It also states that “In Christianity, an elder is a person who is valued for wisdom and holds a position of responsibility and authority in a Christian group”.
There’s a sense of authority, knowledge, recognition, wisdom and value – characteristics which can be associated with respect.
In today’s society, one wonders about value and respect when hearing about elder abuse.
The World Health Organization defines Elder Abuse as “a single or repeated act, or lack of appropriate action, occurring within any relationship where there is an expectation of trust which causes harm or distress to an older person”. The abuse may be financial, emotional, physical, or neglect.
Elder abuse is unfortunately, a growing problem. North American studies show that between 2 and 10 percent of older adults (aged 65 and over) experience some type of elder abuse or neglect every year. Stats Canada projects that by 2021, there will be approximately 3.8 million senior women in Canada, which would suggest that between 76,000 and 380,000 will experience some type of elder abuse.
This abuse can be a single occurrence, however in up to 80% of cases, it happens on a recurring basis.
For those who are dependent on caregivers or family members for their care, the abuse may be kept private and may be difficult to detect.
No elder deserves to be abused or to accept abuse because of fear of retaliation, feeling hopeless or not having an advocate.
What can we do? Prayer and action!
Our actions can include raising awareness of elder abuse, looking for warning signs, listening to concerns expressed, offering support, advocacy, reporting elder abuse, and treating everyone with respect.
Prayer: Heavenly Father, help us to be respectful and caring as we help others. Let us to be more aware of their needs and recognize when they may be in danger of abuse. I pray that elders may find places of safety, comfort and peace and look to you, with restored hope, as their refuge, strength and security. In Jesus’ name. Amen
Dr. Anita Gittens; Anglican Church of Canada Representative; WICC Treasurer