October was National Bullying Prevention Month

Stop bullying. Word cloud illustration in shape of hand print showing protest.

National Bullying Prevention Month is a campaign in the United States. Founded in 2006 by PACER's National Bullying Prevention Center, the campaign is held during the month of October and unites communities nationwide to educate and raise awareness of bullying. With the changing demographics, bullying among seniors is a growing problem. Some bullying behaviors common in the senior population include:

  • Criticizing or ridiculing
  • Verbal or physical abuse of victims
  • Stealing or destroying property
  • Saving seats or reserving spaces for clique members in dining rooms, restaurants, or during outings or other events
  • Spreading rumors or whispering when the victim enters a room

Types of bullies

  • Verbal bully – rumors, name calling, sarcastic or demeaning language
  • Physical bully – physically harming the victim
  • Secondary adult bully – does not initiate the bullying, but joins in to avoid becoming a victim
  • Cyber bully – using the internet, texting, e-mail to harm others
  • Pair bullies – two individuals intimidating others
  • Gang bullies – a primary bully with a number of followers.

Dementia and bullying

Individuals with dementia may be victims or they may display bullying behavior. Varying levels of dementia should be taken into consideration. Dementia can sometimes be the cause of violence since someone with dementia may wrongly perceive things as threatening. They may also forget previous consequences related to bullying behavior.

Ways to deal with bullying

For agencies

  • Acknowledge the problems and develop an approach
  • Zero tolerance on bullying
  • Implement codes of conduct
  • Enforce consequences for bullying

For victims

  • Ignore the bully
  • Report to the proper individuals/authorities
  • Document the instances of bullying

For bystanders – speak up! We are all responsible to get involved and stop bullying.

Source: Kentuckiana Regional Planning & Development Agency (KIPDA)