By Emilee Evans, Legal Intern
October is Domestic Abuse Awareness Month, and this blog series is focused on bullying and seniors. Bullying in nursing homes or long-term care facilities has been the overall theme of these blogs, however bullying among older adults has potential to occur under many other circumstances.
Other forms of bullying may include:
- Landlords taking advantage of renters,
- Bullying between roommates in a private home,
- Or caregivers (family or a paid nurse).
The past three posts have discussed in depth reasons behind bullying in long-term care facilities, the ways that residents and nurses can help during these instances, along with more resources that may assist in learning more in order to prevent these situations. This post addresses bullying that can occur outside of assisted living or long term care facilities.
For help regarding bullying by landlords, knowing your rights as a renter will assist in being able to defend yourself against unfair treatment. The following links may help in these events:
- The PAHMA anti-bullying initiative within the affordable housing industry
- Elder Law Answers provides an article regarding the problems renters face today
- Rights told by the Federal government seeing to renting disputes
- U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development also provides your rights as a resident, but does not apply to the Public Housing Program, and others, as described in the link.
- ELM also provides several brochures with information regarding renters’ rights:
- First, your rights concerning the eviction process.
- Second, your legal obligations that are stated under a leasing contract agreement.
- Third, information concerning utilities and repairs.
- Fourth, your legal rights as a mobile home park tenant.
- Finally, accessible landlord-tenant resources.
Considering bullying between roommates in a private home, these links will address ways to communicate effectively and to resolve other issues:
- Your rights and liabilities as a roommate are listed here.
- This article, by Psychology Today explains the complications of rooming, and although it addresses roommates in college, it is not subject to younger generations, and also includes issues of rooming between adult roommates.
For instances of bullying from a caregiver or family member, there are also resources that will identify potential reporting options or other ways to aid in the situation:
- American Psychological Association, which gives an overview of family and caregiving stressors and elder abuse.
- ELM also provides a brochure describing your rights concerning the people in your home, such as a family member or caregiver, and how you can ask them to leave if you feel you are being taken advantage of.
- The potential of abuse and neglect also arise in issues of bullying by a caregiver or family member to an older adult. HelpGuide.org has a helpful list of resources to get help along with assisting in identifying if this is an issue for you.
For more information regarding bullying within long-term care facilities, these links will provide additional advice to what the blog has presented thus far:
- A Webinar of an Anti-Bullying Senior Program: the Butterfly Club provides great tips in what you should do if you come across a bullying situation, ensuring that you don’t become a bully yourself.
- The National Long-Term Care Ombudsman Resource Center on Resident-to-Resident Aggression
- SeniorHomes.com provides a great resource, reiterating many of the points that have been presented, but also include new thoughts regarding the issue.
- The website by Programs for the Elderly also identify senior bullying among older adults and they provide a useful video recognizing these issues.
Additional, scholarly resources covering each of these sections may be found here:
The health and safety of all persons is a significant consideration especially as a person ages and becomes more vulnerable. These blogs have been written in hopes of providing the needed resources and information so that if you or a loved one falls victim to bullying, you may be able to get the help you need. Although bullying has been thought of as an issue among adolescents, it is becoming obvious that the issue is prevalent among older adults. Bullying is caused by pain, a lack of confidence, a need for power, sometimes by disability, and also may be a common result of communal living. In light of Domestic Violence Awareness Month, we at ELM hope these blogs may provide more insight into the issue of bullying among older adults along with resources to provide help and more information.