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Article: the Work of Dr. Patrick Arbore

Our thanks to alum Joyce Ciriales for finding this article in the Health section of a Philadelphia paper about the work of our very own Dr. Patrick Arbore:


Old people can be bullies. Here’s what to do about it

Most of us probably think of kids when we think of bullies. Patrick Arbore thinks of an old man he watched trip a frail old woman in the senior facility where they both lived. He also thinks of a group of women elsewhere who taunted a new resident  for speaking Spanish, and of an elderly resident who made a manager’s life so miserable that she quit. The bully smiled broadly when the manager announced her resignation.

“That teenage boy who was the terror in your high school grew up and he just got better at it,”  said Arbore, who spoke Thursday at Philadelphia Corporation for Aging‘s Regional Conference on Aging, a three-day event that drew about 600 professionals who work with older adults and their families.

Arbore, who grew up on a Western Pennsylvania dairy farm, also thinks of his father and grandmother, who he says were bullies. Exposure to them made him repress his own anger, and he became depressed and suicidal.  But his experience also convinced him that both victims and bullies deserve compassion.

“Bullying is taught,” he said, and it often stems from fear and inadequacy. “People who bully have an intense desire to be in control.  What that reveals underneath is insecurity,” said Arbore, founder and director of the Center for Elderly Suicide Prevention and Grief Related Services at the Institute on Aging in San Francisco.

Arbore said he confronted the man he’d seen trip his fellow resident.  She’d managed not to fall, but her lunch went flying.  She cried when she got to her table.  The man refused to meet Arbore’s eyes and denied that he had done anything.  Arbore talked to him again later and his anger spilled out.  He hated the woman, he said.  He hated old people and he didn’t want to be like her.

The man’s actions revealed his “internalized ageism,” Arbore said.

Americans have gotten better at acknowledging bullying in schools, but they’ve been slower to confront the reality of bullying among seniors, Arbore said.  Ten to 20 percent of seniors reported exposure to aggression by other older adults, usually verbal abuse, one study found. He thinks the behavior is underreported.  Seniors are afraid to tell, and staff may be afraid that bullies will focus on them.  The bullies may also be cunning enough to ingratiate themselves with managers.

Senior victims are often smaller and frailer than their bullies.  Some may have dementia or anxiety, or even a history of abuse. Bullying often occurs when the staff isn’t watching, in dining rooms where newcomers are shunned at certain tables and communal areas where a bully controls the television.  Even Facebook can be a forum for bullying and exclusion.

The abuse may leave victims depressed and isolated.  Arbore said bullies are dangerous because they inspire more bullying and fuel hate.

While some victims can learn to be more assertive, others must rely on staff to create an environment where everyone knows that bullying is unacceptable, Arbore said.

Bullies often have no idea how their actions affect others, he said.  Empathy can be taught. Sometimes it’s helpful for a staff member to mediate a discussion between bully and victim, concluding with the bully agreeing to stop.

Staff, he said, can “teach that bully that there are other people  and it’s OK if they are different than you are, and you’re not in charge of the moral compass.”

Jobs with San Mateo County NonProfits

Sustainable San Mateo County –

Established in 1992, Sustainable San Mateo County (SSMC) is a nonprofit dedicated to the long-term health of our county’s economy, environment and social equity by educating about sustainability. More information about SSMC can be found at


The Administrator will work closely with and under the supervision of the Executive Director in our San Mateo office. They are responsible for maintaining an organized and efficient office for SSMC and performing the day-to-day clerical duties. This position is a great opportunity for anyone looking to advance their career in the sustainability field in a professional, well respected non profit.
To Apply
Send a resume and cover letter indicating your fit with the position duties and qualifications to with Subject Line: Administrator Application by Friday June 9th.
No phone calls please.
Art in Action –

Accounting Manager

Art in Action believes every child deserves the opportunity to engage in the transformative power of art. As a national nonprofit leader in visual and digital arts, Art in Action has proudly served over a half million students since 1982. Today we provide 110 outstanding lessons to 72,000 students in 500 schools and enrichment learning centers located throughout the U.S. We train hundreds of teachers and parent volunteers and deliver 19 tons of art materials annually. Forty-two percent of those we serve are Title I schools in low-income
Reporting to the Executive Director in collaboration with Art in Action Board of Directors, the Accounting Manager has the primary responsibility to oversee all financial activities for Art in Action, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization based in Menlo Park, CA, including all accounting, budgeting, and financial reporting. The successful candidate will be responsible for budget management, financial analysis, payroll, forecasting, accounts payable and receivable, and financial tracking. This is a fantastic opportunity for an accounting professional who thrives in a busy work place, has a philanthropic interest, and is well versed in working with nonprofit finances.
To Apply
Please submit cover letter and resume by email to
Family Connections – Director of Development

Family Connections is the only parent-child participation program exclusively dedicated to low income families in San Mateo County, serving over 400 individuals each year with bilingual education. Founded in 1993, Family Connections has helped over 1000 families jumpstart their kids’ education.
Family Connections in San Mateo County, CA, seeks an entrepreneurial, roll-up your-sleeves leader to build the fundraising infrastructure necessary to identify, solicit, and steward individual and institution funders in support of closing the achievement gap.
Reporting to the Executive Director, the Director of Development is a member of the senior management team and provides leadership, management and coordination for all Family Connections’ individual and institutional fundraising efforts, and marketing and communications activities. She or he will drive acquisition and retention of contributed revenue through both innovative and traditional methods. The Director provides support to the ED and the Board on
all matters related to fundraising, brings a big-picture perspective, institutes fundraising best practices, and ensures that Family Connections is well positioned to compete in San Mateo and Santa Clara county philanthropic circles.
To Apply
To apply, nominate others or for further information, please contact:
Lisa Grossman (650) 323-3565,

m/Oppenheim Associates
425 Market Street, Suite 1020
San Francisco, CA 94105
Peninsula Family Service – 70 Strong Database Coordinator
Peninsula Family Service was created to strengthen and maintain local families who need our help overcoming the barriers standing between themselves and a life of opportunity, financial stability, and wellness.  The 70 Strong program is a new initiative focused on improving the health and wellness of older adults in the Sequoia Healthcare District.

The Database Coordinator job duties will encompass coordination of activities related to the 70 Strong resource directory, case management database, and evaluation system to measure impact and follow up on the needs of 70 Strong participants. Responsibilities also include administrative support to the 70 Strong Program. Daily activities for this position include: compiling and monitoring data for reports, preparing reports, preparing monthly newsletter/calendar, marketing materials and general clerical duties. During the initial implementation of the project, there is an opportunity for the Database Coordinator to assist in the development and design of the resource directory and case management database. This includes communication and coordination with the vendors selected to implement the resource directory and case management components.
To Apply
Qualified, interested persons should send cover letter, resume, and completed employment application to