How Senior Centers Are Dealing With Bullying

Senior centers across the country are beginning to raise more awareness for the cause.

May 14, 2018

Nursing homes and senior centers across the country are implementing new programs in their facilities to combat bullying. Turns out bullying isn’t just for kids and teens anymore, but is following the elderly into nursing homes and it’s getting ugly. Some centers report that members turn others away from their lunch tables. Dances, which are supposed to be a place to have fun and let go, are becoming a place to gossip. Caretakers have noticed, which is why new programs are being introduced into the centers to prevent bullying.

“There’s the clique system just like everywhere else,” said Betsy Gran,who was once the assistant director at San Francisco’s 30th Street Senior Center. “It’s like ‘Mean Girls,’ but everyone is 80.”

The 30th Street Center is one of many looking to put an end to the bullying. That’s why it’s teamed up the Institute on Aging to create an anti-bullying program. Staffers have received 18-hours of training to learn what exactly bullying is and how to deal with it in the homes. Seniors have also been encouraged to attend similar classes to learn when to intervene and alert staff. They’ve even put up signs and mats to designate “Bully Free Zones” around the facility.

A social work professor at Arizona State University, Robin Bonifas,thinks that the seniors are bullying as a way of coping with getting older. She notes that seniors may start to see their independence decline and by bullying it makes them feel powerful. Reports suggest that bullying among seniors isn’t recognized as much as it is among young people. Other campaigns have also rolled out programs to spread the word across the country through booklets circulated by the National Center for Assisted Living.

Source: Associated Press