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By Dr. Sander Hitzig


The National Initiative for the Care of the Elderly (NICE; is an international network of researchers, practitioners and students dedicated to improving the care of older adults, both in Canada and abroad.  NICE works to addresses the core challenges of aging, including informal caregiving, financial literacy, dementia care, end-of-life issues, ethnicity and aging, dental care, mental health, the law and aging, and elder abuse. One way NICE works to accomplish this goal is through the development of paper and digital tools to help older adults and their families, practitioners and policy-makers learn what they can do to address these issues.  In the area of elder abuse, there are tools available on how to define and screen for elder abuse (e.g., Defining and Measuring Elder Abuse [DMEA], Caregiving Abuse Screen [CASE], Elder Abuse Suspicion Index [EASI]), and what steps can be taken to address this serious social issue (e.g., Being Least Intrusive [BLI], IN HAND). 

NICE has been distributing these tools since 2006 but no formal evaluation has been conducted on who is using these tools, how they are being used, and whether they are having an impact on the physical, mental, and social-wellbeing of older adults.  To address this issue, Dr. Lynn McDonald (Professor at the Factor-Inwentash Faculty of Social Work, University of Toronto & Scientific Director at NICE) is leading a two-million dollar Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC)-funded partnership grant to run a series of studies across Canada to better understand how the tools are being used and to determine the optimal ways of delivering this information to those who need it most. Dr. McDonald is accomplishing this by working with researchers across the country and abroad, and she has partnered with several leading organizations doing work in the field of elder abuse, including the Canadian Network for the Prevention of Elder Abuse (CNPEA), the Canadian Centre for Elder Law (CCEL), the International Federation on Ageing (IFA), and the International Network for the Prevention of Elder Abuse (INPEA).

The outcomes of this project will lead to improved tools on addressing elder abuse (and other topics related to better aging as well), and will provide strategies and resources to make accessing and using these tools easier.  Preliminary findings from this work will be available in Spring 2016, so please stay tuned.

To learn more about this project, please visit: or email the project manager, Dr. Sander Hitzig at:


HitzigDr. Sander Hitzig is a Senior Research Associate at the University of Toronto (Institute for Life Course & Aging) where he is currently serving as the Project Manager for a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) Partnership grant entitled “Engaged Scholarship: Evaluation of Knowledge Mobilization for Older Adults in the Community” (Principal Investigator: Dr. Lynn McDonald).  This project is designed to evaluate the usage and uptake of evidence-based pocket tools put out by the National Initiative for the Care of the Elderly (NICE) that address the core challenges of aging (  Dr. Hitzig holds a PhD in developmental and cognitive psychology, and has over 12 years of experience working in the field of health, where he has participated in a number of research, education and clinical initiatives in the fields of aging and rehabilitation.


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