Many people assume bullying is just a part of being young but what they don’t realize is that many people suffer this type of harassment well into their elder years. Cliques in nursing homes and retirement communities are abundant and according to Gina Kaurich, FirstLight’s executive director of client care services, “there can be a type of caste system among residents and even fun activities aren’t immune from bully behavior.” Here are her tips on ways to combat senior bullies:
- Take care of yourself first and foremost.
- Recognize the behavior for what it is—abuse.
- Let the bullies know that what they are doing is abuse.
- Make certain to tell someone you trust about the situation.
- If possible get a witness and then write down the incidents of bullying, including dates, times and descriptions.
- Ignore the bullies.
- Avoid them.
- Do not reinforce their behavior with positive or negative attention.
- Be assertive and demand the bullying stop.
- Get professional help involved as a resource.
If you think an elderly loved one is being bullied and their health and well-being is being compromised, don’t hesitate to get a professional elder mediator involved or report the issue to the establishment.