According to the National Center on Elder Abuse (NCEA), types of elder abuse falls into seven different categories: (1) physical; (2) emotional; (3) sexual; (4) financial; (5) neglect; (6) abandonment; and (7) self-neglect. Within each category are a wide range of behaviors that may constitute abuse or mistreatment of an elder.
Mickey Rooney, the actor and entertainer, was 90 years old when he testified before the Senate Special Committee on Aging. He highlighted in a public and dramatic manner that despite his fame and wealth he was subjected elder abuse. Click here to see Mr. Rooney testifying. He testified that “I was . . . completely stripped of the ability to make even the most basic decisions in my own life.He described being silenced, feeling trapped, scared, used, frustrated and above all . . . helpless. Fighting abuse was further complicated by complex family relationships. Click here to see Mr. Rooney’s written testimony.
Mr. Rooney’s March 2, 2011 testimony coincided with the release of the Government Accountability Office’s (GAO) report Elder Justice: Stronger Federal Leadership Could Enhance National Response to Elder Abuse. As the GAO report explains, “[m]ore than one type of abuse can occur at the same time and abuse can occur repeatedly over time and can involve a relationship of trust between the victim and the perpetrator.” Mr. Rooney suffered abuse at the hands of family, but elder abuse may also occur within residential facilities by professionals entrusted to care for seniors and some elders engage in acts of self-abuse.
According to the GAO and many others, by its nature, elder abuse is difficult to detect and significantly under-reported. For more information on how to be alert to elder abuse and what steps can be taken to prevent or report it, visit the NCEA‘s website.
In an effort to heighten awareness of elder abuse and what steps to take in our communities of New York City and Westchester, if you suspect abuse against an elder, we share the following information found on the websites of the New York City Mayor’s Office and the Westchester County Government.
If an elder is in immediate danger, call 911.
New York City
The New York City government’s website describes the challenges that place elders at risk of abuse and ways an abuser may exert power and control over an elder. For more information, click here.
New York City operates a 24-hour, toll-free Hotline, 1-800-621-HOPE, for victims of domestic violence. By calling the number, elders can find out about support and shelter services to assist them.
The NYC Department for Aging Elderly Crimes Victims Resource Center provides counseling to victims of abuse and consultation to professionals who assist abused elders. The Center can be reached at 212-442-3103 or 212-442-1000.