Elder abuse and Islamic Guidance


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Elder abuse is a growing social problem. How does Islam address this issue? In this slide program the magnitude of the problem is presented. In the light of Quran and Sunnah, it is explained that elders have the right to be honored and respected. Their disrespect, disobedience and abuse is deplorable sin and those who commit this sin are to be held accountable by the society and by our Creator, Allah (SWT). Children ought to serve their elders in order to please Allah (SWT) and to be in Jannah in the hereafter.

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Elder abuse and Islamic Guidance

  1. 1.  America’s growing elderly population  What is elder abuse  Size of the problem  Those who abuse  Abuse in nursing homes  Impact of elder abuse  Guidance from Quran  Guidance from Hadith  Rights of elders in Islam  What can we do to stop elder abuse
  2. 2.  In the United States, the 2010 Census recorded the greatest number and proportion of people age 65 and older in all of decennial census history  Last count is 40.3 million, or 13% of the total population.  This “Boomer Generation” effect will continue for decades.1  By 2050, people age 65 and older are expected to comprise 20% of the total U.S. population.  The fastest growing segment of American’s population consists of those 85 and up.  In 2010, there were 5.8 million people aged 85 or older.  By 2050, it is projected that there will be 19 million people aged 85 or older.
  3. 3.  Elder mistreatment (i.e. abuse and neglect) is defined  Intentional actions  That cause harm or  Create a serious risk of harm (whether or not harm is intended)  To a vulnerable elder  By a caregiver or other person who stands in a trust relationship to the elder.  This includes failure by a caregiver to satisfy the elder’s basic needs or to protect the elder from harm.
  4. 4.  It is not known for certain how many people are suffering from elder abuse and neglect  Female elders are abused at a higher rate than males and that the older one is, the more likely one is to be abused.  •The most recent major studies on incidence reported that 7.6%–10% of study participants experienced abuse in the prior year.  The study that found an incidence of 1 in 10 adults experiencing abuse did not include financial abuse.  •Available data from state Adult Protective Services (APS) agencies show an increasing trend in the reporting of elder abuse.
  5. 5.  •Despite the accessibility of APS in all 50 states as well as mandatory reporting laws for elder abuse in most states, an overwhelming number of cases of abuse, neglect, and exploitation go undetected and untreated each year.  •One study estimated that only 1 in 14 cases of elder abuse ever comes to the attention of authorities.  The New York State Elder Abuse Prevalence Study found that for every case known to programs and agencies, 24 were unknown.  •Major financial exploitation was self-reported at a rate of 41 per 1,000 surveyed, which was higher than self-reported rates of emotional, physical, and sexual abuse or neglect.
  6. 6.  In the only national study that attempted to define the scope of elder abuse, the vast majority of abusers were family members (approximately 90%)  Most often they are adult children, spouses, partners, and others.  Family members who abuse drugs or alcohol,  Family members with mental/emotional illness  Those who feel burdened by their caregiving responsibilities abuse at higher rates than those who do not
  7. 7.  Approximately 14 million U.S. adults aged 65 and over and 19 million U.S adults aged 18 to 64 have a disability  •Institutionalized adult women with disabilities reported a 33% prevalence of having ever experienced interpersonal violence (IPV) versus 21% for institutionalized adult women without disabilities.14  •When considering lifetime abuse by any perpetrator, a sample of 200 adult women with disabilities indicated that 67% had experienced physical abuse and 53% had experienced sexual abuse.15
  8. 8.  •In a study of 342 adult men, 55% of men experienced physical abuse by any person after becoming disabled.  Nearly 12% of these men stated they experienced physical abuse by a personal assistance service provider over their lifetime.16  •In a comprehensive review of literature published from 2000–2010, lifetime prevalence of any type of IPV against adult women with disabilities was found to be 26–90%.  Lifetime prevalence of IPV against adult men with disabilities was found to be 28.7–86.7%.  It was concluded that, over the course of their lives, IPV occurs at disproportionate and elevated rates among men and women with disabilities
  9. 9.  Research indicates that people with dementia are at greater risk of elder abuse than those without.  Approximately 5.1 million American elders over 65 have some kind of dementia.  Close to half of all people over 85, the fastest growing segment of our population, have Alzheimer’s disease or another kind of dementia.  By 2025, most states are expected to see an increase in Alzheimer prevalence.  One 2009 study revealed that close to 50% of people with dementia experience some kind of abuse.  A 2010 study found that 47% of participants with dementia had been mistreated by their caregivers
  10. 10.  3.2 million Americans resided in nursing homes during 2008  In 2000, one study interviewing 2,000 nursing home residents reported that 44% said they had been abused and 95% said they had been neglected or seen another resident neglected.  A May, 2008 study conducted by the U.S. General Accountability Office revealed that state surveys understate problems in licensed facilities  70% of state surveys miss at least one deficiency and 15% of surveys miss actual harm and immediate jeopardy of a nursing home resident.
