October 2021- Case Managers

October 2021- Case Managers

As much as we hope that something as terrible as bullying would never happen or at least end with childhood, it doesn’t. Bullying extends into adulthood and it unfortunately, does not stop as adults grow older.  According to Robin Bonifas, gerontology expert at Arizona State University, 10-20% of resident of senior living or senior facilities have experienced bullying.


Why Do Older Adults Bully Others? Experts such as Bonifas have found that bully behaviors in older adults can be a result of feeling powerless over the rest of their lives.  They may have lost their home, their driving privileges or their mobility. Engaging in mean or degrading behavior towards others, may give them some measure of control back. Just like in kids, bullying can give a person social status. Bullying can also be a lifelong behavior if never addressed. Keep in mind that harassing behavior could also be associated with mental illness, dementia or physical discomfort, especially in older adults.


What Does Bullying Look Like in Older Adults?

Older adult bullying may include:

  • verbal aspects such as name calling, teasing, making threats or telling targeted jokes

  • physical assaults such as pushing, pinching, hitting or even destroying property

  • anti-social tactics including shunning, excluding, gossiping or spreading rumors

  • forming cliques or ostracizing certain people during meal times or activities


How Can Older Adults Respond to Bullies?

As hard as it may be to ignore the behavior, it does weaken the bullies perceived power.

Reacting or showing the bully that you are upset can do the opposite. Other things you can do to respond to a bully may include:

  • maintain eye contact and remain neutral

  • don’t interrupt, provoke or show anger

  • report to staff or building manager

  • focus your energy on positive things


Signs That An Older Adult is Being Bullied:

Self-isolating and/or avoiding events or activities or a sudden interest in moving, can be a sign that someone is being bullied. Other signs may include a depressed mood, anxiety, worry or unexplained physical complaints such as stomach problems or headaches.


How Can You Help? Spreading awareness about bullying in older adults is key to addressing this growing problem. According to the US Census Bureau, older adults are projected to outnumber children for the first time in history in 2030. We have spent decades addressing childhood bullying and only recently are even recognizing the issues around bullying in older adults. Here are some other ways you can combat bullying.

As an individual you can:

  • report the problem

  • encourage the victim to develop a skillset to make them less of a target

  • make an effort to always include others

  • be a friend that someone can confide in and keep information they share confidential

  • turn down invitations to gossip or be part of a bad-mouthing session about someone else

  • call gossip what it is. Don’t be afraid to say “this sounds like gossip” or “I don’t do gossip, let’s talk about something else.”


Hello! I challenge you to identify something you can do to prevent bullying of older adults in your community.  Are you or someone you know being bullied? If so, reach out to your housing manager, a Case Manager or a trusted friend.


Be well,


Julie Larson, Lead Case Manager


We have heard the classic saying “treat others the way you want to be treated,” also known as the Golden Rule.  As cliché as it sounds, it holds merit. Every single day when my dad did the morning announcements, which was a daily occurrence as a vice principal, he would finish with the line “work hard and be nice.”  While that motto was aimed at the often rambunctious teenagers, it reigns true for all age groups. Kindness isn’t just volunteering your time or donating your money.  While these acts are of course kind, kindness can be much simpler.  A simple smile while passing someone in the hallway or a quick hello to your neighbor can go a long way.  You never know what somebody is going through and how meaningful these small gestures can be. The best thing about kindness is, it’s contagious! Have you ever been complimented at some point throughout your day and it lifted your entire mood? Maybe even prompting you to spread the wealth and pass a compliment on to someone else? Kindness has that effect on people!

There are a number of health benefits of being kind as well! Here are some examples:

  • Kindness releases hormones to help you feel good

  • Helping others in need can lead to serotonin boosts in your brain (a.k.a. the happy chemical), making you feel satisfied and content

  • Kindness has positive effects on your cardiovascular health and brain health as well

  • Kindness can release Oxytocin, expanding blood vessels and lowering blood pressure. Meanwhile, anger and stress cause the opposite effect. Both blood pressure and heart rate go up. It is both mentally exhausting and physically exhausting to be angry

Especially because of the past year and everything everyone has been through, kindness and empathy is now more important than ever. I will circle back to the beginning of this writing and the idea of the “Golden Rule.” Think about how better off the world would be if we all treated one another the way we personally wished to be treated. Give someone a compliment today, or say hello to someone in passing and see how it makes you feel! You might surprise yourself!


I hope everyone is having a fantastic Fall! The autumn is my favorite time of the year, leaves changing colors, a chill in the air, pumpkin treats and of course, Halloween. It reminds me of being a little kid again. I hope you all have similar experiences this Fall. Enjoy the weather!


Drake Deno, Case Manager