Robin P. Bonifas

Q: Why are residents with dementia common targets of bullies?

A: Those with dementia may ask repetitive questions or invade personal space. Bullying is around getting power over and controlling others. 

Q: Do you see gender differences?

A: Yes, women do the social relationship bullying, such as gossiping, making fun or spreading rumors. Men tend to be more outright aggressive.

Q: What are some ways to redirect a resident who is bullying?

A: Limit setting. The person who is bullying, they need to be in control. But tell them that behavior isn’t acceptable. Be consistent by saying,“Everyone is welcome to play bingo. Everyone is welcome in the dining room.” 

Q: How can you empower residents being bullied?

A: Help them learn to stand up for themselves. Or work with them on being in places where they will be less likely to be bullied. You can encourage them to move closer to the entertainer at an event, or to sit with staff. 

Q: What about when residents bully staff? Can staff set limits? 

A: Yes, and staff must have the support of administration.