I Stand Up for Myself! – Recognizing and addressing bullying amongst seniors

It’s easy to think that bullying is a thing reserved for school-aged children and that as we grow older we outgrow this kind of negative behaviour. Unfortunately, though, this isn’t always the case. Bullying can continue to exist for a long time after we leave behind the classroom and the schoolyard. As adults, we may experience bullying at work, at social events, among family and friends, and even in places we might not expect, like the apartment complexes, homes, and retirement residences where we live.

According to Educaloi, bullying is an act that involves the use of unkind words, actions, or images “to hurt, humiliate, or socially exclude someone, or [to] lower their self-esteem.” In adulthood, it can become a particularly difficult issue to address when it touches vulnerable groups, such as seniors who live alone or in a retirement community. Victims of this kind of abuse may feel, or be, unable to defend themselves against the bullying they experience. In some cases, they may even feel ashamed, or like there is no one they can trust enough to share their concerns with.

And even those who feel confident they could handle the situation for a loved one must remember that things can be different when the person being bullied is you. What would happen if the bully in question was your friend or your neighbour? Someone you live with? Or your child? Would you know what to do?

To inform people about the realities of bullying for seniors, DIRA-Estrie has developed an interactive workshop aimed at seniors and the people who work with them. The “I Stand Up for Myself!” workshop helps participants recognize different forms of bullying; understand the consequences of bullying; identify the people involved in bullying situations; offers participants tools they can use in a bullying situation; and promotes mutual respect.

Made possible thanks to the support of the Ministère de la famille’s Quebec ami des aînés program, the project is produced by DIRA-Estrie, an organization working to prevent and fight against abuse directed at older adults in the Townships.

We are pleased to offer the “I Stand Up for Myself!” workshop during the next Health Link session in Bury on Wednesday, March 21 at the Armoury Community Centre (563 Main).

The session starts at 11:30 am with a delicious lunch (a donation of $5 is required to help cover the costs of the meal) and a little time for visiting and announcements. Marie-Philippe and Jocelyn, our bilingual workshop facilitators, will join us from 1:00 – 2:00 pm to help everyone learn how they can stand up for themselves!

To reserve your spot for lunch or confirm your attendance for the presentation only, please call Kim Fessenden at 819-872-3771, ext. 2. Reservations are required for lunch. If you plan to arrive only for the presentation, we ask you that you arrive by 12:45 pm so we can begin at 1:00 pm.

Health Link is a series of English-language health information sessions for residents of the Haut-Saint-François region. This project is a collaboration between The Eaton Valley Community Learning Centre, the CIUSSS de l’Estrie – CHUS’s Haut-Saint-François RLS, the Centre d’Action Bénévole du Haut-Saint-François, and Townshippers’ Association. It is a CHSSN initiative funded by Health Canada through the Roadmap for Canada’s Official Languages 2013-2018: Education, Immigration, Communities.

This weekly column in The Record keeps you in touch with Townshippers’ Association’s activities and news. For other ways to keep in touch with us, visit our website www.Townshippers.org, follow us on Facebook.com/Townshippers, Twitter @Townshippers or get in touch with our offices in Sherbrooke at 100 – 257 Queen, 819-566-5717, toll-free: 1-866-566-5717, or Lac-Brome at 3-584 Knowlton Rd, 450-242-4421, toll-free: 1-877-242-4421.

Publication: Keeping in Touch column, Sherbrooke Record, Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Photo Credit: DIRA-Estrie

Photo Caption: The “I Stand Up for Myself!” workshop from DIRA-Estrie is helping seniors and the people who work with them to learn how to tackle bullying.