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Episode 97 - Dr. Robin Bonifas: Mean Girls at 70: Bullying Among Residents at Assisted Living Facilities

Monday, May 28, 2012, 10:03:06 AM

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In this episode, Dr. Robin Bonifas discusses her research on senior bullying and relationship changes in assisted living facilities. Dr. Bonifas shares her findings on how seniors experience problematic behaviors in assisted living facilities, how they cope, and their ideas on how to address bullying at the individual and facility level.

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Average Rating: 4.7 stars (3 listener reviews )

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Average Rating: 5stars  important research on a unique topic!, Monday, February 02, 2015

By Cassidy C :

I found the research described by Dr. Bonifas unique because “bullying” is not a term typically used to describe behavior past childhood and adolescence. Similarly, as my only experience is in a skilled nursing home, the problematic behavior I’ve witnessed among the elderly population was largely based on dementia symptoms. The research Dr. Bonifas explained is very important if we as social workers hope to create facilities for the elderly that reflect a trauma informed environment. I like how the qualitative research project is client-centered and allows the residents to comment on their own perceptions of bullying. This method allowed for the discovery of unexpected stressors like witnessing psychiatric symptoms of other residents. Because all residents may define a behavior differently, the only way to start to alleviate the incidence of bullying is to first find out what exactly bullying means at the facility.
The inclusion of resident recommended interventions to combat bullying and help victims cope gives an essential sense of optimism. I like that regular meetings to talk about issues related to bullying was included because it allows the residents to participate in decision-making. After all, residents are the “consumers” at an assisted living facility, and I enjoyed Dr. Bonifas’s use of this term. If long term care facilities do not take the perspective, needs, and wants of their consumers into account, then the residents are the ones who suffer the consequences. Overall, I found the research by Dr. Bonifas to be different, yet extremely important in the movement to better the lives of the deserving elderly population.

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Average Rating: 5stars  great information on a growing issue, Sunday, April 14, 2013

By Danielle S. :

Wow, this was an amazing podcast! I did not even realize that bullying was an issue among older adults who live in assisted living facilities. Dr. Bonifas discusses her study which explores this problem. She interviewed the residents to find out how they cope with the bullying, how they react to it and what they think should be done to address it. She also discusses the negative psychosocial affects that bullying has on the residents who are living in the facility. One aspect of this study that I really liked was that the participants were able to suggest interventions that will later be used to address this prevalent issue. I have never seen a study that asks the participants what they would like to see done as an intervention. This approach makes sense to me, as the facility is their home and they should be able to have a say in what should be done to solve the problem. I highly recommend this podcast to all social workers and family members who have loved ones living in nursing homes.

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Average Rating: 4stars  increasingly relevant research, Monday, January 28, 2013

By Dina Petrella :

This podcast brings into focus a growing concern for the elder population. The numbers of babyboomers aging out will present social workers and other professionals with new dilemmas and a need for new tools. There will likely be numerous changes to the current system of geriatric care. Having worked in SNFs, in both affluent suburban and poorer urban environments, I have experienced first-hand how population demographics within these facilities influences the culture. For now, ALFs are an option only those of a certain socioeconomic level can afford. Given the tensions that Dr. Bonifas describes over differences of values, ethnicities, religious beliefs and class, one can only imagine what issues would arise over differences of sexual orientation and gender expression. These and other issues will present themselves regardless of the type of community or institutional housing, and this pilot study is a positive step toward improving the wellbeing of this vulnerable population. The public tends to think of abuses within these settings as being perpetrated by staff; therefore, it would make sense to raise the consciousness of the public, as well as the administration and the residents who live within them.

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DISCLAIMER: The content shared by the presenter(s) and/or interviewer(s) of each podcast is their own and not necessarily representative of any views, research, or practice from the UB School of Social Work or the inSocialWork® podcast series.