Bullying is as widespread among the elderly as it is among young people.
The Nationaal Ouderenfonds (National Fund for the Elderly) has received more than 200 reactions to its Bullying Protocol from workers in geriatric care in the past year .
The fund will launch its Bullying Platform on Thursday 19 April, the Netherlands’ national day against bullying. The platform is intended as meeting place for care professionals where they can exchange experiences and tips on how to deal with the issue.
The fund says bullying is just as common in homes for the elderly as in schools. Research conducted by Radboud University in Nijmegen shows that one in five elderly people has been the victim of bullying at some point. Care workers say the percentage is actually as high as 40 percent.
“Bullying can be difficult to prove, but has serious psychological and physical impact on the victim,” says a spokesperson for the Fund. Bullying can lead to isolation, loneliness and depression, but also to physical problems such as high blood pressure and stress.
National Fund for the Elderly chair Jan Romme says bullying is nothing to do with age, but everything with people. “Care institutions can be veritable hotbeds of bullying because, among other causes, elderly people get bored as a result of a lack of activities.”
A number of institutions for the elderly have introduced anti-bullying programmes as a result of the fund’s initiative.
© Radio Netherlands Worldwide