“Hear the word of the Lord, …Wash yourselves clean!
In this reflection I would like to address the exhortation of Isaiah: “…defend the widow.” In my work at Creighton, I study the treatment of older persons and am part of a team of persons working on the Creighton Study of Violence Across the Lifespan.
In 2009, society’s and families’attention to the mistreatment of older persons is generally avoided--not to be talked about. The attention to the mistreatment of older persons today is about where the attention to the mistreatment of children and youth was 25 years ago. In 2009, there are programs that are openly discussed and planned to try to halt the mistreatment of babies, youth, teenagers, young adults. But not so many for the treatment of older persons. Here are some statistics from the U.S. Department of Justice – Office on Violence Against Women (2004 and 2005):
Creighton faculty are studying “financial exploitation/abuse.” Older adults who have been financially exploited/abused are afraid to talk about it…especially if persons have experienced the exploitation in their own families.
So what do we do? Each of us can look into our own families and in our neighborhoods to see if older women and men are being treated with dignity. Are they being excluded because of their mental or physical frailties? Are they physically and socially isolated? Are they receiving the food, healthcare, socialization, and spiritual resources they need and deserve? Are their remaining skills and abilities being nurtured to their fullest extent so that St. Irenaeus’ quotation can be realized? “The Glory of God is man (and woman) fully alive.”
Collaborative Ministry Office Guestbook