Topics surrounding bullying has been synonymous with school-aged children, and rarely does another potential subject for that topic come to mind. You’ve probably heard of the elderly and the young being grouped together when discussing health issues, risk factors, and so on. There’s more than one common thread, and it’s bullying.

According to American Psychological Association (APA), bullying defined as a distinctive pattern of one of two things: intentionally humiliating others, or physically harming them. Even in senior living situations, as much as ten to twenty percent of the population encounter bullying at one point. It’s also believed that among that report, there are many more cases that are simply not reported, slapped under the guise of being just another aspect to community-based living.

Senior care usually includes subsidized housing, or senior living homes that develop into these small communities. Just like high school, there are cliques and “in-crowds” even in senior living situations. To some, it sounds silly. There’s the misconception that is often portrayed on television and cult classic movies like Happy Gilmore, where in that instance, you would assume that senior bullying would come from orderlies or other authority figures in the staffing department. That is simply not the case.

This clique-style behavior trends to manifest itself in close-knit congregations, such as senior living centers or other community-driven senior care centers. When you spend lunch at the same place every day, sitting at the same table, you eventually form a usual crowd. There’ nothing uncommon with that. It’s when those become exclusive and exclude others that it turns the tides.

Micro-societies, whether a schoolhouse or senior living center, share common threads between them. There are hierarchies, proverbial or otherwise, and they come out in the community setup, such as in senior care facilities. Age and experience take either cognitive abilities or physical abilities away from those enduring the aging process, which can often be why they’re in need of a senior care facility in the first place. As such, when these cliques form, they are often separated by those with higher-functioning cognitive skills, as those with lower perceived intelligence are shunned by the others. After that, it turns to physical differences.

In any senior living center, you can expect to see a fair amount of residents to be bound by either wheelchair or walker. You enter the second set of differences, where those that don’t require assistance and ignore the possibility of ever needing assistance in the future, separate themselves from the rest of their fellow senior care neighbors. You can quickly see how a hierarchy forms. Efforts to abolish these multiple forms of bullying, such as crafting policies, procedures, and properly training staff on how to seek out and identify these issues, are constantly underway, especially with public awareness of these issues coming into the light. Any population, including senior living situations, can breed this sense of bullying when not paid attention to.

Information for this article was provided in part by Carroll County Times.