UCI wins $1 million federal grant to fight elder abuse of those with dementia

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The University of California, Irvine has won a $1 million federal grant to test a program designed to combat elder abuse.

The award is one of five the U.S. Health & Human Services Department's Administration on Aging has awarded as part of a new federal pilot program to promote neighborhood-based elder abuse prevention practices.

The university's grant will go toward testing its program called "Take AIM Against Elder Abuse." It's designed to prevent mistreatment of people with dementia.

"Adults with dementia are particularly vulnerable to abuse," Dr. Laura Mosqueda, chair of UC Irvine's Department of Family Medicine, director of its geriatrics program and Ronald Reagan Chair in Geriatrics said in a university press release about the grant. "The sad fact is that about one of every two people with dementia is abused or neglected. With our rapidly aging population, combined with the fact that one of every two people over 85 is diagnosed with dementia, this impacts a huge number of individuals and those who love them."

The grant, Mosqueda said, allows the university to "develop and evaluate a new model to reduce the risk of elder abuse."

UC Irvine will test the program in partnership with the California Department of Aging, the California Department of Social Services, the Legal Aid Society of Orange County and the Orange County Elder Abuse Forensic Center.