Isn’t it shocking that, apart from having to deal with the everyday stressors of aging, many seniors are the victims of bullying as well? Up to 20% of residents in senior care facilities across the USA are bullied by their peers according to research conducted at the Arizona State University. As is often the case with younger victims of bullying, seniors tend to find it very difficult to stand up and vocalize their situation, allowing the bullying to continue – often with grave consequences. It is of vital importance that senior bullying is not only identified as soon as possible but eradicated as well to ensure that the victimized senior is afforded the best possible opportunity to resume a stress-free, happy life. 

How to spot senior bullying

Senior bullying manifests itself in numerous ways including physical and emotional abuse as well as social exclusion which can be of great detriment to the elderly individual.  In terms of senior housing, bullying is most often observed during times where the need to share a space in unavoidable such as at meal times and during bingo games or line dancing. Any adverse interaction between seniors could be a sign of bullying. Yelling, slurring insults, name calling and being overly critical are all signs of verbal bullying while physical abuse can include anything from hitting, tripping, pushing and kicking. 

National Center for Assisted Living

The emotional consequence of bullying

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While there are some elderly bullying victims that will fight back, most won’t as they either fear for their safety or are embarrassed by what is transpiring.  Victims of bullying often display significant emotional changes, appearing depressed or withdrawn and may even be lashing out in anger.  It is important to also acknowledge that bullying can also have an adverse effect on those witnessing it, even if they aren’t direct victims themselves.  While it is easy to tell people to report bullying it doesn’t always happen, mainly due to intimidation which occurs among the elderly just as frequently as among younger bullies. Bullying can trigger severe fear in a senior which often resurfaces as depression even after the abuse has been terminated.

Preventing bullying among seniors

Once bullying has been suspected, it is pertinent to act fast, providing the bullied senior with sufficient emotional support and professional medical attention here necessary. All senior housing establishments should have a very clear no-bullying policy that has to be enforced by staff members at all times.  Once the perpetrator has been identified, he/she needs to be isolated immediately and a thorough investigation must commence. There are many ways in which bullying can be addressed, usually at the discretion of the governing body and management of the establishment.  In an ideal world, basic conflict resolution will suffice, and the bullying will cease but unfortunately, reality is always as forthcoming, and, in some instances, it may be necessary to find alternative accommodation for caustic individuals.

Bullying is never pleasant, not for the victim and not for their loved ones either. It is even more traumatizing for the elderly who already have to endure the everyday obstacles of aging. By identifying and terminating any abusive behavior as soon as it rears its head, the consequent trauma inflicted can be minimized as much as possible.

Editor's Note

It is hard enough to deal with an elder parent’s long-term care, or your own future extended care as you get older, but to think you, or your loved one, must be concerned about bullies is a terrifying thought. The impact of long-term care on the family and a person’s assets is a tremendous burden. When you, or a loved one, requires long-term care you want quality care in an environment which will provide everyone involved with peace-of-mind.

For an elder family member who is in the situation now you must be involved and correct the situation. What about you and your family in the decades to come? Having quality care in a setting that gives you peace and harmony only happens with advance planning. Luckily, planning is easy and affordable if you take action.

Long-Term Care Insurance does more than just provide money. Money is important, however, because in protects your assets and provides the resources for quality care in the setting you desire. These insurance policies do more than just that. Most plans include case management. This means the insurance company will provide a licensed social worker or eldercare nurse which can not only help your family find quality providers but will also monitor the care you receive. This extra help will give everyone involved peace-of-mind. It also gives your children, and their families, the gift of time. Time to be family.

Getting older is not always easy. With advances in medical science we live another day. With longevity comes the added risk of needing help with normal living activities. Those who live longer face a greater risk of cognitive impairment like Alzheimer’s and dementia. This creates pressure on you and your extended family.

Family caregivers feel huge amount of pressure and a plan which includes adult children as caregivers is a plan which will fail. They have their own jobs and family responsibilities. Caregiving is hard. Paid care is expensive. Finding the right facility, be it adult daycare, assisted living, memory care or even a nursing home is not an easy task. Paying for that quality care drains savings.

Experts suggest investigating your options prior to your retirement. Most people put a Long-Term Care policy in place in their 50s. Premiums are very affordable for most people and are custom designed based on your specific situation.

Start you research by finding the cost of care in your state on the LTC NEWS map. You will see the current cost of care in your state, the availability of partnership plans (which provide additional asset protection) and available tax incentives. Click here for the map:

The American Association for Long-Term Care Insurance (AALTCI), a national consumer education and advocacy group, recommends you seek the help of a qualified Long-Term Care specialist who works with the major insurance companies. These individuals understand underwriting, policy design and claims. Most financial planners and general insurance agents lack this expertise. Read more here:

Meanwhile, stand up to bullies no matter what the age and give your family members peace-of-mind.

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