Sadly, elder abuse occurs at many senior care homes, most perpetrators being nursing staff. However, there’s a type of elder abuse that you don’t hear of often that needs addressing: elder-on-elder bullying.
As a matter of fact, about 10 to 20 percent of seniors dwelling in assisted living facilities are victims of other seniors. While some seniors bully due to dementia, others pick on their fellow residents to vent their own issues. Here are a few behaviors related to senior-on-senior bullying.
Stealing another resident’s personal belongings
If someone has money or other valuable possessions, another person might covet said object and steal it when no one’s looking. And some thefts aren’t always related to desiring fancy items.
An individual could filch something like dentures or eyeglasses to assert dominance and take pleasure in watching the target struggle with eating or seeing.
Excluding others from social settings
Many people are familiar with cliques from their K-12 days, the “cool kids” who wouldn’t allow students they deemed beneath them to sit at their table at lunch. Social isolation happens among seniors, too. Examples include refusing to let a resident join them during mealtimes, games or other activities.
It’s bad enough when one or two people bully an individual. It’s even worse when several people gang up on someone through the spread of gossip or rumors.
Though backbiting usually involves a made-up story, sometimes it consists of a matter someone might prefer to keep secret. True or not, gossip and rumors can damage a resident’s reputation and psyche, possibly leading to self-harming behaviors.
Bullying should be taken seriously, even if it’s done to elders by other elders. Besides, it’s awful for the victims since they have to live with their bullies.
If you’re a staff member, relative, or other loved one, consider legal recourse to stop elder-on-elder bullying. This is especially important if assisted living administrators trivialize or ignore bullying incidents.