As an actor, Mickey Rooney was a success even at an early age. But that fame didn’t protect him from being taken advantage of in his old age, as a family member exploited him financially. Now, Rooney has broken his silence to speak out against elder abuse.
Via The Hill:
“If elder abuse happened to me, Mickey Rooney, it can happen to anyone.”
With this statement last week before the Senate Special Committee on Aging, 90-year old entertainment legend Mickey Rooney focused the nation’s attention on a growing problem that long has remained invisible.
We’ve spent countless billions to extend how long we live, but many fewer resources to ensure safety and well-being in the time we’ve gained. Our failure to address the problem means that millions of our parents and grandparents are paying the price in the form of physical, sexual and psychological abuse, neglect, abandonment, and financial exploitation.
Elder abuse occurs in nursing homes, assisted living facilities, other care settings, and, most often, at home. And it’s deadly, leading to a 300% increase in premature death.
Rooney alleges that his step-son and wife withheld food and medication, isolated and verbally abused him, and controlled his life and assets. Neither fame nor fortune protected him from a fate that befalls untold millions of others.
David Perecman, an elder abuse lawyer, applauded Rooney for his testimony.
“Elder abuse is a genuine problem. The elderly are a particularly vulnerable group and putting a spotlight on this issue, and giving it a human face, may make a real difference in the daily lives of a very vulnerable population,” said Perecman.
“Elder abuse can happen in all kinds of households, poor, middle class, and upper-income; it crosses ethnic lines and demographics. Now we can see it can happen to celebrities,” said the New York civil rights violation lawyer.
The statistics on elder abuse is frightening. Nearly 8 percent of those over 60 who were contacted by phone said they had experienced some form of abuse, according to The Hill. Those are just the ones who would or even could admit the problem. And nearly half of those who suffer from Alzheimer’s or other dementia are believed to be abused by their caregivers.