U.S. Senate Panel on Elder Abuse : Cases of Senior Citizens Abused by Caregivers on the Rise

Entertainment legend Mickey Rooney, age 90, testified before the U.S. Senate earlier this month that he had suffered abuse for years by family members and other caregivers. Rooney told the Senate that he had been abused in many ways, including emotional and financial abuse.

Rooney was among witnesses who testified before a Senate panel looking at what elder rights advocates describe as a “chronic problem” of senior citizens abused by caregivers at home and in nursing homes. Senator Herb Kohl (D-Wisc.) introduced legislation that would create an Office of Elder Justice within the Department of Justice to help coordinate law enforcement’s response to cases of elder abuse. Rooney believes that a law should be passed by Congress making elder abuse a specific crime.

A Baltimore County, Maryland nursing home abuse lawyer is familiar with laws and regulations that are supposed to protect senior citizens from abuse and neglect. Maryland nursing homes are entrusted with caring for our senior Americans who deserve to live their golden years in comfort and peace. Sadly, some seniors fall victim to abuse and neglect by family members, caregivers, and nursing home staff — suffering physical abuse and injuries that can lead to wrongful death in Maryland.

Seniors may also have medication, money, and property stolen or become victims of financial fraud while in nursing home care. (See related blog article about a recent nursing home abuse case in Maryland, where a nursing assistant was prosecuted for stealing medication from a patient.)

CNN reports that according to the GAO (Government Accountability Office), more than 14 percent of non-institutionalized older adults experienced some form of elder abuse in 2009. The situation can be even worse for senior citizens who go into nursing homes: many elder care advocates believe that one-third of U.S. nursing homes have been accused of elder abuse toward residents. Unfortunately, as the Baby Boom population ages — state-level resources and funding for Adult Protective Service programs are dwindling. It will be interesting to see if the Federal government passes more laws to protect senior citizens in this country.

Sources:

Mickey Rooney tells Senate panel he was a victim of elder abuse
CNN.com March 2, 2001
Justice for All: Ending Elder Abuse, Neglect and Financial Exploitation
(Archived webcast and PDF transcripts of witnesses who testified at Senate hearing)
U.S. Senate Special Committee on Aging March 2, 2011
Related Maryland Injury Attorney articles:

Maryland Nursing Home Abuse Case : Judge Sentences Nursing Assistant for Stealing Pain Medication July 21, 2010
Maryland Nursing Home Patients with Alzheimer’s Disease Increasing in Number May 14, 2010
Related Web Resources:

Maryland Department of Aging

The National Consumer Voice for Quality Long-Term Care

U.S. Dept. of Justice: Elder Justice