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Article written by Scott and Stacey Fischer

The definition of bullying is unwanted, aggressive behavior that involves a real or perceived power imbalance. It is present on playgrounds all over the world but according to research, it happens in ten to twenty percent of senior community-based living environments.

Clique-style behavior can naturally manifest itself in close-knit congregations such as senior living communities. When residents have several meals a day with the same people sitting at the same tables, you will eventually have a usual crowd of friends. Communities offer a wide variety of activities each day to appeal to the many different interests of residents. When those groups exclude others, it can have a real impact on a senior in their home environment. They can become depressed, vulnerable, and not want to go to meals or activities for fear of rejection by their peers.

Cognitive and physical differences appear in senior living communities, just like they do on playgrounds. You can expect to see a fair number of residents using wheelchairs, walkers or having escorts through a community. For their safety and wellbeing, staff must assist some residents to and from meals and activities. Seniors may be annoyed that someone is repeating themselves, not understanding the different forms of dementia. Those who do not need assistance can separate themselves from the rest of the senior population, quickly forming a hierarchy among the residents. This, again, can be devastating to the senior that needs help.

Most senior living communities are trained to spot this type of behavior and intercede when necessary. They want their residents to thrive both physically and mentally. They take special time to get to know their residents before moving in, noting their interests and their likes and dislikes. They introduce them to ambassadors (a resident) in their community that will invite them to eat, paint, etc.

For many of our seniors, moving can be so overwhelming. Often they have had to downsize, leave their home, or recently lost a spouse. It’s important for find a community they can thrive in with an environment that welcomes them and does not isolate them.

At Options For Senior Living, we know the welcoming communities that can really help loved ones find the care they need and enjoy their golden years in peace with new friendships and experiences.