Marie Beaulieu Ph. D. (Applied Human Sciences), is a full professor at the School of Social Work of the University of Sherbrooke and a researcher at the Research Centre on Aging at the CIUSSS Estrie-CHUS. She has accumulated 25 years of experience as a university professor.
Since November, 2010, she has held the position of Research Chair on Mistreatment of Older Adults financed by the Québec Government.
Hindering and facilitating factors when requesting help in situations of mistreatment or bullying of older adults
Problem: This study aims to identify the hindering and facilitating factors when older adults request help (RH) in a situation where they have been a witness or have been the target of mistreatment (MT) or bullying (BG). Older adults do not have to have experienced a situation of mistreatment in order to participate.
Methodology: Action research project conducted in partnership with a community organisation to counter MT of older adults. Multi-method estimate: group interviews (n = 17 representing 144 older adults) and questionnaires (n = 305). Interviews transcribed and coded through an inductive thematic approach using N’Vivo software. Descriptive statistics via SPSS. Analysis of quantitative and qualitative data according to: gender, language, age group and living environment of the participants.
Results: Older adults have a confused understanding of MT and BG concepts. Mostly open to asking for help (90%). Only 6.4% of participants said they would not do anything if they were in a situation of MT and 6.8% would not do anything in a situation of BG. Women express more concerns (χ2 = 4.928, p = 0.026) and shame (χ2 = 4.056, p = 0.044) than men in seeking help for situations of MT. Francophones express more concerns (χ2 = 5.814, p = 0.016), more shame (χ2 = 5.391, p = 0.020) and more helplessness (χ2 = 5.331, p = 0.021) than Anglophones in situations of BG. In situations of MT, older adults between 55 and 65 years of age felt more shame than those aged 65 to 74, 75 to 84 and 85 and older (χ2 = 10.108, p = 0.018). Qualitative analysis concludes that the facilitating factor for RH among older adults as targets of or as witnesses to bullying, is access to information. Moreover, in situations of MT or BG, whether targets or witnesses, older adults experience a feeling of fear or concerns regarding requesting help.
Discussion / conclusion: Qualitative results support and complement the quantitative results. Our data, contrary to what is found in the literature, distinguishes between the hindering and facilitating factors when OA request help.