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PurplePaisley

Bullying

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In December I moved into a independent senior home compromised of 184 residents from living in a regular apartment.  I am the youngest here at the age of 65.  It can be depressing most days seeing all the aging and what happens to them.  It seems the ambulance comes around the clock here.  I finally had to put up room darkening curtains as the red lights from the ambulance kept waking me up at night.

Sooooo.... I joined two groups here right off the bat. One was a Bible study group and the second one is a crochet/knitting group. I was bullied or chased out of the the Bible study group by members in the knitting group and elected to stay in the crochet/knitting group. The purpose was to learn how to crochet, so I have been enduring bullying from the members there almost daily.  Little did I know I made a huge error in leaving the Bible study group.  Of all the 8 members in the crochet/knitting group, all of them are extreme bullies. I do not drive, nor do I have a car, but they all go out together and do not include me but they talk about their outings in front of me. 

The members do not see me as being disabled, they see me as being the weakest link in the group, or so I was told.  Not one day goes by that I am not bullied by a member there.  So, I dropped out of the crochet/knitting group. 

There is one last group, a card game group that meets once a week and one member that always comes late bullies me in that game.  I am almost ready to give up on that one.

Being elderly, disabled and not in the greatest of shape makes it hard to make friends. 

I now sleep almost around the clock and isolating to avoid being bullied.  I have never had keen social skills and miss social clues.   My only outings are doctors appointments and I am feeling more and more depressed.  I do not have access to psycho therapy as my HMO limits visits there to only 40 minutes once a month. 

This is a familiar theme in my life.  My family of origin bullied me, my ex- husband did the same and it seems I must be wearing a sign "kick me, I'm weak".

I feel trapped, isolated, bullied and my self esteem is really hurting right now.

Thank you for listening to my vent, I just needed to talk about what's going on with me now.

Purple

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That's horrible that other people would treat you in such a way. I've never once thought of elderly people being capable of bullying others; you'd think that by that stage they'd have gotten past these baser instincts to beat on the seemingly weakest member of the group. Apparently not.

Just like all the other stories I read, I wish I had some ability to make it all better for you, to offer a solution to your troubles. I hope that by venting it it's at least given you some strength to continue. 

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I'm sorry to hear this. Like Southern Discomfort I am a little taken aback by the fact that elderly people bully, but I suppose in every group of people there are bullies. I'm sorry that you got more than your fair share. I think once you reach a certain stage in life you have a right to expect not to be bullied.

Unfortunately, I have no advice short of moving. The constant ambulance runs would get to me too, and I would also find it depressing. This place sounds like it is not a good fit for you.

Also, what's up with that HMO? Forty minutes per month? That is hardly adequate care. Where's the parity that was supposed to be for mental health and physical health issues?

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Southern Comfort ~  Thank you for your comforting words :)  I was just as surprised as you are to learn about the horrible bullying going on.  It's all about name calling too.  We had a woman on my hallway that had severe curvature of her spine and she was called "hump back", for example.  There is one woman who heads up the crochet group that does all the bullying and name calling.  It's sickening. Our craft room sits outside the elevator and it's like a "cat-walk", everyone that walks by is assigned a name and it's despicable that this is being allowed to continue. I should have stayed in the Bible group but there was soo much heat in that the Bible group was called a "cult", early on, I had to get out of that group because what the knitting group was saying seemed plausible, now I know this was just a story that was made up, in a political battle to see who would get me.  Once the knitting group got me out of the Bible group is when the bullying of me began.  I am no longer in that knitting group, as of last week, but by now I understand I have a name which I am sure eventually I will learn what it is and the gossip will start soon about me.  It was hard to leave the group, as this was my only social contact.

Hi jt07 ~  Thank you for your kind response :)  The HMO will not extend the minutes in the session, nor will they allow more than one visit per month.  When I was discharged from being hospitalized, the HMO refused to allow me more than one visit per month. They did offer what is called day hospital but that was for 2 hours per day for one week only. 

I have been trying to wall the hallways for exercise, but the experience I get is that the tenants want to talk, the ones sitting or just standing in the hallways and it's very disruptive when trying to get my steps in.  They keep their family albums handy to show anyone walking by.  Where I used to stop to chat, now I can mouth what exactly is they will be saying.

