Mickey Rooney Tells Senate Of Years Of Elderly Abuse

Conn. Sen. Blumenthal Lauds Legendary Actor For Bravery

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — There was gut-wrenching testimony Wednesday from long-time actor Mickey Rooney — the victim of what he said was terrible elder abuse.

He wants federal laws to protect millions of elderly Americans who share his predicament, reports CBS 2’s Marcia Kramer.

At 90, the Rooney is used to applause, but his stage was a new one on Wednesday — a Senate hearing on elderly abuse — where he was the star witness.

“Over the course of time, my daily life became … my daily life became unbearable,” Rooney said. “I felt trapped, scared, used, frustrated and overall when a man feels helpless it’s terrible.”

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The actor, who began his career at age 2 and has walked red carpet after red carpet and even met the queen of England, told the lawmakers at the hearing about the verbal, emotional and financial abuse he endured at the hands of his stepson, Chris Aber, and his step-daughter. He said they denied him such basic necessities as food and medicine.

“For years I suffered silently. I didn’t want to tell anybody. I couldn’t muster the courage and you have to have courage to … I need help,” Rooney said. “Even when I tried to speak up I was told to shut up and be quiet, you don’t know what you’re talking about.

“It seemed no one, no one wanted to believe me.”

Rooney finally filed suit against his step-son and step-daughter last month. He told senators he decided to testify about his plight in the hope of getting legislation passed to help the millions of others he said have also been victimized.

Newly elected Connecticut Sen. Richard Blumenthal lauded the actor for coming forward, saying he knew how hard it was to speak of these matters publicly.

“It is all too often denied and hidden and invisible and the reason often is the shame and embarrassment that comes with reporting it being a victim,” Blumenthal said.

Local geriatric experts said Rooney’s actions will mean a lot to other elderly.

“We are thrilled that Mickey Rooney is doing this. Focusing attention on the issue of elder abuse every year that it happens, lives are saved,” said Susan Ferlauto of the Elder Abuse Project.

Geriatric experts said elder abuse of the magnitude suffered by Rooney, or the socialite Brooke Astor, are rare. But instances of abuse of some kind — whether psychological, physical, sexual or financial — are a major concern among the elderly.

Please offer your thoughts in the comments section below.

More from Marcia Kramer
Comments

One Comment

  1. P. Paul says:

    It’s horrible but not surprising to me. NIne years ago, in a very affluent community called Rancho Mirage, CA, a close friend of mine was held hostage in his own home by his adult children following a stroke. I personally filed many reports with local law enforcement officials and Adult Protective Services on his behalf. I also contacted numerous community leaders–only to find that I ended up in court fighting a restraining order. I was slapped with a restraining order by the courts and within only a few short weeks, my friend had a broken neck in three places while at the hands of his own family members. He died. It was only then that some of his “friends” came forth and said they didn’t understand what was really going on even though I had tried numerous times to tell them. Perhaps the testimony by Mr. Rooney will help to get people to recognize that elder abuse may be happening within their own communities.

  2. P. Paul says:

    It’s horrible but not surprising to me. NIne years ago, in a very affluent community called Rancho Mirage, CA, a close friend of mine was held hostage in his own home by his adult children following a stroke. I personally filed many reports with local law enforcement officials and Adult Protective Services on his behalf. I also contacted numerous community leaders–only to find that I ended up in court fighting a restraining order. I was slapped with a restraining order by the courts and within only a few short weeks, my friend had a broken neck in three places while at the hands of his own family members. He died. It was only then that some of his “friends” came forth and said they didn’t understand what was really going on, even though I had tried to tell them. Perhaps the testimony by Mr. Rooney will help to get people to recognize that elder abuse may be happening within their own communities.

  3. Mimi Joli says:

    Very disgusted that people would treat other like that. This happens way too often to vulnerable people like the handicapped and people in nursing homes.

    We need government involvement and more training. This society needs to place more emphasis on the importance of our elders instead of idiots like L. Lohan & Charlie Sheen. We need to stop glorifying youth.

    God help us…

  4. mr says:

    first how dare they Mr rooney is a great star and derserves the best for all the joy he s given the world with his extrordinary talents i care for my elderly mother and want only the best care for her so i do it and would never want her needs not taken care of i hope they get some jail time and see how it feels to be abused

  5. VJ says:

    What struck me about this is that he describes so well a situation that isn’t particular to “elders.” This is what it’s like for women who live with abusers, and not a lot of people are aware of what THAT’S like, either. Bravo for his standing up. Can only hope there’s a trickle-down effect, and others abused like this will be heard, too.

  6. ABLeever says:

    Something must be done …NOW !~

    1. Ellen says:

      Mr. Rooney and elders like him should never be mistreated like they were garbage. Yes, something has to be done about this, and the sooner the better.

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