A systematic review of interventions for elder abuse. J Elder Abuse Negl. 2009 Jul-Sep;21(3):187-210. doi: 10.1080/08946560902997181.
  • Wolf R, Daichman L, Bennett G. Abuse of the elderly. In: Krug E, Dahlberg L, Mercy J, Zwi A, Lozano R, editors. World Report on Violence and Health. Geneva: World Health Organization; 2002. p. 123–146.

Other Resources

  • Violence Prevention Evidence Base
    This database, developed by The Centre for Public Health at Liverpool John Moores University, provides access to abstracts from published studies that have measured the effectiveness of interventions to prevent violence. To be included in the database, studies must have measured the impact of interventions directly on violence. Studies have been selected through a systematic review of published academic literature. The abstracts can be searched by violence type, keywords, and geographical area of implementation.
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