Do You Have Bullies in Your Community?

My friend told me “I admit that I was eavesdropping in a restaurant when I heard the word ‘bullying’ mentioned. Expecting to hear a story about kids in school I was quite surprised when they were talking about a senior community not too far away. Claiming territory in the dining room seemed to be the most common. Some tables were saved for friends of their own, no newcomers allowed. Name calling was a close second, especially in the Bingo room if a game was not won by someone in their clique.”

She continued, “They talked about a 70 year old woman who was abused so badly i.e. having her dinner table intentionally bumped with a wheelchair hard enough that her soup spilled onto the floor. After being spit on in the elevator, because her partner of 30 years, who had passed away, was a woman, she’d had enough. She filed a law suit against the community and moved to another community.”

Most bullies attempt to feel superior by making others social outcasts if they don’t comply with the bully’s demands. Women tend to do more bullying than men in the senior communities. They often choose to criticize the same person and insult them, trip them entering the dining room, and refuse to allow them to join in a social group. Men have been noted for their sexual bullying in some communities.

Staff and food servers can be bullies and not even be aware of it. They may think they are ‘teasing’ a resident when actually they are insulting or belittling them. Food servers, staff, and residents have an obligation to report such behavior. Administrators must support those who bring bullying to their attention. It’s important that they make arrangements to receive confidential information from witnesses.

Kind Dining® training offers solutions in how to counteract and disarm people who bully, by using non-confrontational responses. You can be taught how to build a solid foundation to reject aggressive behavior and to adopt a Code of Conduct for everyone in your community. Your staff can learn to prevent a situation from progressing before it becomes a calamity. Sensitivity training can make a huge difference to your community. Everyone, including administration, needs to carry the knowledge of how to avert a bully’s disaster when they happen upon a situation. All of your residents have a right and expectation to live a peaceful life in the community they chose to call home.

Our B Kind ® Tip:Do you know how to avert bullying, allowing all your retirement community residents to live in peace.