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February 26 is Pink Shirt Day. For this occasion, A&O: Support Services for Older Adults, with support from the Canadian Network for the Prevention of Elder Abuse, is launching an anti-bullying campaign on social media to help raise awareness of bullying of older adults: #PinkShirtDayForAll.

In a recent Canadian study, preliminary reports identified that 57% of English-speaking older adult respondents reported being bullied in the last 4 months.

Bullying awareness and prevention activities have been traditionally aimed at younger generations, even though the behaviours occur across the life course. Minimal research has been done to understand the full prevalence of bullying among older adults, although there have been countless stories identifying conflicts in groups of older adults (either living together in a facility, or gathering on a regular basis).Bullying (also known as harassment) happens when a person or a group of people hurts, threatens, or scares a peer, either on purpose or unintentionally. Bullying is usually a repeated pattern of behaviours. People who experience bullying often have a difficult time defending themselves.

Creating a supportive community environment, where people are comfortable identifying and challenging bullying behaviours, is vital to the overall health and quality of life for older Canadians. This can include:

  • Having clear guidelines to address bullying behaviours in a facility/organization’s code of conduct 
  • Teaching strategies to staff and participants/facility residents to de-escalate situations
  • Posting signage to promote kindness, civility, and the importance of inclusion
  • Explicitly communicating that common spaces should be welcoming and safe for everyone
  • Increasing education and awareness through poster campaigns, discussion groups, presentations etc.

By increasing awareness of bullying and providing education, support, and resources to prevent it, we can help older adults live healthier, happier lives. There are organizations in Manitoba that can help people who struggle with bullying in social circles, see the Resources section below. 

On February 26, join @AandOSupport and @CNPEA on Twitter and Facebook to share our messages, and post photos of yourself, your friends, families, and allies wearing pink. Don't forget to add the hashtag #PinkShirtDayForAll

bullyingfactsheet coverWe have created a helpful fact sheet, as part of the #PinkShirtDayForAll campaign. It summarizes 

  • the definition of bullying,
  • its causes,
  • its various impacts,
  • strategies for prevention and
  • available support services in Manitoba and in Canada. 

Share it widely on February 26 and beyond!


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