How To Handle Assisted Living Residents Who Become Bullies?

This is a very interesting “plea” we received a while back from a facility owner who was dealing with a resident bully who was threatening to ‘close down’ the facility simply because the administrator/owner was enforcing the ‘no pets’ rule.   This is an interesting issue, and one that I am sure can be incredibly difficult to deal with.

Here is the letter/plea we received from the facility owner:

Dear David,

Frank and Sandie are threatening to “close down” our wonderful assisted living facility – with a lawyer. Lawyers and court open up risk of an empty house until things are sorted out. It’s my biggest fear that because she’s homeless, she takes you all with her. This is all to punish me for enforcing the no dogs in an ALF rule. You’ve all asked me to get rid of them before, and offered to help. Now is the time to come forward to help me save your home, and that of future seniors in need – This has been such a wonderful group effort, to see it torn down inches from the goal line so to speak, is unthinkable. Frank is an uninvited guest who’s threatened & intimidated us all. Sandie’s room has one bed – you all got notice in Sept to look for new homes. I’ve asked nothing of her you haven’t all done – and given lots of notice. These are matters of record. I am sure you don’t agree with this attitude, based on who you’ve been to me; dear and loyal friends and volunteers. I enjoy helping people – I’d say it’s what I live for.

She was single & unemployed.  Jeff was disabled/depressed and Lenny was homeless – I was a person with a dream to help people. We became a family but now she’s siding with Frank and it’s time for the rest of you to decide if you’ll keep letting her be insensitive and without compassion. She’s clearly doing this because his bullying lets them both have a free ride at our expense. Her selfish behavior and his bullying may make you all homeless – she appears blind to this. You will either let that happen, or you will let me and our facility continue to care for you by stepping forward on the side of right and refusing to tolerate bullies.

I Care deeply for you all. I was moved to tears of joy when I saw you, Jeff, recently out of your room and smiling. We all know how much I love Lenny, despite his bad habits. Does Sandie look like she cares about You?? My biggest fear is because of Sandie, you might all have to leave. We’ve come too far together for me to let that happen; but I am one person only. I ask you all to please, in your quiet time, pray for  wisdom, guidance and protection. That’s what I’m doing every day. I love you all dearly, and because I’m having to be here, to support what’s going on there, doesn’t mean my heart is not with you all at our assisted living home. This too, shall pass – Ideally, our facility House will be up and running soon.
– Doreen

How do, and should facilities handle residents who become bullies – residents who may be unstable or with dementia or other issues – who become aggressive and abusive?

2 thoughts on “How To Handle Assisted Living Residents Who Become Bullies?

  1. Chuck Bongiovanni

    Great article David!!!! Unfortunately, I hate to say treat them like you would a kid who is a bully, but the technique may be close. Politely, let them know that you would do almost anything to make them happy, but there are some policies that simply cannot be changed.

  2. admin Post author

    Agreed – there are some policies that can’t be changed, and that may unfortunately result in losing a resident…
    Maybe “How can we make you happy within the boundaries of our rules and policies?”
    Thanks Chuck for the great comment!