PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – No doubt you’ve heard countless stories of bullying over the past year, but all of them refer to situations of children and teens bullying their peers — not senior citizens bullying other seniors.

Dr. Jana Mallis, director of Behavioral Health at New Courtland Elderly Services, which owns and operates several are nursing homes, says bullying among seniors happens more often than you think.

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“It occurs sometimes because maybe they have dementia. They have lost their inhibitions. If they have a stroke for insistence, the part of the brain that’s affected by emotion and aggressiveness is affected.”

Dr. Mallis says there could be another reason — their short-term memory is no longer that good and they are reaching into their long-term memory.

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“So they don’t remember what they ate today, but they remember what they wore when they were 16. All of a sudden they might be reenacting an experience of being 16 and maybe having a problem with someone and now they are reenacting it and being in control.”

Dr. Mallis says facing the issue and not sweeping it under the rug is the best way to handle it. If your elderly relative no longer wants to go to a place they’ve always loved, she says investigate to make sure bullying is not an issue.

Reported by Michelle Durham, KYW Newsradio

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