Bullying Among Older Adults: Not Just A Playground Problem Speaker: Kathleen Weissberg, OTD, OTR/L CMDCP, CDP Select Rehabilitation
Bullying, defined as “a distinctive pattern of deliberately harming and humiliating others,” is an increasingly common problem among seniors. While the communal-living nature of senior living communities can open the door for socialization and friendship, it can also be the location of cliques, gossip, abuse and bullying behavior. It is estimated that between 10 and 20 percent of older adults living in senior living communities are mistreated by their peers, and often the behavior goes unreported or unnoticed by staff. Unfortunately, bullying is not just exhibited on the playground – it is a behavior that spans multiple demographics and age groups.
In this session, participants will learn the definition and incidence of bullying in adult living communities and day centers including what older adult bullying looks like in this population. Characteristics of older adult bullies as well their targets and gender differences will be explored. The reasons why bullying occurs as well as the five different types of bullies are defined.
The impact of bullying is detrimental to the health and well-being of our seniors. Even one instance can have a lasting impact! Therefore, it not enough just to define bullying – communities need to know the warning signs, the physical and emotional impact, and what to do if it happens to them. Therefore, interventions for the organization, the bully, and the target will be reviewed to help communities minimize (and prevent where possible) bullying and mitigate the effects on the target. Addressing bullying behavior among older adults is critically important for enhancing quality of life and promoting emotional well-being; strategies to create caring and empathic communities for all residents and staff members are reviewed.
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