Elder abuse a hidden danger

March 17, 2011

On March 2, actor Mickey Rooney testified before the Senate's Special Committee on Aging describing his experience as a victim of elder abuse, a story that was also recently recounted in The Sun ("Actor Mickey Rooney accuses stepson of abuse," Feb. 15). Mr. Rooney stated that if elder abuse can happen to him, it can happen to anyone.

Elder abuse can be physical abuse, but it also can be financial or emotional abuse. Elder abuse happens in all communities. Many people do not realize that elder abuse is occurring in their own families or neighborhoods. Victims frequently suffer in silence because they are embarrassed by what is occurring or are afraid that if they try to seek help, the abuse will worsen.

We want readers to know that help is available for those who suffer from abuse, neglect or exploitation. Baltimore County Restoring Elder Safety Today, a coalition of organizations and individuals committed to fighting elder abuse, urges seniors who are being mistreated, or anyone who is aware of an elder being victimized, to call their local Adult Protective Services.

For the number of the APS in your county, call 1-800-917-7383. You may report suspected elder abuse anonymously. Social workers will offer services to ensure the elder's safety. For more information about elder abuse, go to http://www.bcpl.info/stopelderabuse.

Jennifer Holz, Baltimore

The writer represents AARP Maryland, a member organization of Baltimore County Restoring Elder Safety Today.

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