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February 23, 2022 is Pink Shirt Day, a global movement to stand up to bullying and promote kindness. Bullying does not only affect kids and teens, it can happen to anyone, including older people.

For this reason, in 2020, CNPEA and A&O: Support Services for Older Adults launched the anti-bullying social media campaign #PinkShirtDayForAll to help raise awareness of bullying of older adults. This year, we are teaming up with Elder Abuse Prevention Ontario to keep the momentum going and celebrate Pink Shirt Day.

Bullying awareness and prevention activities have been traditionally aimed at younger generations, even though the behaviours occur across the life course. 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.

recent Canadian study by the Centre for Elder Research identified that

  • 57% of participants reported being bullied 
  • 56% reported having engaged in bullying behaviours
  • 44% reported witnessing bullying within the last four months
  • 20% of older adults in assisted living facilities report having experienced some form of peer bullying

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.

CNPEA and EAPO invite you to attend an informative webinar on February 23, 2022. The event will highlight the results of the Senior Bullying Project, a collaboration between the Sheridan Centre for Elder Research and EAPO and introduce a toolkit which provides best practices and helpful strategies to prevent and respond to to bullying between older adults. Register here.

Additionally, CNPEA updated the 2020 Fact Sheet on Senior Bullying developed with A&O Support Services for Older Adults, to create an Ontario-specific fact sheet. The fact sheets summarize:

  • the definition of bullying
  • causes
  • impacts
  • strategies for prevention and
  • available support services in Manitoba/Ontario and in Canada. 

By increasing awareness of bullying and providing education, support, and resources to prevent it, we can help older adults live healthier, happier lives.

So on February 23, join us for our webinar, share our resources widely, and don't forget to use the hashtag #PinkShirtDayForAll!



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