Mickey Rooney’s Legacy Highlights Financial Elder Abuse Epidemic

Mickey Rooney Survived Financial Elder Abuse, Campaigned Against the Problem

financial elder abuseMickey Rooney passed away on April 6th at the age of 93. The famous film, television, Broadway, radio, and vaudeville star not only defined the entertainment industry for decades, starting as a child actor, but also campaigned against financial elder abuse, because he suffered from the growing abuse epidemic.

In September 2011, Rooney’s court-appointed conservator filed an elder abuse lawsuit against the actor’s stepson, Christopher Aber, and his wife, Christina. According to the financial elder abuse lawsuit, Aber and his wife agreed to handle Rooney’s personal and business affairs, but the couple stole the actor’s money for their own personal gain, kept him in the dark about the dismal state of his finances, used threatening and abusive language, and refused to cover basic necessities for Rooney, like food and medicine.

During the trial, Rooney testified in front of the Senate Special Committee on Aging about his experience with financial elder abuse. “Over the course of time, my daily life became unbearable,” he said. “I felt trapped, scared, used and frustrated. But above all, I felt helpless.”

The financial elder abuse case was settled in October 2013, when Rooney’s conservator agreed to a $2.8 million stipulated judgment against the couple.

According to elder abuse advocacy group Elder Justice Coalition, financial elder abuse costs its vulnerable victims $2.9 billion per year, and medical costs directly related to the stress and abuse now exceed $5 billion.

“Rooney’s words are as relevant and compelling today as they were in 2011,” Elder Justice Coalitional National Coordinator Bob Blancato said in a statement. “Advocates of elder justice are grateful for Rooney’s courage and hope that progress can continue to be made at the national level to fight the epidemic of elder abuse in America.”

Financial Elder Abuse and Exploitation

Many states define exploitation as the wrongful use of an older person’s resources for another person’s profit or advantage. State laws use various terms to denote the wrongful nature of the act, such as “illegal,” “improper,” “unjust,” and “without legal entitlement.” Some definitions refer simply to the misuse of the person’s funds, property or person. Some states specify that, to qualify as exploitation, the resources must have been obtained without the older person’s consent, or obtained through undue influence, duress, deception or false pretenses.

In financial elder abuse, aging adults are taken advantage of by caregivers (related or unrelated). This can occur by home health care workers or at nursing homes and long-term care facilities.

Financial Exploitation includes:

  • theft and credit card fraud,
  • stealing identity,
  • using real estate for personal means, and
  • conning nursing home residents into purchasing a fraudulent service or product.

Financial exploitation might not endanger an older person’s health or safety, but it results in the loss of the person’s estate and self-esteem.

The Strom Law Firm Defends Senior Citizens against Financial Elder Abuse

If you or a loved one has been the victim of financial elder abuse or exploitation by your care facility, nursing home, caregiver, or a relative, contact us today. Come in for a free consultation with one of our nursing home abuse and neglect lawyers to discuss your situation and hear how we can help. 803.252.4800

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