A study showed last year that 1 in 5 senior citizens in retirement homes are bullied by their fellow residents.
Hester Trompeter, student behavioural sciences at the Radboud University in Nijmegen, interviewed 121 residents. According to Trouw, the bullying took the shape of ignoring people, gossiping and systematically shutting others out from common activities. Study coordinator Ron Scholte added that since the interviewees represented the people willing to talk, the real problem might even be bigger.
Last week the Ouderenfonds (National Fund for the Elderly) called for a protocol for dealing with bullying among the elderly. On the fund’s website its director Jan Romme gave a harrowing example of a man who was afraid to leave his room for seven years and finally died in complete loneliness.
Romme sees as one of the causes of the bullying problem that the elderly no longer can choose which retirement home to live in. “Bullies are put in the same homes as their former victims, and have the advantage of having all the time in the world now, and of having been able to perfect their techniques.”