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Elder Abuse

Every older adult is entitled to respect and dignity. 

Unfortunately, some are deprived of their basic safety and security. 

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: 

  1. Financial Abuse:  Actions that trick, threaten or persuade older adults out of money, property, or possessions.
  2. Neglect:  Failure to provide necessities of life such as food, clothing, shelter, medical attention, personal safety or comfort.
  3. Physical Abuse:  Action causing discomfort, pain or injury, including hitting, pushing, slapping, and inappropriate use of medications or physical restraints.
  4. Verbal & Emotional Abuse:  Maltreatment including harassment, insults, threats, intimidation, silent treatment or preventing contact with family and friends.
  5. 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.

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