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Grants to support UCI elder abuse prevention efforts

Orange, Calif., March 15, 2011 UC Irvine's Center of Excellence on Elder Abuse & Neglect has received a pair of two-year grants that will allow the university to continue its innovative work in elder abuse prevention.

The first grant, $350,000 from the Long Beach-based Archstone Foundation, will fund efforts to provide much-needed direct clinical services to elder abuse victims in Orange County and offer technical assistance to those who work with elder abuse victims statewide, including law enforcement officials, judges, social workers and healthcare professionals.

The second grant, $480,000 from the Los Angeles-based UniHealth Foundation, will fund increased access to medical and psychological evaluations for elder abuse victims, provide training on elder abuse detection and intervention, create a public awareness campaign on elder abuse prevention, and enhance coordination among the several agencies that serve elder abuse victims in Orange County.

"We're excited to continue our efforts to promote aging with dignity; no one should grow old with the horror of being abused or neglected," said Dr. Laura Mosqueda, director of UCI's geriatrics program, interim chair and professor of family medicine and Ronald Reagan Chair in Geriatrics. "By offering direct medical and forensic evaluations, technical assistance and education, as well as conducting research, the Center of Excellence makes an impact on both the local and national scale."

Nearly 2 million older Americans are abused each year, according to the National Center on Elder Abuse. Orange County's law enforcement and social services agencies receive more than 8,000 reports annually.

"These cases are just the tip of the iceberg," Mosqueda said. "For each incident reported, at least five more go unreported."

Since 2000, UCI and supporters like the Archstone Foundation and UniHealth Foundation have developed a range of projects to improve conditions for senior citizens, several of which are the first in the nation:

  • The Orange County Vulnerable Adult Specialist Team consists of geriatricians and neuropsychologists who provide in-home evaluation of seniors suspected of being abused.

  • The Elder Abuse Forensic Center brings together legal, medical, social services and law enforcement experts to better understand, identify and treat elder abuse; help prevent it; and determine more efficient ways of successfully prosecuting cases.

  • The Center of Excellence on Elder Abuse & Neglect offers medical, forensic and victim services to abused and neglected seniors, as well as training, research and technical assistance to law enforcement and social services agencies statewide.

  • The Elder Abuse Training Institute is devoted to educating legal, medical, social services, law enforcement and government personnel about all aspects of elder abuse.

Mosqueda noted that numerous community partners helped secure the two grants, including the Orange County Social Services Agency, the Office of the District Attorney, the Council on Aging's Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program, the Orange County Sheriff's Department, the Anaheim Family Justice Center and CalOptima's Aging & Disability Resource Connection.


Contact: John Murray
University of California - Irvine

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