Institutionalization for the Elderly Is a Novel Phenomenon Among the Arab Population in Israel

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Institutionalization of senior citizens is foreign to Arab Moslem mores. However, the rapid modernization process witnessed among the Arab population in Israel is also leaving its mark on the social values of this community: the once axiomatic rule that offspring or close family act as sole caregivers of the elderly person is losing its strength. Thus, the Arab community is slowly viewing the idea of external caregiving in a more positive light. The object of the present descriptive account is to compose a primary profile of the elderly Arab citizen who enters, or already occupies, one of the two old age homes for Arabs in Israel. The salient features that will make an elderly person a candidate for placement include lack of family, sick and/or invalid partner, childlessness, loneliness, and diminished ADL (activities of daily living). To make retirement homes a meaningful part of the rapidly westernizing Arab society in Israel, the contents of the formal services aimed at these citizens is open to reevaluation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)65-85
Number of pages21
JournalJournal of Gerontological Social Work
Issue number3-4
StatePublished - 8 Sep 1999


  • Arab elderly
  • Family care
  • Institutionalization

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Nursing (miscellaneous)


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