Mistreated older adults with dementia in the home: practitioner experience and unattainable professional agency

Jeannette Lindenbach, Sylvie Larocque, Debra, G. Morgan, Kristen Jacklin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


The experience of practitioners who encounter mistreatment of an older adult with dementia by a caregiver in the home has received little attention in the literature. A critical research methodology aimed to understand the experience of professional agency, the ability to control outcomes and act in a meaningful way, of health and social service practitioners when encountering these cases in the home. Fifty-one practitioners from urban, rural and Northeastern communities in Ontario participated in semi-structured interviews, reflective journals, as well as focus group discussions. Theoretical thematic analysis of data led to the discovery of five themes: weathering the storm to realization; cognitive uncertainty; emotional upheaval; one’s inability to resolve the mistreatment; and the double-edge sword of self-reflection. Understanding this experience is an essential step toward improving practice and policy, and achieving positive outcomes for the mistreated older adult with dementia and their caregiver within the home.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)373-401
Number of pages29
JournalJournal of Elder Abuse and Neglect
Issue number4-5
StatePublished - Oct 20 2019

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by the Ontario Trillium Foundation [SD93230].

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019, © 2019 Taylor & Francis.


  • Older adult mistreatment
  • critical social theory
  • dementia
  • elder abuse
  • professional agency


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