While elder abuse is usually the abuse of residents by staff, it can also include abuse of residents by their peers (meaning other residents). An article on MSNBC quotes Dr. Mark Lachs of Cornell University “I personally think…that it’s far more prevalent than any other form of interpersonal aggression that you see in older people.”

Dr. Lachs is the lead author of the study about this type of abuse. While he has seen plenty of evidence of the problem, and the nursing home workers can attest to it, for some reason it is not “on the radar screen.” Most cases involve two residents physically assaulting each other, and most times, it is not malicious but due to dementia and confusion in one or both parties.

More research needs to be done regarding peer abuse and its triggers but the problem raises the question of whether people with dementia should be housed together in the general nursing home population.

See the full article here.

Bo Frith