Mickey Rooney appeared before the Senate Special Committee on Aging this past Wednesday to discuss his personal experience dealing with elder abuse. Rooney, who has appeared in such films as National Velvet and The Black Stallion, pleaded for the committee to enact stricter legislation to protect victims of elder abuse.
Rooney detailed his horrors of emotional, psychological, and financial abuse at the hands of his stepchildren for the committee. He also described the difficulty that he and many other seniors face coming forward to seek help and protection from abuse. With stricter legislation, perhaps seniors would feel more inclined to speak despite the fear of reprisal from their abusers.
Putting a recognizable face to the isse of elder abuse may also help seniors who fear the repurcussions of confronting abusers. Hopefully Rooney’s impassioned address will lead to increased coverage of these disturbing situations. Perhaps Congress has taken Rooney’s words to heart–after the committee session, Senator Herb Kohl, Democrat from Wisconsin and committee chairman, introduced a bill that would create a subdivision within the Department of Justice specifically targeted to deal with elder abuse. This is a good first step by the Legislature, one that hopefully will lead to more coverage and recognition of the widespread social consequences of elder abuse.
Website Resource: Mickey Rooney tells Senate panel he was a victim of elder abuse CNN, Tom Cohen, March 2, 2011