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Building Late-Life Resilience to Prevent Elder Abuse A Randomized Controlled Pilot Study of the EMPOWER Program

NCJ Number
Jennifer Yahner; Jeanette Hussemann; Erica Henderson
Date Published
January 2021
22 pages

The purpose of this demonstration project was to implement and evaluate an elder abuse prevention program that focused on developing the resilience of older adults living in a community.



“Resilience” is defined as “the strength and protective factors necessary to respond to and overcome adversity, including the adaptations needed to support safe and healthy aging.” The program evaluated is entitled EMPOWER, whose goal is to strengthen older adults’ knowledge and awareness of community resources and social supports, attitudes toward and motivation to adapt to age-related changes, and life skills and behaviors that facilitate self-empowerment throughout the aging process. This pilot study’s timeline, activities, and outcomes are presented in this report. Implemented in Maricopa County, Arizona, the EMPOWER: Building Late-Life Resilience program is a 12-week in-home intervention that consists of 1-hour weekly visits designed to empower community-residing older adults with the resiliency and resources to lead safe and healthy lives throughout the aging process. The program has eight modules, with each culminating in an action plan focused on strengthening a client’s internal assets and identifying sources of positive social support. Of the 182 participants in the evaluation of EMPOWER, 94 were randomly assigned to receive EMPOWER and 88 were assigned to the control group. About 80 percent of participants identified as female. Participants’ ages ranged from 60 to 96, averaging age 73. Despite identified difficulties in implementing EMPOWER, there were several statistically significant treatment effects on the late-life resilience outcomes intended. It is recommended for replication in diverse communities for larger samples of older adults.  2 tables and 1 figure