WHEN YOUR LOVED ONE IS ABUSED IN A NURSING HOME: A PERSONAL STORY

My sister opened the door of our mother’s nursing home room one afternoon just in time to see the nursing assistant hit her. It was a real haymaker that snapped Mother’s head back.

“Why did you hit my mother?” my sister asked.

“I asked her to sit up and she didn’t,” the young woman replied. Our mother was....

….FULL ARTICLE

MARRIED COUPLE MEDICAID ASSET PRESERVATION USING RESOURCE ASSESSMENTS

Medicaid Resource Assessment are an important tool to understand and utilize when one spouse is in need of long term care. A portion of the Medicaid rules is designed to protect the community spouse (spouse at home) from impoverishment and unnecessary dissipation of family assets. Only the institutionalized spouse (spouse in a facility) is required to have assets of $2,000 or less and a pre-paid funeral.

….FULL ARTICLE

CAREGIVER SUPPORT GROUPS: IS THERE ONE THAT’S RIGHT FOR YOU?

If you’re a caregiver, you may have already read articles about the importance of preventing burnout. Usually these articles include a suggestion to join a support group. Perhaps you’re reluctant to do so because you wonder what caregiver groups are all about and whether joining one would really help you.  The overall goal of caregiver support groups is to enhance participants’ coping skills through mutual support and information sharing. Objectives may include:.....

….FULL ARTICLE

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Some common characteristics of people who bully:


•  Seek to control others

•  Feel important by:

•  Being powerful and controlling

•  Making others feel threatened, fearful or hurt

•  Causing and observing conflict between people

•  Have difficulty tolerating individual differences

•  Have a lack empathy

•  Likely to have few friends and social relationships


At the same time, bullying among older adults also seems to be associated with loss.


•  Loss of sense of value  

•  Loss of social identity and roles

•  Loss of family and a sense of belonging


Older bullies may be seeking control at a time in their life when they feel powerless.


•  Some negative behaviors may be attempts to regain a sense of self identity


Elderly women tend to engage in more passive aggressive behavior like gossiping and whispering. Men are more likely to make negative in-your-face comments and threats of physical harm. Both can become territorial in their environment.


Characteristics of peoplewho are bullied:


•  Typically have trouble defending themselves.

•  Do nothing to “cause” the bullying.

•  Often experience a sense of powerlessness


Two types of people are often targeted with bullying:


Passive Targets


•  May be highly emotional over loss of independence and recent life changes

•  Have difficulty in social  interactions

•  May be shy and insecure

•  May have early stage dementia

•  Have racial/ethnic, spiritual beliefs, or sexual orientation perceived as “different.”


Proactive Targets


•  New to the facility

•  Friendly, outgoing, and well liked (Seen as a threat to the Bully’s status)

•  Have frequent family and  guest visits

•  Have nicer personal  property items


Who are these Bullies?


Individuals who bully their peers often exhibit these behaviors:


•  Intimidate staff

•  Being Bossy with no real friends

•  Constantly Criticize and Complain about others


Most seniors have extraordinary strategies for coping with the challenges of bullying. They take care of the problem without it escalating and having to be addressed by family and facilities staff.  Ways they handle the situation themselves are:


•  Avoid contact

•  Do not respond or engage

•  Just “let it go” or tune it out

•  Work to calm others down and diffuse

•  Spend time with pets or in individual activities

•  Build Relationship with supportive individuals

•  If needed get the staff involved to separate them from the  environment


What you can do as the family of the Elder is make sure they are not showing signs of anxiety or stress, and watch for depression. Be sure to ask questions and listen for clues. Check in with the staff for updates on changes in routine or social involvement. A good facility will be aware of any unusual behaviors and the social climate.


It is very important to make sure an anti-bullying plan is in place to keep your parents safe and comfortable. The discussion is valuable. Regardless of what they may say, all facilities have a potential for bullying.  

Senior or Elder bullying is becoming a problem in the aging population. You may think your loved one is safe from such things, but it is being shown that bullying is becoming a problem in Senior Social and Living Communities.


Elder Bullying and Elder Abuse are similar but are not the same thing. While Elder Abuse comes from someone in a position of power over the senior, Elder Bullying can come from senior peers as well, just as the children who are bullied at school.


Senior living facilities do an excellent job of taking care of our loved ones, but occasionally the personalities of the various people who live in the facilities and their interaction with other residents can be overlooked unless an obvious incident occurs. Just like the children who suffer in silence, many elders do as well.


Bullying occurs for much the same reasons and in much the same ways. Popularity, jealousy, being different, seclusion, and anger. Not being included in activities and socializing can be just as devastating for an eighty-year-old as an eight-year-old.


Bullying is characterized by a repetitive aggression or a one-time aggression that is either verbal, anti-social or physical

HOW SAFE ARE YOUR PARENTS?

in nature. These behaviors include:


•  Verbal: name calling, teasing, insults, taunts, threats, sarcasm, or pointed jokes targeting specific individuals

•  Physical: pushing, hitting, destroying property, or stealing

•  Anti-social: shunning/excluding, gossiping, spreading rumors, and using negative non-verbal body language such as mimicking, offensive gestures


Seniors often consider any behavior that is frightening or disturbing to be “bullying”.   

It is noted by the US Department of Health and Human Services that in any senior community up to 25% of the elders have been bullied at some point. This happens at the not only Assisted Living communities, but adult daycare centers, senior housing, retirement communities and senior centers. Senior environments with higher functioning residents or participants tend to have more problems with bullying.

DR. DANI VANDIVIERE

Dr Dani Vandiviere is a conflict and bullying specialist and CEO of Summit Conflict Resolutions and Trainings. She is the President of the Bluegrass Continuity of Care Association, a founding member of KY Association of Senior Services, a member Association for Gerontology, and an Elder Care Conflict Trainer and Mediator. She also offers training programs for the workers in the Eldercare industry, medical professional, elder’s families, organizations and businesses.

more articles by DR. dani vandiviere