Among our greatest challenges as a nation
today is making America a safe place
to grow old
.”  — Lisa Nerenberg


Areas of Interest

Cultural issues in elder abuse

Culture refers to the experiences, values, language, and customs shared by people of the same ethnicity, race, or background. Cultural groups’ experiences and attitudes are also shaped by immigration, acculturation, racism, economic hurdles, and historical factors. These factors all impact family life and determine members’ roles, relationships, and expectations.

Elder abuse, according to some, reflects the breakdown of traditional values, roles, and relationships within cultural communities. Reversing these trends by reinforcing cultural strengths and traditions, acknowledging the economic and social factors that contribute to abuse, and building on the strengths of families and communities is the goal of culturally specific outreach programs. Selected activities in this area include:

  • Developed, with Dave Baldridge and William Benson, a comprehensive report and recommendations for tribal initiatives in elder abuse for the National Indian Council on Aging and the National Center on Elder Abuse (2002-2003), Preventing and responding to abuse of elders in Indian country. [PDF: 306kb]
  • Facilitated a summit on elder abuse in the Hispanic community for the National Hispanic Council on Aging (2002).
  • Provided staff support to WE ARE FAMILY, a program of outreach to African American victims in San Francisco for nine years.


  • A Review of the Literature: Elder abuse in Indian country research, policy, and practice. [PDF: 190kb] Coauthored with Dave Baldridge and William Benson
  • Culturally specific outreach in elder abuse. In Tatara (Ed.) "Understanding elder abuse in minority populations." Philadelphia: Taylor & Francis.
  • WE ARE FAMILY, Outreach to African American Seniors. In "Journal of elder abuse & neglect." 5(4). Co-authored with Malene Njeri.
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For more on promising practices and developments in the field, visit my blog, Prevent Elder Abuse.
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