Millions of senior citizens are abused each year in the U.S., and most cases are never reported. To draw attention to this, UC Irvine’s Program in Geriatrics and other local organizations will mark World Elder Abuse Awareness Day with a free event at the Anaheim Family Justice Center from 11 a.m. to noon Tuesday, June 15.

“Elder abuse can be financial, physical, emotional and sexual, and it also includes neglect,” said Dr. Laura Mosqueda, director of UC Irvine’s renowned geriatrics program. “Fortunately, elder abuse is preventable, but prevention requires education and public awareness of the warning signs.”

Intended for professionals who work with victims of abuse, older adults and interested community members, the event will feature Associate U.S. Attorney General Thomas Perrelli; judge Susan Carbon, who heads the federal Office on Violence Against Women; and Mary Twomey, co-director of UC Irvine’s Center of Excellence on Elder Abuse & Neglect.

“Our goal is to raise awareness of elder abuse, neglect and exploitation and the local, statewide and national responses to the problem,” said Twomey.

UC Irvine’s Program in Geriatrics and Center of Excellence on Elder Abuse & Neglect lead the country in geriatric research, training and services. Achievements include:

  • The creation of the multidisciplinary Elder Abuse Forensic Center, which brings together law enforcement officials, social workers and clinicians to improve investigation and prosecution of cases;
  • The publication of a series of landmark studies on bruising and elder abuse that have changed law enforcement’s approach to cases of suspected elder abuse; and
  • The compilation of “Geriatric Pocket Doc,” a comprehensive guide to common geriatric disorders and medications meant as a resource for those who come in routine contact with older adults.

The Anaheim Family Justice Center is at 150 W. Vermont Ave.

About UC Irvine’s Program in Geriatrics: Providing primary and specialized care for older adults, UC Irvine’s Program in Geriatrics has been designated one of the nation’s top 50 geriatrics programs by U.S. News & World Report in 2004, 2007 and 2008. It includes geriatricians, neurologists, rheumatologists, physiatrists, geropsychologists, nurses, social workers, occupational therapists, dieticians, pharmacists and others. Care is provided at UC Irvine Medical Center’s SeniorHealth Center in Orange, long-term facilities in the community, and private homes. In 2003, the Program in Geriatrics partnered with Orange County social services and law enforcement agencies to establish the world’s first Elder Abuse Forensic Center to improve investigation and prosecution of elder abuse cases, in collaboration with medical and criminal justice experts.

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