For many seniors, things haven’t changed much since they were six years old and on the playground. They are still being teased, embarrassed, pushed around and made to feel like they aren’t good enough. The bullying they thought they left behind decades ago is still alive and well. The bullies and the bullied are still out there. This may be by caretakers in their homes and even in the senior residences they have moved into to be safe in their remaining years.
How can you recognize that a senior is being bullied?
- Seniors who are formerly friendly appear nervous and afraid of you.
- Bruises or other injuries are common.
- Behavior that resembles dementia even though you know the person doesn’t have dementia.
- Unusual weight loss.
- Elderly person is not dressed appropriately for the weather.
Seniors who are bullied show the symptoms of chronic stress and anxiety such as insomnia. Because of their age, they are no longer in control of their lives like they used to be. This leaves them vulnerable to bullies.
What can we do to reduce bullying of seniors?
Make your community aware.
Many people don’t realize that seniors can be and are bullied every day in their own community. It could be their next door neighbors. Communities need to go public with the problem so everyone can be aware of what is happening and watch for it.
Train staff accordingly.
All staff in senior facilities should be aware that bullying could be going on within the residence. Training staff to recognize the signs of bullying and having protocols to follow should be a policy in all senior living residences.
Start bullying prevention programs.
Both residents and staff of senior residential communities should have to take part in prevention programs to reduce bullying. Recognizing the behavior and knowing what to do when it happens should be taught when they move into the residence.
For more information on senior bullying and how to address it, click here.