Mickey Rooney’s Story Highlights Need for Americans to Take Precautions Against Elder Abuse

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The National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys (NAELA) applauds beloved actor Mickey Rooney for testifying last week before the U.S. Senate’s Special Committee on Aging in which he shared his story of emotional and financial abuse at the hands of a relative.

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Guardianship is frequently viewed as a last resort, and most state laws require the application of less restrictive alternatives to guardianship to protect vulnerable elderly adults.

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The National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys (NAELA) applauds beloved actor Mickey Rooney for testifying last week before the U.S. Senate’s Special Committee on Aging in which he shared his story of emotional and financial abuse at the hands of a relative.

In Mr. Rooney’s heart-wrenching testimony, he described how he felt “helpless” as he and his wife were denied food and medicine, and had their money stolen from them by someone they had entrusted. Sadly, this a common occurrence among the elderly. Physical, emotional and financial abuse of the elderly can happen at the hands of a relative, friend or others responsible for their care.

As we near the one-year anniversary of the signing of the Elder Justice Act as part of the Affordable Care Act of 2010, which provides nearly $800 million dollars from 2011 to 2014 to combat elder abuse, NAELA urges all seniors and their family members to take the proper legal steps to prevent such abuse from occurring, such as thoroughly investigating long-term care facilities and conducting background checks on caregivers.

NAELA President-elect Ed Boyer said, “Guardianship is frequently viewed as a last resort, and most state laws require the application of less restrictive alternatives to guardianship to protect vulnerable elderly adults. However, in cases where family members or trusted friends are the abusers or exploiters of the elderly, guardianship is a fast, efficient way to stop the abuse and exploitation and provides the legal framework necessary to protect the frail elderly from abuse, neglect and exploitation.”

An Elder Law attorney can be an invaluable resource in cases of elder abuse. NAELA’s membership is comprised of attorneys who have dedicated themselves to serve as legal advocates on behalf of seniors and ensure that they have access to quality care. A listing of Elder Law attorneys who are members of NAELA can be found at http://www.NAELA.org.

ABOUT NAELA
Established in 1987, the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys (NAELA) is a non‐profit association that assists lawyers, bar organizations, and others. Members of NAELA are attorneys who are experienced and trained in working with the legal problems of aging Americans and individuals of all ages with disabilities. The mission of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys is to establish NAELA members as the premier providers of legal advocacy, guidance, and services to enhance the lives of people with special needs and people as they age. NAELA currently has more than 4,000 members across the United States. For more information, visit http://www.NAELA.org.

ABOUT ELDER AND SPECIAL NEEDS LAW
Elder and Special Needs Law is a specialized area of law that involves representing, counseling and assisting seniors, people with disabilities and their families in connection with a variety of legal issues, with a primary emphasis on promoting the highest quality of life for individuals. Typically, Elder and Special Needs Law address the convergence of legal needs with the social, psychological, medical, and financial needs of individuals. The Elder and Special Needs Law practitioner handles estate planning and counsels clients about planning for incapacity with health care decision making documents. The attorney also assists clients in planning for possible long‐term care needs, including at‐home care, assisted living or nursing home care. Locating the appropriate type of care, coordinating public and private resources to finance the cost of care, settling up special needs trusts, and working to ensure the client's right to quality care are all part of the Elder and Special Needs Law practice.

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