Alert
Close

Introducing AARP RealPad: The Wi-Fi Tablet That Makes It Easy to Share, Learn, Connect and Play. Learn more

Family
poll

Most Popular
Articles

Viewed

Nothing has been viewed

Older Adults Can Be Bullies, Too

Seniors in nursing homes, assisted living facilities face peer pressure from other seniors

Today we often read about cyberbullies among young people, but bullying also plagues senior centers, assisted living facilities and nursing homes. Between 10 and 20 percent of residents in senior care homes are mistreated by peers, says Robin Bonifas, an Arizona State University gerontology expert.

See also: Caregiving Resource Center.

Senior man yelling at senior woman, Older adults can be bullies too

Seniors are bullying other seniors in assisted living facilities and nursing homes. — Photo by Corbis Bridge/Alamy

Nationwide, that translates to hundreds of thousands of people who endure abuse. Many incidents of name-calling, bossy behavior, loud arguments and, at its most extreme, physical violence go unreported.

"It's very difficult for a lot of our seniors to step up and say something has happened," says Mary Jones, director of elder rights at the Area Agency on Aging in West Palm Beach, Fla.  Some facilities adopt practices that aim to preempt aggressive behavior.

If you're sizing up a place, experts recommend asking whether it follows these practices: Residents are required to sign a code of conduct to treat peers with consideration and respect; resident "ambassadors" help newcomers transition into the community; staff members coach residents on how to handle snubs and aggression; staff members encourage bystanders to act in positive ways when they observe bullying, being respectful of possible physical or cognitive impairment; and offenders receive a written reprimand or, in the case of multiple complaints, stronger penalties.

You may also like: Retirement communities 101. »

Related Video

Elder abuse is becoming more common in the U.S. But public awareness has been slow to develop. See All Videos »

Topic Alerts

You can get weekly email alerts on the topics below. Just click “Follow.”

Manage Alerts

Processing

Please wait...

progress bar, please wait

Tell Us WhatYou Think

Please leave your comment below.

Grandparent
Resources

GrandFacts

National and state fact sheets listing services, programs,  benefits, laws and policies for grandparents raising children. Read

GrandFamilies Guide

Information, tips and tools for grandparents raising grandchildren. Read

Discounts & Benefits

From companies that meet the high standards of service and quality set by AARP.

1-800flowers.com (1-800flowers.com)

Members save 20% or $20 on purchases of $79.99  from
Fruitbouquets.com.

Collette Vacations

Members save up to $200 per couple on select tours with Collette Vacations.

Live Nation

Members save 25% or more when buying tickets in groups of four from Ticketmaster.

Member Benefits

Join or renew today! Members receive exclusive member benefits & affect social change.

Being Social

Featured
Groups

Wisdom Circle

Join our circle to ask for — or give — advice on topics such as love, friendship, grief, parenting and grandparenting. Discuss

Grandparenting: Joys & Challenges

There are many joys from being a grandparent, so let's celebrate them together! Discuss

Raising Grandchildren

Grandparent caring for grandkids share tips and discuss challenges, solutions and triumphs along the way. Join