More than any other demographic group, the elderly are actively involved in or contacted regularly by religious congregations. Clergy and others from one’s faith community are among the few, and in many cases, the only people who visit an elderly person’s home or care facility. As a member of a faith community, be you lay or clergy, you may be in a unique position to observe signs of abuse and neglect by family, paid caregivers, or facility staff. Protecting the elderly from further loss or pain is a mitzvah, a good deed, a spiritual duty. In addition, reporting elder abuse is an ethical, as well, in many states, a legal responsibility.
More About Faith Communities Responding to Elder Abuse
- Partnering with Faith Communities to Provide Elder Fraud Prevention, Intervention, and Victim Services, U.S. Department of Justice, Office for Victims of Crime Bulletin, April 2006
Where Faith and Safety Meet: Faith Communities Respond to Elder Abuse. An innovative collaboration between Safe Havens Interfaith Partnership Against Domestic Violence and the National Clearinghouse on Abuse in Later Life (NCALL) examines the juncture of elder abuse and faith on a national level, and seeks to strengthen collaborations among faith community leaders and domestic violence, elder abuse, and sexual assault service providers.
Raising Awareness of Abuse of Older Persons – An Issue for Faith Communities? Elizabeth Podnieks, C.M., Ph.D., Ryerson University, School of Nursing, Toronto, Ontario McMaster Journal of Theology and Ministry (no date). This paper discusses a study undertaken in Ontario, Canada to determine the awareness level that faith leaders possess about elder abuse. An initial literature review reveals unsettling gaps in knowledge and information about this complex problem.