What happens when an elderly couple, on the verge of losing their independence, opens their door to a young homeless couple? Mutually sharing what they know and have seems the right thing to do. Young and old can always benefit this way… so long as each heart desires it.
That's the theme of the critically acclaimed play, "Heart Desires," that Emmy Award winning actor and activist Ed Asner will be performing in a staged reading on Wednesday, April 21 at The Colony Theater in Burbank at 7 p.m. This one night only event will support the Los Angeles County Elder Abuse Center (LACEAFC), a VIP partner, and the groundbreaking work it does on behalf of elder abuse victims around the Southern California area.
The Forensic Center works every day with people like, Dorothy, 88, who was in trouble. In the six years since she was widowed she had become increasingly impaired. She almost burned her house down cooking; she got lost easily; and had periods of hallucinations. She had a caregiver, but that caregiver stole hundreds of thousands of dollars from her and neglected to pay her homeowner’s association dues. The caregiver was investigated and arrested, but the charges were dropped due to the lack of a professional medical or neuropsychological evaluation of the client’s capacity to make financial decisions. Three years later, the same person again swindled hundreds of thousands of dollars from Dorothy and racked up thousands of dollars in debt in her name.
Dorothy’s case is just one example of the over 25,000 reports of elder abuse made in Los Angeles alone. The Los Angeles County Elder Abuse Forensic Center brings together professionals from multiple disciplines to help these victims as a team - a geriatrician; neuropsychologist; District Attorney; City Attorney; law enforcement; Adult Protective Services; GENESIS mental health services; Office of the Public Guardian, victim advocates; Bet Tzedek Legal Services; and the Long-Term Care Ombudsman. The team provides expert and comprehensive case examination, documentation and consultation. As Forensic Center Director, Dr. Diana Schneider, explains this collaborative approach is not only providing victims with better care but also invigorating all of the members of the team. “The networking has made it so much easier to protect elders,” Schneider says.
In the four years since its launch, the Forensic Center has reviewed over 450 cases of elder and dependent adult abuse, and 36 cases have been successfully prosecuted through the District Attorney’s Office. The Forensic Center is currently working on Dorothy’s case trying to ensure her health and safety and protect her from further financial abuse.
The Forensic Center is a nonprofit entity that provides all services free of charge, so it needs support in order to continue to provide evaluations and interventions like the one given to Dorothy in order to reach more elders and dependent adults in need. “Heart Desires” was penned by Christine Rosensteel, a local playwright with a Master of Professional Writing degree from the of Southern California. “Heart Desires” was first produced at the Fremont Centre Theatre in South Pasadena to wonderful reviews, and VIP and LACEAFC are thrilled to be bringing it to life again for one night only. Ms. Rosensteel studied playwriting at Yale University and Pembroke College of Cambridge University, England. She is a Program Planner for Los Angeles County Adult Protective Services and a member of the LACEAFC Team.
Tickets are on sale now! Showtime is 7 pm. with a reception to follow. General Admission seating is $25. The Colony Theater is located at 555 North Third Street, Burbank, CA 91502. To purchase tickets, call VIP at (323) 226-2097, or email Erica Blodgett at
For more information about the Los Angeles County Elder Abuse Forensic Center, visit their website or call (323) 226-1470.