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Date(s) - 07/17/2019
1:30 pm - 2:30 pm


The Role of Social Support in the Lives of Elder Abuse Victims

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

1:30 p.m. Eastern Time

The role of social support as a protective factor against abuse of older adults has received increasing attention over the past several years. Based on findings from population-based studies, this webinar will highlight the importance of social support in the lives of elder abuse victims. Findings suggest that social support plays a key role in protecting victims from adverse health and mental health consequences of abuse, while enhancing their resilience. However, exact mechanisms by which social support enhances resilience are understudied. Our research also introduces a group referred to as concerned others – members of a victim’s informal support network who actively help them to deal with mistreatment. Findings reveal that the concerned other role is highly distressing, yet these helpers are critical to facilitating victims’ use of formal support services. Building on these promising findings related to the role of social support in the lives of elder abuse victims, discussion will emphasize examples of how social support initiatives may be implemented in different communities. We will also discuss the need to further understand which dimensions of social support have the greatest influence on what type of victim under what type of circumstance.

Register here.


Dr. David Burnes is an Associate Professor and Associate Dean, Academic at the University of Toronto, Factor-Inwentash Faculty of Social Work. Dr. Burnes completed a PhD at Columbia University School of Social Work in New York City, concentrating in gerontology and advanced practice. His program of research centers around the issue of elder abuse. Specifically, his research focuses on understanding and preventing elder abuse in the community, including the development of basic science (prevalence, risk factors, severity), developing/evaluating interventions, and developing intervention outcome measures. Dr. Burnes has published several research papers on the topic of elder abuse and has obtained grants from federal-level sources (e.g., National Institutes of Health, National Institute of Justice) to fund research. He has been invited to advise international organizations on the topic of elder abuse, including the World Health Organization and National Institutes of Health. He also advises government entities, including state-level adult protective services programs, on the development and implementation of elder abuse response intervention practices and measurement strategies. Dr. Burnes’ interest in elder abuse stems from both family experience and clinical practice with older adults.


Melba A. Hernandez-Tejada PhD, DHAis currently a Research Associate Professor in the MUSC College of Nursing, and a Research Scientist at the Ralph H. Johnson Veterans Affairs Medical Center (as of September 1, 2019, Dr. Hernandez Tejada will join the faculty of UTHealth in the Department of Psychiatry’s Trauma Resilience Center). Dr. Hernandez-Tejada holds doctoral degrees in Health Administration (Medical University of South Carolina) and Clinical & Health Psychology (Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Spain), and completed a postdoctoral fellowship in Health Disparities at MUSC. Dr. Hernandez Tejada is researching the benefits of social connection and social support while leveraging technology to address barriers to care, particularly among vulnerable groups. She has applied this work to two primary populations: Veterans suffering from PTSD and older adults confronted with issues that affect their ability to age in place (e.g., elder abuse). Funding for these endeavors has come from the Violence Against Women and Victims of Crime Act funding programs, as well as from the Department of Defense. In addition to this cutting-edge research with Veterans and Older adults, Dr. Hernandez Tejada has engaged in practice-level efforts where she is raising awareness among providers regarding adequate screening, identification, diagnosis and referral of elder mistreatment survivors and evidence-based mental health treatment options for elder abuse victims. She collaborates and consults regularly with different national and international organizations. She is currently interested in increasing collaborative efforts through inter-professional, multilevel and integrative approaches to treating both Veterans and Older Adults suffering from mental health conditions, and the impact these conditions have on social interaction, aging in place, and physical health.

Risa Breckman, LCSW, is the Executive Director, New York City Elder Abuse Center (NYCEAC), at Weill Cornell Medicine’s Division of Geriatrics and Palliative Medicine. Since 1982, she has been at the forefront of developing innovative responses to elder mistreatment. Most recently, under her leadership, and with funding from the NYC Department for the Aging (DFTA) and the Office of Victim Services (OVS), NYCEAC has developed an EMDT system for NYC’s five boroughs – and is co-developing, with OVS, the NYS Office for the Aging and Lifespan of Rochester, an EMDT network throughout NYS. She has inspired and led the effort to develop the Interview for Decisional Abilities (IDA), now utilized by APS offices in NYC, MA, and CA. NYCEAC recently launched the first dedicated Helpline for family, friends and neighbors in the lives of elder abuse victims and has conducted research on this underserved population. She is the co-author of the seminal book guiding interventions, Strategies for Helping Victims of Elder Mistreatment, and writes articles, educational materials and thought pieces for the elder justice field, including co-authoring the Elder Justice Roadmap Report, which affirms that elder abuse is indeed a problem with solutions.

This webinar is open to NAPSA members and nonmembers. 

There is no charge for this webinar. Sorry, CEUs are not available.


 After registering you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.

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