  11. 11.  Abused elders had a 300% higher risk of death when compared to those who had not been abused.  Victims of elder abuse have had significantly higher levels of psychological distress and lower perceived self-efficacy than older adults who have not been victimized.  Abused elders have additional health care problems than other older adults, including increased bone or joint problems, digestive problems, depression or anxiety, chronic pain, high blood pressure, and heart problems
  12. 12.  In 1982, the first initiative to care for the elderly was declared as the United Nations declared the ninth decade of the 20th century "the decade of the elderly."  In 1983, the World Health Organization adopted the slogan "Add Life to Years."  In addition, the UN conference held in Madrid in 2002 adopted a plan of action to solve the problems of the elderly in various countries around the world.  The outcome of these conferences, however, was just sweet promises and plans without any actual application.
  13. 13.  Your Lord has commanded that you worship none but Him, and that you be kind to your parents. If one or both of them reach old age with you, do not say to them a word of disrespect, or scold them, but say a generous word to them. And act humbly to them in mercy, and say, ‘My Lord, have mercy on them, since they cared for me when I was small.” (17: 23-24)
  14. 14.  “And we enjoined upon mankind concerning parents: his mother carried him in weakness upon weakness, and his weaning is two years. Therefore show gratitude to Allah and to your parents” (Qur'an 31:14).
  15. 15. Prophet Yahiya(John the Baptist) was dutiful towards his parents “ “O Yahya! Hold fast the Scripture. And We gave him wisdom while yet a child. And (made him) sympathetic to men as a mercy (or a grant) from Us, and pure from sins and he was righteous. And dutiful towards his parents, and he was neither an arrogant nor disobedient (to God or to his parents).” (Maryam, 19:12-14)
  16. 16. Words of Prophet Isa (Jesus)  “Verily! I am a slave of God. He has given me the Scripture and made me a Prophet; and He has made me blessed wherever I be, and has enjoined on me prayer, and alms, as long as I live, and dutiful to my mother, and made me not arrogant, miserable.” (Maryam, 19:30-32)
  17. 17.  The Prophet (SAW) said, "He is not of us who does not have mercy on young children, nor honor the elderly“ (Tirmidhi)  Narrated Abu Musa al-Ashari: The Prophet said: Glorifying Allah involves showing honor to a grey-haired Muslim and to one who can expound the Quran, but not to one who acts extravagantly regarding it, or turns away from it, and showing honor to a just ruler (Sunan Abu Dawud).
  18. 18.  Narrated Abu Huraira: Prophet (SAW) said: Let him be humbled into dust; let him be humbled into dust. It was said: Allah's Messenger, who is he? He said: He who sees either of his parents during their old age or he sees both of them, but he does not enter Paradise. (Sahih Muslim)  Anas ibn Malik (RA) narrated that the Prophet (SAW)) said, "If a young man honors an elderly on account of his age, Allah appoints someone to honor him in his old age." (Tirmidhi)
  19. 19.  Abu Musa Al-Ashari (RA) narrated that the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said, "It is out of reverence to Allah to respect the white-headed (aged) Muslim." (Abu Dawud)  Abu Huraira (RA) narrated that the Prophet (SAW) said, "The young should (initiate) salutation to the old, the passerby should (initiate) salutation to the sitting one, and the small group of persons should (initiate) salutation to the large group of persons." (Al-Bukhari)
  20. 20.  It was narrated that the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said, "Jibreel ordered me to give priority to the elderly." (Al-Fawa'id, Abu Bakr Ash-Shafi’i; authenticated by Al-Albani)  The Prophet also ordered Muslims to "start with the elderly" when serving a drink or the like (Abu Ya`la; authenticated by Al-Albani).  Malik ibn Al-Huwayrith (RA) narrated that the Prophet said, "When the time for prayer is due, one of you should announce Adhan and the oldest among you should lead the prayer." (Al-Bukhari)
  21. 21.  According to Prophetic guidance, the elder are worthier to start conversation. Once, Huwayyisah and Muhayyisah, the sons of Masud Ibn Kab, and `Abdur-Rahman ibn Sahl came to the Prophet to discuss a certain matter with him. `Abdur- Rahman, who was the youngest of them all, started talking. Thus, the Prophet said, "Let the eldest (among you) speak first" (Al-Bukhari).
