Mickey Rooney’s recent court testimony stating he was a victim of elder abuse by family members has brought some much-needed attention to the issue. The American Psychological Association estimates more than 2 million older adults are victims of elder abuse — which can be in the form of physical, psychological or financial abuse. The APA also says for every reported case, five are not. In an aging America, this can potentially become out of hand.
As Rooney says, “If it can happen to me, Mickey Rooney, it can happen to anyone.” Many times the victim is in good health, both mentally and physically. In an interview with AARP Bulletin, Rooney’s conservator, Michael Augustine says Rooney is completely competent. Rooney says he knew he needed to get help but was hesitant to stand up against family members. Elder abuse often comes at the hands of family or caregivers. According to the National Center on Elder Abuse, of reported cases, 33 percent of perpetrators are adult children, 22 percent are other family members and 11 percent are spouses.