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Advancing the Field of Elder Abuse: Future Directions and Policy Implications


Address correspondence to XinQi Dong, Director, Chinese Health, Aging and Policy Program, Associate Director, Rush Institute for Healthy Aging, Associate Professor of Medicine, Behavioral Sciences and Nursing, 1645 West Jackson Blvd, Suite 675, Chicago, IL 60612. E-mail:


Elder abuse, sometimes called elder mistreatment or elder maltreatment, includes psychological, physical, and sexual abuse; neglect (caregiver neglect and self-neglect); and financial exploitation. Evidence suggests that one in 10 older adults experiences some form of elder abuse, but only one in 25 cases is reported to social services agencies. At the same time, elder abuse is associated with significant morbidity and premature mortality. Despite these findings, there is a great paucity in research, practice, and policy addressing the pervasive issues of elder abuse. Through my experiences as a American Political Sciences Association Congressional Policy Fellow and Health and Aging Policy Fellow working with the Administration on Community Living (ACL) (previously known as the Administration on Aging) for the last 2 years, I will describe the major functions of the ACL and highlight two major pieces of federal legislation: The Older Americans Act and the Elder Justice Act. I will also highlight major research gaps and future policy relevant research directions for the field of elder abuse.