The U.S. population of adults older than 65 will peak in 2030. This population projection will have tremendous economic and policy consequences for the U.S. Meanwhile, Medicare projections forecast the elderly will be less healthy, due to an increase in obesity and disabilities concomitant with better technology and pharmaceuticals to prolong the lifespan which is costlier in the upcoming century. These factors create a fertile environment for abuse against this extremely vulnerable population.
The Department of Justice’s (DOJ’s) Office for Victims of Crime has recently recognized this need and Northwestern was one of eight organizations to receive a grant from the DOJ to combat elder abuse, neglect and financial exploitation.
Dr. Lori Ann Post, director of the Buehler Center for Health Policy and Economics within the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine Program in Public Health, will lead a team to develop an interoperable and integrated dashboard to share data, risk factors and resources for elder abuse victims. The team will create, design, evaluate, implement, and disseminate a web-based dashboard application informed by existing evidence-based elder abuse disability and risk screens. This dashboard will be available nationally to maximize reach and link healthcare providers, families, friends, and victims to identify abuses and to link solutions (resources, services) to abuse.
“This is very exciting to work with advocacy groups throughout the U.S. plus state governments in Maine and Delaware. In these days of incredible political polarization, elder abuse always generates bi-partisan support. So, this commitment from the DOJ toward combating elder abuse is extremely important,” Dr. Post said.
Other collaborators on this grant include Dr. James F. Oehmke (USAID); Ms. Elaine Forte (Yale New Haven Hospital); and Drs. Allen Heinemann, Emilie Powell, Scott Dresden, and Alex Lo (Northwestern).