The purpose of this special review article is to provide a status report of activities related to elder abuse ten years after its” discovery” and to propose an agenda for the medical profession in the decade ahead.
The progress that has occurred over the past ten years in bringing the problem of elder abuse and neglect to the attention of the public, professionals and politicians has taken place, by and large, without the involvement of the medical profession. Although there is still a great deal that is unknown about why family members mistreat their elderly relatives and what can be done to prevent it, there have been a number of achievements. The efforts of the past decade, limited as they have been, have provided insight into the nature of familial and marital relationships in later life; have brought together social services law enforcement personnel, health care providers, mental health professionals, legal services, domestic violence groups, and protective services to discuss common problems; and have led to the creation of new intracommunity agency structures for dealing with multi-troubled families. With a commitment from the public and private sectors, including the medical profession, the next decade can bring greater progress in the understanding and prevention of this human ill.