BOHEMIA, NY, July 5 – You are more likely to read or hear about the granny who fought off an attacker than about the more than 6 million seniors who are victims of elder abuse each year, according to Dan Weber, president of the Association of Mature American Citizens.
“In fact,” Weber said, “the national media virtually ignored Elder Abuse Awareness Day in June, an event designed to bring attention to what is considered the nation’s dirty little secret that has serious psychological and physical implications for America’s senior citizens.”
The actor, Mickey Rooney, made headlines when he testified in Congress in 2011 about the abuse he suffered at the hands of his stepson and his stepson’s wife who allegedly denied him food and medicine and robbed him of millions of dollars over a period of several years.
In testimony before the Senate Aging Committee Rooney said: “Over the course of time, my daily life became unbearable. I felt trapped, scared, used and frustrated. But above all, I felt helpless. For years I suffered silently, unable to muster the courage to seek the help I knew I needed.”
The Pew Research Center has reported that ten thousand Americans will turn 65 years of age each day for the next two decades and the Bureau of Justice Statistics has reported that at least 10% of them will be victims of elder abuse.
“These are pretty startling statistics,” Weber commented, noting that “these crimes against the elderly take the form of neglect, physical abuse, financial exploitation, sexual abuse, in that order. Yet, for whatever reason, people do not want to talk about them. But we must bring this disgraceful crime wave out into the open if we, as a nation, hope to stem the tide.”
The experts say that most of older Americans who are victims of abuse live alone and require the help of care givers, but many like Mickey Rooney live with family. “It’s up to each and every one of us to get involved. There are many Web sites, such as the National Council on Aging [www.ncoa.org] that offer advice on how friends, neighbors and relatives can read the signs of elder abuse by taking the time to talk and listen to the stories suspected targets have to tell, and then to have the courage to intervene,” Weber explained.
As Rooney told Congress: “Sometimes the transition from being in control of your life to having absolutely no control is swift, but other times it is so gradual that you wonder exactly when it truly began.”
NOTE TO EDITORS: Dan Weber is available for telephone interviews on this issue. Editors/reporters may contact John Grimaldi at 917-846-8485 or email@example.com to set up a call.
The Association of Mature American Citizens [http://www.amac.us] is a vibrant, vital and conservative alternative to those organizations, such as AARP, that dominate the choices for mature Americans who want a say in the future of the nation. Where those other organizations may boast of their power to set the agendas for their memberships, AMAC takes its marching orders from its members. We act and speak on their behalf, protecting their interests, and offering a conservative insight on how to best solve the problems they face today.