ROCKLEIGH, N.J. — A facility dedicated to housing victims of elder abuse in Rockleigh has been awaiting residents since opening during the summer.
SeniorHaven, launched by Jewish Home Family, is the first of its kind in New Jersey and among 14 in the United States.
The shelter is for survivors of elder abuse.
“The shelter movement has been growing nationally but growing slowly,” said Carol Silver Elliott, the CEO and president of Jewish Home Family in Rockleigh.
“We will shelter a victim anywhere within the walls of our nursing home or our assisted living home to meet that person’s needs."
The first shelter in the country opened in Riverdale, New York ten years ago.
“Anyone from any background can be a victim of abuse and our job is to help them have a life that is safe and dignified," Elliott said.
All of the shelters are in the care of existing facilities. The program will offer survivors a safe place to stay and while being cared for.
“Domestic violence shelters aren’t the ideal setting for those who are 85-years-old who need help walking and need medication," Elliott said.
Any elder abuse victims, even outside of Bergen County, who needs their services can access the facility.
“If someone is in a crisis and needs a shelter, then we provide shelter,” she said. But, she went on to say, it not is not their job to figure out any prior living arrangements that might work.
Residents will be able to receive social services and legal help as needed.
Victims can stay at the facility for 90 - 120 days before being moved to other housing.
“We expect to see three or four victims a year,” Elliott said. "We base it on our colleagues, but we haven’t seen a victim yet.
Elliott and her colleagues are still working on raising awareness.
“It’s a new concept for a lot of people," she said of the facility. "We’re educating people.”