Category: NCEA Blog


    I was a star gazer growing up, looking up at the sky on clear nights, noticing the formations above me. In doing so, I was struck by the concept of “twin stars”, born in the same stellar nursery, flung out on their own into the galaxy, to remain apart but never far away. From my perspective, Bonnie Brandl and Risa Breckman are like twin stars, with common beginnings, but each shining in her own space, coming together at times, as binary pairs might, but always with unique perspectives and contributions to offer. What this has meant for the field of elder abuse is something bright and beautiful, and often transformative.

  • Scams That Come to Life After Death

    Two weeks before Thanksgiving, Ray Mendoza [i] was shopping at a local Target when he suddenly grew dizzy and lost consciousness. Paramedics took him to the hospital, where he remained comatose in intensive care for over two weeks. The 56-year-old married father of three girls had suffered back-to-back strokes and lost all brain function before succumbing to his injuries. In the days after Ray’s death, as the family mourned the monumental loss, they were compelled to navigate COVID-based restrictions on funeral services and interment delays. No doubt the pandemic had unwittingly disrupted the natural grieving process and observance of the religious traditions the family held dear. Yet, it was the

  • Name that Tune! – Integrating Music into Senior Fraud Education

    For those entrusted to engage older adult communities in safety awareness and education, the limitations set by COVID have presented providers with a multitude of challenges to carrying out their mission. Through various meetings and discussions with colleagues, it seems clear that these challenges are widespread throughout urban communities and rural communities alike. Adjusting outreach approaches, and learning by trial and error, has certainly been the case for our Elder Abuse Prevention Program covering Los Angeles County.   In the absence of in-person events, the challenges to online programming have been 3-fold. Seniors may lack the resources needed to acquire internet connection/devices, may lack familiarity with the technology used to facilitate

  • Elder Mistreatment on the Streets

    Through much of the past year, COVID-19 has unleashed unprecedented harms and exacerbated preexisting hardships for older adults worldwide. One particularly devastating effect of the contagion has been the descent of older adults at the economic margins into poverty and increased threat of homelessness. Prior to the pandemic, the aging homeless population in the United States was on the rise.[i] The coronavirus has placed them in an even more precarious position. Older adults who experience homelessness are projected to more than double by 2050.[ii] While many in the older cohort have lived on the streets for a generation and aged into chronic homelessness,[iii] a majority are now experiencing homelessness for

  • Finding Support in the Midst of a Tempest

    For most of us, the events of the past few months have infused our lives with a discomfiting sense of instability and uncertainty. Collectively, we are responding to pandemic-induced fear and loss, and confronting systemic racial injustice wrought from centuries of structural oppressions imposed on the African American community. On an individual level, each of us navigates our own personal trials. Yet, within the landscape of our various complicated lives, sometimes an incident can jog us out of our respective worlds and lend insight and meaning to the moment. Nearly four months ago, during the NCEA’s World Elder Abuse Awareness Day activities and “Lifting up Voices” campaign, Art Mason, Director

  • Supporting our Elder Community: COVID-19 and the Fight Against Loneliness

    Our grandmother lives in a bustling retirement community and, before COVID-19, she had a thriving social life. She often had visitors over to her apartment, loved to go to the gym with her friends, and took the bus to the supermarket every week. Because of her compromised immune system, when COVID-19 arose in March, her doctor told her that she needed to self-isolate. So, she stopped leaving her apartment and began calling her friends rather than seeing them in person, and following yoga routines on YouTube. While she kept busy, it was clear that she was getting lonely. Our grandmother is not alone. Since seniors with COVID-19 have higher hospitalization and mortality rates, many have

  • They Decided to Stay: Elder Abuse Shelters, Care Communities and Covid-19

    Fact Sheet - Elder Abuse Shelter: From Model to MovementDownload When abuse happens in private homes throughout the country older adults may choose to stay simply because they have nowhere to go where both their medical history and their trauma history can be simultaneously and holistically addressed. Equally potent is the fear that, once they leave home, they may not be able to get back safely.  A growing national movement seeks to address the needs of elder abuse victims by providing temporary shelter with intensive services. These shelter programs, including varied models of shelter, are part of a burgeoning community collective called the SPRiNG Alliance (Shelter Partners: Regional. National. Global.)

  • Without Rites of Passage, What Does the Future Hold for Young Adults and Their Older Counterparts?

    Rites of Passage Throughout our lives, we experience rites of passage to indicate the end of one phase of development and the beginning of the next. Our rites are now in limbo, due to the emergence of COVID-19. This ambiguity is enhanced and exasperated for younger adults. Rites of passage include three phases: separation, liminality, and incorporation. Separation: In 2020, as pandemic victims died, many unnecessarily, spring-break celebrations segued to semi-permanent separations; and students began defaulting on loans after losing jobs, income, and confidence. Liminality: In the midst of a humanitarian crisis, young adults stand at the threshold, unable to move forward when considering college and/or careers. The liminal phase

  • The Importance of Connectedness amid COVID-19

    Nearly one year ago, Sydney Miller received her undergraduate degree in nursing. The 24-year-old Los Angeles native had been a natural caregiver since childhood, showering attention on her younger siblings, helping her mother with chores, and devotedly tending to her aging grandparents. Becoming a nurse had been a dream since childhood. Her accelerated 15-month nursing program at New York University (NYU) entailed long hours of didactic instruction, clinical practice, and study. Though perfectly suited to the profession and expertly trained, she could not have prepared for the onslaught that lay ahead. For the past three months, she has labored tirelessly in the eye of the COVID-19 pandemic tending to hundreds

  • The Third Tamkin Symposium on Elder Abuse: Propelling the Field through Personal Connections, Research, and Practice

    By Lori Mars, JD March 26, 2020 It’s hard to believe with the proliferation of the COVID-19 pandemic wending its way across the globe and into our lives, that just three short weeks ago elder abuse researchers, practitioners, and advocates convened in a communal embrace at the Tamkin Symposium in Pasadena, California. As current health protocols mandate, today we are increasingly insulated from colleagues and community. Conference discussions that centered on the threat of social isolation have given way to social distancing in our new daily reality. Hopefully, we will return to normalcy in the months ahead. And, while coronavirus and elder mistreatment are disparate in form, transmission, and impact,



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Special Thanks to Judith D. Tamkin

We are sincerely appreciative to Judith D. Tamkin for her gift to help establish the USC Center on Elder Mistreatment’s website. Her deep and personal commitment to eradicating elder abuse is helping to reshape our understanding of elder abuse and ultimately save innumerable older adults from abuse and neglect.