My former home, I had a large garden in the back overlooking a scenic pond.  That was my treasure in life, since there was very little else I could do.

Purple

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The bullying is ongoing.  I am soo very disappointed with all this. 

Tonight while attempting to play a card game, two bullies will be there and this time should they start bullying me, I will address this with them, so it's out in the open about their behaviors.  I don't know what else to do.

I have been managing a garden here and some of the flowers need attention.  Most of the expensive perennials need bug spray as the Japanese beetles are eating the plants alive. I have spoken to the property manager and my so called partner and neither seems interested, I'm beginning to pull out the dead perennials now. Anyway, this morning I spoke to my gardening partner and she looked at me like I have two heads and said she really didn't care.  Okay.................... why am I beating my head against a brick wall then?  She's not pitching in watering, I am doing all the watering and pruning so maybe it's time I stop showing so much interest in this garden thing.  Next time I see my garden partner, I'll ignore her.  When we initially went out to get the flowers, we stopped off on the way home, had lunch and then stopped at a horse farm where we walked thru the stalls (I was in heaven then), but now it seems like she has decided not to engage with me and I don't know why.

I stopped by the crochet group yesterday to get some help with my quilt and I got picked on by everyone there. That's the last time I'm going there. There is a cancer center at my local hospital that treated me during my breast cancer and they ask for donations and have once a month a knitting/crochet group that meets. Beginners are welcomed, so I marked it on my calendar to go. 

I am soo unhappy where I am living, soo incredibly unhappy.  I have no one to turn to for help with all this.I would love to move, but I am stuck here with no financial means to help me move.  I used up all my resources to get moved here, so the agencies that could help me move again will not do it again for another 5 years. 

Purple

 

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I'm sorry, Purple. I wish I had some advice on how to get you out of there but this is not my area of expertise. And I think you are only going to be happy once you move because that place seems toxic to you. There are others here who might know more about such living arrangements, but I'm at a loss. You have my complete sympathy though. I once lived in a horrible place with a horrible neighbor and had to put up with it for two years. I couldn't even imagine five. 

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Thank you jt07 for your empathy. How did you manage those two years with your horrible neighbor?  There are tenants here that stay in their apartments here and never socialize and are highly criticized for doing so.  I am soon to be one of them.

Going to start saving money for my move as that is really the only thing I can do.

Wish me luck tonight with the bully at the card game.  I'm also going to take out some of the flowers that have died and toss them away tonight.

Purple

 

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Good luck tonight, Purple! Both in the card game and in confronting the bullies!

I don't know how I managed to get through 2 years with a horrible neighbor. At one point he threatened to have us killed even. We went through mediation by the apartment manager and everything. They were so reluctant to lose a tenant that, even though they agreed with us that the neighbor's behavior was bad, they still didn't evict him. We just tried to avoid him as much as possible.

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If you're in the U.S. (which it looks like you might be based on familiarity w/ jt's suggestion?), although I can't guarantee it, I think there are some significant red flags that the insurance company's policy is violating the mental health parity law that jt mentioned.  I don't doubt in the slightest that it's what they've said, but it's at least possible that it can be challenged and that even a straightforward "this is why you shouldn't be doing what you're doing" letter might change their mind.  Sometimes it's a lot more complicated than that, but I have also seen fairly quick reversals once an issue is pointed out. 

A quick search led me to the link that's below that looks accurate on first glance (to the degree I'm surprised there isn't a statement that it's not legal advice, to be honest).  They provide some resources if you're interested in exploring them.  I completely understand if it's too much to process, but I wanted to pass it along in case it would help:

http://www.apa.org/helpcenter/parity-guide.aspx

Related to that, you might be able to describe it to someone in your state who could give you their opinion on whether it's okay.  Some would also help with drafting a complaint to the insurance company or otherwise handling your specific case either as a one-time consult or as an until it's resolved situation.  What's provided varies from state to state, but typically something that says civil legal services and tosses in non-profit would be a good starting point.  Also, because of having turned 65, there are a few organizations that are restricted to the elderly population.  For example, in my state the local AARP chapter and a law school clinic provide general legal services and there's a separate law school clinic that specifically handles health insurance issues.  There usually aren't age restrictions on the general legal services organization, though, so it's not that you'd have to only look for that restricted group. 

