Dr. Veronica LoFaso, Roland Balay Clinical Scholar and Wright Center physician, is on the front lines in the fight against elder abuse, which is thought to be experienced by as many as 1 in 6 older adults. She has engaged in important work identifying and cataloging bruising patterns in physical abuse victims in partnership with experienced research colleagues. She also works closely with elder justice professionals in cases of criminal neglect. Dr. LoFaso also serves as the Medical Director on expert teams convened by the New York City Elder Abuse Center, a program run out of the NYP/WCM Division of Geriatrics. These teams meet twice a month in Manhattan and Brooklyn to develop action plans to intervene when elder abuse has been detected. Teams are comprised of representatives from a wide variety of city agencies including Adult Protective Services, JASA and the District Attorney’s office. The recent addition of a forensic accountant has helped teams recognize and assist with cases of financial abuse. Weill Cornell geriatric psychiatrist Dr. Bob Abrams provides further insight into an abuser’s mental status, and additional ways to support victims. The teams have been highly effective in intervening in cases of elder abuse, but many victims still remain in the shadows.
This is why NYC’s Department for the Aging recently funded a city-wide expansion to bring these expert teams into all five boroughs. According to Dr. LoFaso, “When you look at the statistics, it can be disheartening to know how many people are out there whose suffering remains under the radar. I am honored to be a part of these teams that work with the community to identify elder abuse and intervene to restore dignity and quality of life.”