Safe Spaces for Older Adults: Anti-Bullying Programs in Aging Services Organizations

June 1, 2018 | Aging Services Risk, Quality, & Safety Guidance

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​Although bullying is often thought of a problem associated with teens and young adults, aging services organizations are not exempt from having to manage or mitigate conflicts among residents that may result in verbal harassment, exclusion, or even the occasional thrown punch or wheelchair collisions. A recent Associated Press article circulated around local news stations provides a glimpse into the world of bullying within aging services facilities, where many victims often feel destined to stay within the confines of their own rooms to avoid the gossip, intimidation, and other bullying behavior that can surface among residents. According to the article, studies suggest about 1 in 5 older adults encounter bullying, perhaps as an "outgrowth of frustrations characteristic in communal settings" or a "reflection of issues unique to getting older," such as a sense of losing independence or control. Other times, people resort to bullying to retaliate for unaddressed grievances or voice disagreements or prejudices.

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