Judaism stresses the importance of showing respect for our elders. “You shall rise before the aged and show deference to the elderly,” the Bible commands (Leviticus 19:32). Our community takes pride in giving reverence to our oldest members, strangers and family members alike. Such caring behavior builds a sense of communal support and personal trust.
Occasionally, such trust and dependency may be violated. According to some studies, one in ten older adults age 60+ experience abuse annually. These studies also show:
- Any older adult can be subject to elder abuse, no matter their physical, mental, or socioeconomic condition.
- Roughly 2/3rd of the time, the abuser is a family member.
- Abuse can occur in one’s home, a hospital, a workplace, an assisted living facility, and many other places.
Such abuse can take many different forms, including:
- Financial Abuse: Actions that trick, threaten or persuade older adults out of money, property, or possessions.
- Neglect: Failure to provide necessities of life such as food, clothing, shelter, medical attention, personal safety or comfort.
- Physical Abuse: Action causing discomfort, pain or injury, including hitting, pushing, slapping, and inappropriate use of medications or physical restraints.
- Verbal & Emotional Abuse: Maltreatment including harassment, insults, threats, intimidation, silent treatment or preventing contact with family and friends.
- Sexual Abuse: An action that forces one to participate in or view a sexual act.
For some signs of elder abuse and resources for help, see here.
Caregiver Burnout: Elder abuse can be premeditated acts of power, control, and manipulation. But abuse can also be committed, sometimes unintentionally, by overstressed caregivers.
To learn more about caregiver burnout, click here.