Bullying of the Elderly

Being elderly can mean having increased vulnerability to bullying even in families as well as the broader community. Physical disability, loss of strength both physically and mentally may all contribute.

The elderly who have lost their independence, whether they might be living in an aged care facility or within a family, are susceptible to bullying. As people enter old age, they may have less funds to spend on legal help, medical help and all other services or may have lost the capacity to even reach for help.

Tolerance for old age can be lacking in some circumstances. Family members may resent having the burden of caring for an aged parent or relative especially if the relationship was never particularly healthy. Middle aged children of the elderly may also be financially dependent themselves on their aging parent and would like full, unfettered access to the financial pool.

This can lead to abuse happening in the home where the aged person is totally dependent and unable to leave. Abuse and/or neglect can even happen in an aged care facility where staff members have no compassion or tolerance for the needs of the elderly and should never been employed to work there.

Most of the abuse happens behind closed doors and is often covered up or labeled "an accident" such as a fall. "Australian statistics indicate that as many as 5% of the population over the age of 65 could be subject to some form of mistreatment by someone they trust." (P. 131, Chapter 13, Bullying in the Elderly, by Trish Bulbeck: Bullying From Backyard to Boardroom 2nd Edition. Edited by Paul McCarthy, Jane Rylance, Robin Bennett, Helga Zimmerman.)

Story ABC news July 16 2013: Mistreated nursing home residents 'better off in a concentration camp'.

"Traumatised relatives have raised shocking claims that their loved ones were left to die unnecessarily or in great pain because of a critical lack of staff and training in nursing homes."

Legislation to protect elder abuse

Legislation that specifically protects the elderly from abuse is generally available in most states and territories through domestic violence family violence legislation.

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