Skip to content

Tackling elder abuse

Neglect accounts for as many as 80 per­cent of the cases of elder mis­treat­ment, according to studies con­ducted in emer­gency rooms and pri­mary care set­tings by Terry Fulmer, dean of the Bouvé Col­lege of Health Sci­ences.

Fulmer — a nation­ally known expert in geri­atrics who was elected to the Insti­tute of Med­i­cine in 2010 — shared her research find­ings with more than two-​​dozen stu­dents, fac­ulty and staff at the semester’s first Fac­ulty Works-​​in-​​Progress Col­lo­quium Series on Monday in Meserve Hall. The series — which fea­tures inspi­ra­tional dis­cus­sions with Northeastern’s leading scholars and dis­tin­guished vis­i­tors — is spon­sored by the North­eastern Human­i­ties Center in con­junc­tion with the Dean’s Office in the Col­lege of Social Sci­ences and Human­i­ties.

Fulmer’s next research project will focus on inter­ven­tion strate­gies to reduce elder mis­treat­ment and neglect. “There is not an inter­ven­tion study going on in the United States right now and that’s a problem,” she said.

The best way to reduce cases of neglect, Fulmer noted, is through a com­bi­na­tion of empow­er­ment and self-​​management.

She plans to explore ways to help patients iden­tify neglect by asking them to con­sider what care they are not receiving — such as get­ting enough water or taking reg­ular trips to the restroom — and then cue them to remind their care­givers of these needs.

“You don’t want to catch it,” Fulmer explained. “You want to pre­vent it.”

Georges Van Den Abbeele, founding dean of the Col­lege of Social Sci­ences and Human­i­ties, wel­comed atten­dees to the lec­ture.  Fulmer, he said, “brings real exper­tise in ques­tions of health care for the elderly.”

For her part, Fulmer plans to col­lab­o­rate with fac­ulty in the human­i­ties and social sci­ences on future research projects. “There are so many nat­ural alliances when you think about the research that we do,” she said.

– by Lauren Dibble

More Stories

Photo of the Capitol Building at night

High stakes for politics, SCOTUS in 2018

Photo of the crashed truck that was used in the October 31st attack in Manhattan.

Weaponizing Language: How the meaning of “allahu akbar” has been distorted

Northeastern logo

Why I love studying Spanish