Date of Award

Spring 5-7-2011

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Public Health (MPH)


Public Health

First Advisor

Dr. Sheryl Strasser

Second Advisor

Mrs. Patricia King


Elder abuse has traditionally been a silent social issue in America. However, with an estimated increase in the older population over the next 50 years, and given the preventable nature of violence, it is quickly becoming a major public health priority area. Each year hundreds of thousands of elderly are abused, neglected, or exploited financially worldwide. In the United States alone, it is estimated that 500,000 cases of elder abuse occur annually—with research indicating that substantiated cases are a mere underreport of the true problem. The US federal government has appointed State Units on Aging to address elder abuse. Georgia’s Division of Aging Services (DAS) is located within the Department of Human Services and administers various services to elderly including advocating for their safety and well being. DAS carries out its work through locally appointed Area Agencies on Aging (AAA). While AAAs serves as a first point of entry for elderly population locally, their involvement in reporting and intervening in elder abuse cases has been limited. The purpose of this capstone project is to examine the AAAs’ stage of readiness to address elder abuse using the Community Readiness Model, developed by researchers at the University of Colorado. Telephone administered surveys were completed with 7 out of the 12 Georgia AAAs. Through a double rater review process, transcripts were coded according to diverse constructs of the Community Readiness Model and ultimately a readiness score was produced. The Community Readiness Score provides insight into evidence-based strategies that can be implemented in order to advance elder abuse intervention and prevention within the AAA communities. The findings from this study provide insights into cost-efficient, tailored strategies that can maximize the use of DAS funding for AAA elder abuse case response and service delivery.


Included in

Public Health Commons