  22. 22.  In a hadith of Prophet Muhammad, a man came to the Prophet asking, ‘Who among the people is the most worthy of my good companionship?  The Prophet said, your mother. The man said, ‘Then who?’ The Prophet said, then your mother. The man further asked, ‘Then who?’ The Prophet said, then your mother.  The man asked again, ‘Then who?’ The Prophet replied, then your father. (Saheeh Al-Bukhari, Saheeh Muslim
  23. 23.  Islam exempts the elderly who cannot bear fasting the month of Ramadan from observing this obligation, but requires them to feed a poor person for each day that they miss.  Elderly who cannot pray standing up are allowed to pray sitting down; if they cannot pray sitting down, they are allowed to pray lying on a side  A woman from the tribe of Khath`am came to the Prophet (SAW) and said, "O Allah's Prophet! The obligation of Hajj has become due on my father while he is old and weak, and he cannot sit firm on the mount; may I perform Hajj on his behalf?" The Prophet (SAW) replied, "Yes, (you may)" (Muslim).
  24. 24.  Abu Bakr brought his father, Abu Quhafah, to the Prophet to embrace Islam.  When the Prophet saw him, he said to Abu Bakr, "Why didn't you leave the old man at his house and I would've gone to him there?"  Abu Bakr said, "You are more deserving of him coming to you than he is of you going to him."  The Prophet seated Abu Quhafah in front of him and honored him.  Then he passed his hand on Abu Quhafah's chest and asked him to embrace Islam and Abu Quhafah did.  The Prophet, noticing that Abu Quhafah's hair was white, directed that his hair be dyed.(Ibn Kathir)
  25. 25.  Abdullah Ibn Omar, a leading scholar from among Prophet Muhammad’s companions once saw a man carrying his mother on his back and going around the Holy House in Mecca.  He did not complain or show any signs of annoyance; rather he kept repeating a line of poetry comparing himself to a camel.  He looked at Abdullah Ibn Omar and asked him whether by so doing he discharged his debt to his mother.  Ibn Omar said, “No. You have not even paid back one twinge of the pain she felt when giving birth to you”.
  26. 26.  May take different forms, like: 1. Helping them in their day-to-day chores 2. Speaking to them with a greater degree of politeness 3. Ignoring their harshness 4. Following their advice 5. Looking after their socio-economic needs 6. Saving them from physical hardship
  27. 27.  Traditionally, the Muslim family structure is extended rather than nuclear.  Extended family members may or may not occupy and inhabit a common residential unit.  In all circumstances, however, family ties remain intact and family duties must be followed by all.  A Muslim family primarily includes the self, the spouse and the immediate ascendants and descendants—the position of none of these constituents being inferior to any other
  28. 28.  Within the intergenerational roles prescribed by Islam, the elderly hold a place of honor.  The “security, protection, and comfort” of the elderly are “guaranteed by the behavioral norms and obligations” placed on younger members of the family.
  29. 29.  1: Honoring them- Prophet (SAW) said, “…he is not from us he who does not honor our elders”. This right is achieved by having esteem and respect for elderly in our heart and understanding their rank in the society.  2-Giving them the greetings of peace first: Prophet said “The young should greet the old”. Also pay attention to his condition. Whereas if his hearing is still intact then greet him as you would normally, but if his hearing has weakened due to his old-age then greet him appropriately
  30. 30.  Gratitude towards Allah and towards parents has been urged in the Holy Qur’an side by side. It says: And We have enjoined on man (to be good) to his parents: in travail upon travail did his mother bear him and in years twain was his weaning: (hear the command) "Show gratitude to Me and to thy parents: to Me is (thy final) Goal. (31:14)  Maltreatment of parents has on the other hand been deplored severely. (Al-Ahqaf, Verses 17-18)  The Holy Prophet (SAW) cautions: “The Almighty Allah may pardon all sins He pleases except disobedience to parents; and He hastens (punishment) in this life before death for one who commits it.”
  31. 31.  When speaking with an elder be sure to call him by courteous names like “Oh Uncle” for instance out of respect for his age.  Abu Umamah ibn Sahl (RA) said,”We left and came upon Anas ibn Maalik (RA) and found him praying the forenoon prayer. I asked him: “Oh dear Uncle! Which prayer have you offered?” He said: “The forenoon prayer and this is the time of the prayer of Allah's Messenger (SAW), which we used to pray with him.
  32. 32.  The elder is to be given precedence in  Speech,  Gatherings,  Eating,  Admittance, etc. These are all from their rights.
