Waves elders

  • Issue: August 1993
  • Designer: Y. Gavish
  • Stamp size: 25.7 x 40 mm
  • Plate no.: 184
  • Sheet of 15 stamps Tabs: 5
  • Printers: E. Lewin-Epstein Ltd.
  • Method of printing: Offset

The duty to honour the elderly has been a basic tenet of Jewish tradition for thousands of years.

Israel, however, was a young country forged primarily by young pioneers who left the lands of their birth in the Diaspora to come to build a Jewish state in the Land of Israel. These young pioneers naturally put the emphasis on youth, the beautiful, the healthy and the strong, since this was the only way that a new country could come into being: old age being associated with sickness, disfigurement and dependence on others.

In the first years of the States existence, there were relatively few elderly people, and economic resources were directed primarily to security, health, education, immigrant absorption, and to social problems. A significant change occurred as the number and proportion of older people in the population grew.

In Israel today, the population of the elderly, which is defined as women over the age of 60 and men over the age of 65, is about 10% of the overall population (Jews and non-Jews).

This age-group has specific needs as a result of the limitations in their physical functioning, poor health, low income, loss of social status, loneliness resulting from the loss of close relatives, limitations in personal interaction, and a general lowering in ability to cope with the environment.

Just the same, 95% of old people in Israel continue in a normal community environment, and only about 5% live in institutions on a long-term basis.

In the last few years there has been a significant improvement in services to old people in the community, and this has found major expression in the provision of the Welfare Services Act, which has legislated for the provision of services to 41,000 handicapped old people in their homes, including personal care, help with housework, laundry, transportation, and the services of Day Care Centres for the elderly.

At the same time, about 90 Day Care Centres for handicapped old people have been opened which provide comprehensive services and so allow the families of the handicapped elderly to continue functioning as normal.

A big effort has also been made to develop counselling and social care services by experienced social workers in the field of geriatrics, to provide hot meals to old people in their homes, as well as special housing programmes, grants for heating in winter in the colder areas of the country, and temporary frameworks for old people on their discharge from hospital.

In the medical field, geriatric services, both corrective and preventive, have been vastly expanded, as have the para-geriatric services which are active throughout the country and are known for their professionalism.

As far as institutions for old people are concerned, there have also been significant changes in standards of care and the quality of life, and this is an area which is continually developing and improving.

The people of Israel respect and esteem those who pioneered the state, and who now make up a significant part of the country's elderly population, and the continued development of quality services for the elderly is the practical expression of this genuine feeling.

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Respect your elders