Mickey Rooney Tells Congress About Abuse, Shines Light on Dignity Issues

Posted on March 24, 2011 by Suzanne Gregory

By Tim Dutton, Executive Director of SCOPE

By now, many people have heard about Mickey Rooney’s testimony to a congressional panel about elder abuse. Mr. Rooney related his experiences of financial and personal abuse at the hands of his son-in-law.

One of the messages that Mr. Rooney makes clear is that if this can happen to him, it can happen to anyone. In fact, data about elder abuse bears that out.

The New York City Department on Aging and Lifespan of Greater Rochester interviewed 4,000 older adults. They heard that one in 13 had experienced some form of mistreatment within the past year.  The most common was financial exploitation followed by physical abuse. The researchers concluded, however, that for every case that is found, there are 23 that are not.

The implications are big.  A 2002 study estimated that people victimized in this way are four times more likely than non-elder abuse victims to be placed in a nursing home. This is a public policy concern with serious quality of life and economic impact.

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