It seems like the biggest story about retirement this week was the sad tale of
Doris Lor, a 76 year old resident of Solera, an active adult community in Chandler, AZ. According to numerous news reports, Ms. Lor was repeatedly bullied by women in the community, who refused to let her sit at their table or join in community card games. Apparently it is not just mean girls, either, as some men in the community were involved in refusing to let her participate.
The sad lesson of the story seems to be that mean people and bullies aren’t just confined to junior high school or fraternities/sororities – apparently you are never too old to be a bully.
Various experts and community managers offered different perspectives on the extent of the problem and possible solutions. Although there is agreement that such incidents do occur in retirement or active adult communities, there are not a lot of complaints made.
Alice, who lives in a CCRC in northern NJ, had what is probably a fairly typical problem. The situation for Alice was a very bossy woman who constantly browbeat her fellow card players. Once confronted, the tyrant softened and admitted that her personal life was a shambles – her husband had Alzheimers and her finances were deteriorating. Susan, a widow in a South Florida retirement community had a less easily solved problem. In her case it was a very aggressive widow who constantly tried to crash Susan’s social activities.
In our opinion the bullying problem seems to affect single people more than married folks. Married people tend to have more support to help solve problems. They also don’t face the same challenges that single people have in forging new social relationships late in life. In the ABC News story “Mean Girls Prowl Retirement Community”, Ken Budd, executive editor of AARP, The Magazine, offered some advice for dealing with bullies: “If you can’t defuse a toxic personality, the best strategy is often to graciously distance yourself from that person.”
What do you think about the problem – and how would you solve it if it happened to you? Please share your Comments below.