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Prevention of Elder Mistreatment

By Daniel B. Kaplan, PhD, MSW, Institute of Geriatric Psychiatry, Weill Cornell Medical College ; Barbara J. Berkman, DSW, PhD, Boston College Graduate School of Social Work;Columbia University School of Social Work;Hartford Geriatric Social Work Faculty Scholars Program

Older people who are worried about mistreatment can take steps to make it less likely to happen, such as the following:

  • Not living with someone who has a history of violent behavior or substance abuse

  • Keeping in touch with friends and former neighbors, especially if they have to move to a caregiver’s house

  • Staying connected with social and community organizations (increasing the chances that mistreatment, if it occurs, is noticed)

  • Insisting on legal advice before signing any documents related to where they will live or who controls their finances (the local Area Agency on Aging can refer people for legal help)

Family members and friends can help by maintaining close ties with an older person.

* This is the Consumer Version. *