WSLS ran an article on the epidemic of bullying in today’s nursing homes. Around the U.S., caregivers say they’ve seen gossip, exclusion and even incidents of physical violence popping up. Arizona State University professor Robin Bonifas says for some who see their independence and sense of control disappear late in life, bullying gives them a feeling of regaining lost power. Bonifas, a social work professor at Arizona State University and author of the book “Bullying Among Older Adults: How to Recognize and Address an Unseen Epidemic,” said existing studies suggest about 1 in 5 seniors encounters bullying. She sees it as an outgrowth of frustrations characteristic in communal settings, as well a reflection of issues unique to getting older.
Every month, as many as 20 percent of older Americans who live in nursing homes are subjected to seriously bad behavior from one of their fellow residents, such as physical and verbal abuse, privacy invasions or unwanted sexual attention. “The findings suggest that these altercations are widespread and common in everyday nursing home life,” says study co-author Karl Pillemer, Ph.D., professor of gerontology in medicine at Weill Cornell Medical College in a press release.
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.