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MSU Researchers, Local Police Studying Elder Abuse

Christopher Maxwell and Carolyn Pickering

Michigan State University professors and the Lansing Police Department are working together on a research project that addresses elder abuse and neglect in the area.

Led by Carolyn Pickering, an assistant professor in the College of Nursing, and Christopher Maxwell, a professor in the School of Criminal Justice, the study will assess healthcare and service needs of senior citizens and law enforcement responses to elder abuse cases.

Pickering has developed numerous elder abuse and neglect prevention programs, while Maxwell has spent years studying the criminal justice system’s response to domestic violence.

The incidents of elder abuse and neglect are a concern for both the police department and the Lansing community. This form of abuse not only seriously affects the health and wellbeing of vulnerable older adults, but it can also strain ties among family and community members and trust with police.

“Abuse, if not identified early and responded to properly, can destroy the trust between the community and police,” Pickering said.

Both MSU and LPD officials will contact older adults and their family members by mail, who have been a victim of elder abuse or neglect in the past, and ask them to take part in the study. Up to 60 people can participate and will be asked to complete an in-person, one to two-hour interview.

“With older adults remaining in their homes as they age, it’s important to ensure that community and social support services, such as the criminal justice system, are able to meet the needs of the growing older adult population,” Pickering said. “This project is another step in helping the Lansing Police Department to identify how to assist older adults in the community.”

For more information, email pickres@msu.edu.

– Jill Vondrasek, Sarina Gleason via MSU Today

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