Life After 50 column wmkvfm.org and WMKV 89.3 FM
“Life After 50” column
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Hello again. This is Alice Hornbaker for wmkv 89.3 fm and wmkvfm.org streaming around the world in the Internet Mondays and Thursdays at 2:20 p.m. and Fridays at 8:50 a.m. and as a blog on growingbolder.com under blogs/life after 50/ajhornbaker and on Twitter, Facebook and linkedin.com
It was in his face and his remarkable delivery. It was 91-year-old famous actor, Mickey Rooney, testifying before Congress. He was testifying about allegedly being defrauded by his stepson and others. One of millions today of cases of elder abuse.
As recent as 2009 a federally-funded study conducted for the National Institute of Justice concluded that 5 percent of Americans 60 and older were victims of financial abuse by a family member while another 6.5 percent were targets of non-family members. They took their information by surveying 5,777 elders.
Mickey Rooney’s testimony was dramatic. He is suing his stepson and others saying they tricked him into thinking he was on the brink of poverty while defrauding him out of millions and bullying him into continuing to work. That case now is pending.
His tone in his Congressional testimony reflected his anguish, outrage and fear. He said, quote, “I feel trapped, scared, used and frustrated.”
So many seniors every day suffer from the same exploitation. As a result these seniors often are left penniless to suffer alone. One official said these seniors who are abused are too old to build up another next egg.
As a reporter and columnist in the field of aging, I reported on far too many cases of elder abuse, not only financially but physically as well. And headlines every day report a son or daughter leaving an elderly parent in neglect until they die.
When confronted, adult children say they just wanted and are entitled to their inheritance and stole from a parent just to get an advance on that inheritance, something they think they are entitled to get anyway,
And it is not only relatives who are scamming their elders. A case I covered as are TV reporter was of an elder woman who lived in a multi-family apartment building. She had to rely on neighbors to help her as she was housebound. Two neighbors, a man and woman, routinely shopped for her. The elder gave them her Social Security check first to cash, and then buy for her.
Soon they found a way to steal her SS check and never gave her anything. A social agency finally rescued her from this abuse and made sure her monthly check was automatically deposited into her bank account. Then volunteers came in to check on her.
There is an old saying that you can predict the health and future of a nation by the way it treats its elders. If not enough prosecutors nationwide don’t clamp down and begin to show far more aggression in pursuing charges against a suspected elder abuse suspect, not only with millions of elders suffer, so will this nation.
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