So--all that to say that although I can't give you advice one way or the other or specific referrals sadly, there are potentially people out there who can.  I also hope tonight goes okay and that something helps to address what's going on. 

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I'm really sorry to hear this jt07!  I had someone threaten me too and the police would do nothing as just a threat is meaningless to them. A criminal activity has to take place to get help and same with the landlord. In my Lease, and I have been thru something similar to yours before, it has to be material damage for the landlord to take action. I went to legal aid for interpretation in my Lease. Now the landlord can choose not to renew the Lease the following year, in your case.  I'm surprised that tenant was allowed to continue to live there.  So, I gather you are out safe and sound?

Made it thru the card game and the bully took a swipe at me verbally.  I frowned at her and said in a growl that I'm just learning, get off my back.  It made all the card players look up and the bully immediately looked down.  She did not apologize but it stopped her.  When she demanded to know why I would not play another hand tonight, as I was leaving everyone short a player and what time do I go to bed at night that I cannot play another hand, I told her it's really none of her business and walked away from the game. She did the same thing to me last week, so I was ready and from the moment she came to the table, I made sure I was grounded and ready for her.  I was not happy to see her tonight.

Then as I was sitting in the lobby waiting for time to go into the library to start the card game the two bullies from crochet walked thru and they said my name but I got up and walked into the library turning my back to them, acting like I did not hear them. I think that was a pretty loud message.  I did not give them another moment to take a swipe at me.  I think it's pretty clear I don't want to socialize with them anymore nor be part of their craft group. I did pass by them all today at different times in the hallway and said nothing to them.

So, I made it thru the evening and the day in one piece tonight and proud of myself.  I just have to remember to practice grounding skills when I leave my apartment.  Next is the garden partner I have to figure out what to do with. My plan of action is not to engage any of these people, not even to look them in the eyes to start a conversation. I'm making a broad stroke with my brush to reduce my exposure to them.  Hopefully in time I will find someone new to be a friend with.

Purple

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Dancesintherain ~  Thank you for all the information you provided :) I read the link all the way thru.  My issue is that I am on social security disability and Medicare. The Parity Law does not recognize Medicare beneficiaries and so does not apply to me.  I had my hope up reading the link, but alias, cannot use this article for continual mental health visits since my HMO only allows for one visit per month for 40 minutes. 

Purple

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Sorry for getting your hopes up and I hate to risk doing it again, but rather recently there was a mental health parity law that specifically pertained to Medicare (abbreviation is MIPPA but I don't remember what it stands for).  It's possible that the information from the APA might be out of date.  There's some info at the link below though with the warning that it's not incredibly accessible language-wise. 

http://www.medicareadvocacy.org/medicare-info/medicare-coverage-of-mental-health-services/

I didn't see anything in there that restricted mental health coverage for Medicare regardless of whether it's regular Medicare or Medicare Advantage to the extent that it needs to be roughly equivalent to what's offered for physical illness.  It's definitely possible that they're right and I hate to suggest that they might be wrong again if I'm misreading something.  So perhaps I'll suggest it a bit more cautiously that there's a small chance, based on what's written there.  The distinction between the ACA and MIPPA rang a bell slightly and I have a friend who is on Medicare b/c of SSDI and I know that her services are covered w/o question.  So it's at least within the realm of possibility that it's wrong...again, many apologies if I'm just missing something obvious.

The other tiny possibility (but really tiny) is that states are allowed to develop better laws than the federal government and aren't restricted to the ACA...they can do more, but they can't do less.  So that might be out there.  That's really rare though, so it's not an option unless the roll of the dice is in your favor. 

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Thanks again Dances :)  I'll read thru the link and let you know what I think.  I have written to my state congressman over some of the practices in the behavioral health dept of my HMO and the director was subsequently removed, although not sure if it was my issue or another issue that removed him. 

Will get back to you :)

Purple

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Dances ~  Okay, read thru most of it. Will be calling my HMO/Medicare plan next week to inquire more about this offering.  In 3 months open enrollment begins again, so may have an opportunity to give it a try if I qualify, will let you know. 

Thank you :)

Purple

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Thank you Dances ~  This plan is offered in my state but not thru my HMO.  Currently my HMO is covering all my co-pays, medication, etc free of charge, but will look into the new plans and see what they offer.  This is exciting news !!  Found this offering in the very back of my Medicare booklet, never noticed it before :)

Purple

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