Actor Mickey Rooney Testifies Before Aging Committee
on Elder Abuse He Has Endured
Called on committee of senators to stop the abuse
‘Now;’ urges support of bills being introduced by Sen. Herb Kohl,
committee chair: watch video of testimony
Actor Mickey Rooney, 90, tells
Senate Aging Committee of Elder Abuse he endured. (Click
to watch video)
March 2, 2011 – Legendary
movie actor Mickey Rooney, now 90, gave riveting testimony before the
Senate’s Special Committee on Aging today as he described the elder
abuse that has happened to him. The World War II veteran said he was
“stripped of the ability to make even the most basic decisions.”
Senator Herb Kohl, committee
chair, called the hearing to explore the nationwide trends of abuse,
neglect and financial exploitation of seniors with leading experts from
across the country.
Rooney testified to the
emotional and financial abuse that he has struggled through in recent
years to a packed hearing room. (Link to video of testimony below news
“I was financially exploited
and denied access to information of any kind as to how my finances were
managed…” Rooney said.
“I persisted in sharing with
others the abuse I have suffered, and am now taking steps to right all
the wrongs that were committed against me.”
Kohl opened the hearing
noting, “the physical, mental and financial abuse of our nation’s
seniors is all too common.”
In 2009 in Kohl’s home state
of Wisconsin, over 5,000 cases of suspected abuse, neglect, or financial
exploitation were reported – an almost 9 percent increase over 2008.
“These crimes are being
committed by people because their victims are often fragile and their
chance of getting caught is slim,” Kohl said.
Kay Brown, Director of the
Government Accountability Office’s Education, Workforce and Income
Security program, presented a
GAO report released
at the hearing, detailing the existing estimates of elder abuse cases
finally being reported to authorities.
“A 2009 study estimated that
14.1 percent of non-institutionalized older adults nationwide had
experienced some form of elder abuse in the past year,” Brown said. “In
all likelihood, this underestimated the full extent of elder abuse,
however, because older adults who are highly cognitively impaired may be
underrepresented in this study.”
Mark Lachs, MD, MPH, Professor
of Medicine and Co-Chief of the Division of Geriatrics and Gerontology
at Weill Medical College, unveiled a statewide study of elder abuse in
New York recently completed by a collaborative team from Cornell
University, the New York City Department for the Aging, and Lifespan of
“Based on our research it
would appear that for every elder abuse victim that makes it into an
official service or reporting system, another 23 to 24 go undetected,”
Kohl urged Committee members
in attendance to help pass legislation to improve federal, state and
local agency cooperation in fighting elder abuse.
He noted that later that day
he would reintroduce his “Elder Abuse Victims Act,” a measure that is
strongly endorsed by the Elder Justice Coalition. The bill establishes
an Office of Elder Justice within the Department of Justice and
strengthens the coordinated law enforcement response to cases of elder
abuse. Kohl will also introduce the “End Abuse in Later Life Act of
2011,” which addresses domestic abuse in later life and is designed to
be included as part of the Violence Against Women Act reauthorization
later this year.
Click on Panel
Names to Read Testimony
Actor, entertainment legend, elder abuse victim and advocate, Los
Director, Education, Workforce and Income Security, Government
Accountability Office, Washington, DC
Elder Justice: Stronger Federal Leadership Could Enhance National
Response to Elder Abuse
Executive Director, National Adult Protective Services Association (NAPSA),
Director, of Geriatrics, New York Presbyterian Health System, Co-Chief,
Division of Geriatric Medicine and Gerontology, Weill Medical College of
Cornell University, New York, NY
Director, National Clearinghouse on Abuse in Later Life (NCALL) a
project of the Wisconsin Coalition Against Domestic Violence, Superior,
Connolly, Director, Life Long Justice (LLJ) (an initiative of
Appleseed), and Senior Scholar, Woodrow Wilson International Center for
Scholars, Washington, DC
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