Mickey Rooney died over the weekend at the age of 93, but his legacy will live on! Many Americans probably reflect fondly on his nine-decade long career in show business. However, his real legacy may prove to be his personal battle as a victim of elder abuse in his later years and his public battle to fight back for control over his life. Thankfully, Rooney was able to regain control after being subjected to elder abuse by his stepson and stepdaughter for years, against both of whom he ultimately filed restraining orders. Over the last two years of his life, he lived with his son and finally found happiness after years of distress. In a statement to CNN, Rooney’s son (Mark Rooney) recounted that his father “led a full life but did not have enough time to finish all he had planned to do.”
Nothing could be so true. Mickey may have been reinvigorating his acting career, but the spotlight he shed on the dangers of elder abuse and the need for better safeguards against such abuse remains an issue for the aging American population. Mickey originally testified to the U.S. Senate in 2011 about his experience as a victim of elder abuse and how he suffered silently for years. According to a report by the Government Accountability Office around the same time, Rooney was not suffering alone. In fact, the report stated that more than 14% of non-institutionalized seniors experienced some form of elder abuse in 2009. With advances in modern medicine and Americans’ correlating longer life expectancies, greater attention needs to be placed upon elder abuse and exploitation which may evidence itself in many forms, including financial, emotional and physical.
To learn more about the cautionary tales of elder abuse and exploitation, as well as to hear some of Mickey Rooney’s testimony, click here.