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UCI receives $1 million federal grant to combat elder abuse

The funds will go toward a new pilot program to prevent abuse of people with dementia

by Gabriel CortésPublished: October 15, 2012 09:45 AM

The University of California, Irvine has received a $1 million federal grant for a test program aimed at combating abuse against elderly individuals with dementia. The grant comes from the U.S. Administration on Aging as part of a federal initiative that seeks to test new, community-based tactics for the prevention of elder abuse. The grant will be dispersed over the course of three years, and UCI’s Program in Geriatrics will use the funding to implement its “Take AIM Against Elder Abuse” program.

The university is one of five institutions that will receive grants under the new federal initiative. U.S. Secretary of Health & Human Services Kathleen Sebelius made the announcement at a meeting of the Elder Justice Coordinating Council in Washington, D.C. on Oct. 10. Dr. Laura Mosqueda, chair of UC Irvine's Department of Family Medicine and director of its geriatrics program, testified before the council.

“Adults with dementia are particularly vulnerable to abuse,” Dr. Mosqueda said. “The sad fact is that about one of every two people with dementia is abused or neglected. This grant allows us to develop and evaluate a new model to reduce the risk of elder abuse.”

The number of older Americans is increasing rapidly, and the Administration on Aging estimates that by 2030, nearly one in five Americans will be over the age of 65. As they age, these individuals become increasingly susceptible to mental illness, and, according to Dr. Mosqueda, “one of every two people over 85 is diagnosed with dementia.”

UCI’s Program in Geriatrics is nationally ranked and the home of the Center of Excellence on Elder Abuse and Neglect. The center strives to find innovative approaches to eliminate the abuse, neglect, mistreatment and exploitation of seniors.

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