Bullying occurs everywhere and at every stage in life.
The topic of bullying is getting a lot of press these days, especially cyberbullying among children and young adults. Unfortunately, it’s always been a part of life, so it should not surprise you that bullying carries over into adulthood as well. Here at Springpoint at Home, our aides receive training on how to recognize all forms of abuse, including bullying.
The bullying of elders occurs in every living situation, from senior care settings to in the home. We tend to think that staff and caregivers bully the elder, but there are just as many elders who bully staff, caregivers and other residents.
Individuals with a lifelong tendency to bully can be aggressive and controlling and the cliques you remember from high school are alive and well in every setting. But tendencies toward aggression and control does not account for everyone. Elders in senior care settings may feel frustrated and out of control so they resort to bullying. These behaviors include social ostracism, rumors, verbal, physical or sexual abuse, invasion of personal space and stealing or damaging personal property. Mental illness, dementia and chronic pain problems can heighten a person’s aggression because they have difficulty communicating. At the same time, these are often the people who are more vulnerable and prone to being a victim of bullying.
Alienation of people who are different is a bullying tactic our Aging Life Care Advisor ™/Care Management Team has sadly seen more than once. The elder who believes someone who uses a scooter instead of a walker should not be allowed to live in “their” senior care setting. Elders who believe that someone of a different sexual orientation or race should not be in “their” care setting is another common form of ostracism that can devolve into more harmful behavior.
When it comes to addressing bullying, prevention, mediation and resolution conflict is of the utmost importance to the State of New Jersey, every senior care community and home care agency. Springpoint at Home has mandatory training and education designed to be sensitive to bullying, the underlying causes and how to mediate the situation.
Here at Springpoint at Home, because our aides work one-on-one with elders, we conduct education at all staff levels steeped in diversity and inclusion for the prevention of bullying. We will not tolerate an employee who bullies, nor will we tolerate our aides being bullied.
Our entire Springpoint at Home team is trained to recognize the signs when someone may be bullied. These may include:
- Changes in behavior, like no longer bathing or eating
- A sudden desire to change their care arrangement
- Depression, suicidal tendencies, anxiety, fearfulness or anger
- Changes in social behavior, such as reluctance to participate in group activities or refusal to spend time in common areas
It is important to investigate these signs, while not jumping to conclusions. But intervening when appropriate is our highest priority so that your loved one lives a full and happy life.