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CHA Partners with Local Police Departments to Promote Senior Safety and Prevent Bullying
Posted Date: 10/23/2013
In response to growing demand from area seniors, Cambridge Health Alliance has developed partnerships with the Cambridge and Everett Police Departments to present “Healthy Safety Tips for Older Adults.” The series of talks launched last month at local senior centers and senior housing, during which police officers and CHA’s Roberta Robinson, director of geriatric outreach, focus on topics including scams, safety in buildings, and bullying.

The feedback has been very positive. “While bullying among children and teenagers has gained a lot of media attention recently, this unwanted aggressive behavior frequently occurs with older adults,” said Robinson. “The talks have provided seniors with a safe and welcoming forum to address these issues while raising overall awareness of how certain actions and behavior impact them.”

According to Robin Bonifas, an Arizona State University gerontology expert, between 10 and 20 percent of residents in senior care homes are mistreated by peers. Examples include unkind gossip, social bullying, or exclusion. This may lead to isolation, with seniors avoiding common areas, remaining in their apartments, and not participating in events, which, in turn, leads to depression, anxiety, and other health issues.

The topic is particularly timely, as October is National Bullying Prevention Month. Presentations have taken place at the Cambridge Council on Aging and senior housing developments in Cambridge and Everett, with plans to continue offering them regularly. For more information, contact Roberta Robinson at 617-665-3113.

Cambridge Health Alliance is an academic community health system committed to providing high quality care in Cambridge, Somerville and Boston’s metro-north communities. CHA has expertise in primary care, specialty care and mental health/substance use services, as well as caring for diverse and complex populations. It includes three hospital campuses, a network of primary care and specialty practices and the Cambridge Public Health Dept. CHA patients have seamless access to advanced care through the system’s affiliation with Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston. CHA is a Harvard Medical School teaching affiliate and is also affiliated with Harvard School of Public Health, Harvard School of Dental Medicine and Tufts University School of Medicine.