Elder abuse tool leads to award

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Creating ways to identify older adults at risk for financial exploitation has led Peter Lichtenberg, Ph.D., director of the Institute of Gerontology at Wayne State University, to win the Judge Edward Sosnick Courage to Lead Award.  The Michigan-centric award is presented annually by the Oakland County SAVE (Serving Adults who are Vulnerable and/or Elderly) Task Force.

Lichtenberg created a set of scales and assessments to measure a person's ability to make sound, rational financial decisions and/or his or her risk of being subject to undue influence. Initial studies confirm that the Lichtenberg Financial Decision-Making Screening and Rating Scales reliably profile an older adult's vulnerability to exploitation and ability to make significant financial decisions, according to Wayne State University.

“Implementation of the Lichtenberg rating and screening scales will further identify those at risk of financial exploitation, making us better able to stop the abuse at an early stage,”  James Alexander, SAVE co-chair and Oakland County Circuit Court judge, said in a statement.

Lichtenberg's work is supported by a $468,000 grant from the National Institute of Justice to validate the screenings and refine methods for wide-scale distribution of the assessment tools across multiple professions.

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