  33. 33.  Divine command to take good care of parents comes in the form of a ruling from God, following immediately after the command to worship God alone  Children has duty towards elder parents in need of tender care, after having spent most of its vitality in bringing up their young
  34. 34.  Once a man of the tribe Banu Salemah came to the Holy Prophet (SAW) and asked him if there were any rights of parents after their demise.  “Yes,” the Prophet replied and advised him to 1. Pray for them seeking forgiveness for them, 2. To fulfill their instructions after their death, 3. To keep affinity with those who aren’t connected except through parents 4. To respect their friends.
  35. 35.  It is narrated by Ibn Majah on the attribution of Jaber Ibn ‘Abdullah that: A man came to the Messenger of Allah and said: “My father is taking all my wealth.”  He said: “You and your wealth belong to your father. Your children are among the best of your earnings, so eat from your wealth.”
  36. 36.  The Prophet (SAW) equated one’s parents with his grandparents, aunts, and elder brothers, thereby giving them the benefit of those Quranic verses relating to the well- being of parents.  The provision of financial and emotional support for the elderly is one reason why Islam extends close familial relationships beyond the nuclear family.  In this context, maintenance includes day-to-day needs, such as the provision of food, clothing, residence, and personal assistance, as well as
  37. 37.  Prophet Muhammad (SAW) said,” No one amongst you believes (truly) until he likes for his brother or for his neighbor that which he loves for himself.”  The Prophet Muhammad (SAW) taught that the best of neighbors is the one who is best to his neighbor  Neighbors are of three categories: (1) A relative Muslim neighbor, which category of neighbor has three rights over you: the right of kin, the right of neighbors, and the right of Islam; (2) A Muslim neighbor, who holds the right of neighbors and the right of Islam; and (3) A non-Muslim neighbor, who holds the right of neighbors
  38. 38.  All the family obligations towards the elderly, such as maintenance and succession are enforceable by the state where Islamic law is operative  Where an aged person has no relative—near or distant—to take care of him or her, the machinery of the community or the state must move to help  Zakāh refers to “obligatory charity,” that is calculated “based upon a percentage of annual surplus wealth.  Waqf is the permanent dedication of property for religious, pious, or charitable purposes. The concept of Waqf encourages private contributions to the public good
  39. 39.  A Muslim must respect and give all other rights and duties to non-Muslim parents, regardless of their faith  Treat them with kindness and mercy out of respect for their sacrifices and unconditional love.  However, just as with Muslim parents, if a non-Muslim parent orders something that goes against the faith, the Muslim is not to obey.  “But if they strive to make you join other gods in worship with Me, of which you have no knowledge, obey them not. Yet accompany them in this life with gentleness” (31:15)
  40. 40.  Learn the various forms and signs of elder abuse and neglect  Learn how to stay safe from abuse and provide this info to others.  Contact your elected officials about elder abuse related bills  Visit an older adult and ask how he or she is doing.  Tell an elder or another person about the fight against abuse. Encourage them to stand up to elder abuse!
  41. 41.  Educate your community about elder abuse and about the value and dignity of older adults.  Visit a senior center or community event and hand out information  Provide a break for a caregiver.  Join an elder abuse prevention coalition.  Ask your imam to give a talk about elder abuse at a service or to put a message about elder abuse in the weekly bulletin.  Sign or create a petition on the internet (e.g. www.change.org) to elected officials to apply more resources and funding to end elder abuse
  42. 42.  Volunteer to be a friendly visitor for a nursing home resident or for a homebound senior in your neighborhood.  Send a letter to your local paper, radio or TV station suggesting that they cover issues and events honoring elders and people with disabilities and promoting their value and dignity.  Post a Facebook status or Tweet about the need to end elder abuse  Dedicate your bike-a-thon/marathon/other event to elder mistreatment awareness and prevention.  Talk about the need to end elder mistreatment on your personal website or blog and link to Ageless Alliance.  Include "I stand for dignity, I will not stand for elder abuse!" and/or the Ageless Alliance logo on your email signature
  43. 43.  Include a message about elder dignity and the need for abuse prevention on your organization website.  Train staff about signs of elder abuse and neglect, and how to report suspected mistreatment to the local APS agency, Long-Term Care Ombudsman or law enforcement.  Also visit www.centeronelderabuse.org and www.ncea.aoa.gov for more professional resources.  Healthcare clinicians can pledge to ask all patients about possible family violence in their lives.
  44. 44.  Homecare agencies and residential care facilities can create strategies to support staff members, consumers and family members in abuse recognition, response and prevention.  Financial institutions can train banking/credit union professionals on how to detect elder financial abuse.  Print handouts, placemats or reusable grocery bags with information about elder abuse prevention, and distribute them throughout the community.