This foundation, located in Long Beach, California, focuses its grant making on older people. Its funding priorities are fall prevention, elder abuse and neglect, and end-of-life issues. In addition, Archstone also makes grants for “emerging and unmet needs within the field of aging.” The funder’s website notes that it accords highest priority to grant proposals pertaining to Southern California.

“Elder abuse is a devastating but often overlooked problem in our society,” according to a University of Southern California (USC), Leonard Davis School of Gerontology, news article. Writer Jonathan Riggs mentions long-time actor Mickey Rooney’s testimony before a congressional committee on this subject; Rooney was a victim of such abuse, Riggs says in the June article.

The Affordable Care Act of 2010 defines such abuse as “the knowing infliction of physical or psychological harm or the knowing deprivation of goods or services that are necessary to meet essential needs or to avoid physical or psychological harm.” (See Subtitle H—Elder Justice Act in the lengthy law!)

Citing the research of others, USC Mary Pickford Foundation Professor of Gerontology Kate Wilber says in the USC article that more than one in seven older adults is a victim of elder abuse each year. According to a summary of interventions that have been used to prevent such abuse, there is “little evidence” that “most efforts to prevent or address abuse work,” she noted.

The article announces that the Archstone Foundation recently awarded $200,000 in funding for Wilber and colleagues at the Davis School. They will use the money to determine whether the forensic center model is effective at preventing abuse and to do a cross-site evaluation of how effective California’s four elder abuse forensic centers (in Los Angeles County, Orange County, San Diego, and San Francisco) are.

Elder abuse forensic centers use a multidisciplinary team of professionals (including medical and mental health professionals, lawyers, and ombudsmen) who comprehensively examine alleged cases of abuse and consult on and prosecute cases of abuse of the elderly and of other dependent adults, according to the Los Angeles County center.

The Davis School evaluation, which is also using some funding from the National Institute of Justice, will compare and contrast the four centers and disseminate the lessons that the centers have learned.

This funding is part of a larger $350,000 grant that Archstone awarded to USC’s Keck School of Medicine in late 2010.

The forensic center evaluation is relevant to policy, as the Affordable Care Act (ACA) includes a provision called the Elder Justice Act of 2009, which aims to prevent elder abuse. The ACA embraces the forensic center model and has authorized $26 million in federal funding for such centers. Evaluation results will be helpful to communities interested in replicating this model in response to the Elder Justice Act, the USC Keck School’s proposal to the Archstone Foundation noted.

Jim Toedtman in the April 1 issue of the AARP Bulletin reported that the federal government has had a bigger role in preventing, investigating, and resolving elder abuse since the 2010 enactment of the Elder Justice Act. However, Toedtman also said that the federal response to elder abuse had been “fragmented” and that state agencies had been “swamped” with the increasing number and greater complexity of elder abuse cases as the U.S. population lives longer.

Related resources:

Institute of Medicine (IOM), Workshop on the Social and Economic Costs of Violence: The Value of Prevention,” April 28–29, Washington, D.C. XinQi Dong spoke at this workshop about U.S. policies, legislation, and programs on elder abuse. Dong is a senior policy and research adviser to the federal Administration on Aging, as well as associate director at the Institute for Healthy Aging, and an associate professor of medicine, both at Rush University Medical Center (in Chicago). (Title was current as of time of the workshop.) The workshop was part of the IOM’s Forum on Global Violence Prevention; funders of that forum include the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Fetzer Institute (an operating foundation that does not accept unsolicited proposals), Kaiser Permanente, and many others.

“Shining a Light on Elder Abuse and Neglect,” Chris Langston, December 2, 2010, on the John A. Hartford Foundation’s HealthAGEnda Blog. Langston discusses the elder abuse prevention work of Terry Fulmer, who is Erline Perkins McGriff Professor and dean of the College of Nursing at the College of Dentistry at New York University, and XinQi Dong (the physician mentioned above). Fulmer and Dong have received funding from the Hartford Foundation.