Abuse of Older Adults: Signs and Effects
What are the Signs?
Older adults who are experiencing abuse or neglect may — • tell you they are being harmed, • show signs of depression or anxiety, • seem fearful around certain people, • become socially withdrawn (having less contact with people who they have been close to in the past), • have unexplained physical injuries, • become passive and very compliant,
• lack food, clothing and other necessities,
• show changes in their hygiene or nutrition (e.g. signs of malnutrition), • suddenly become unable to meet financial obligations, or • have unusual withdrawals from their bank or other financial institutions.
Sometimes these signs are mistaken as a part of growing older or may look like other health conditions. For example, mental confusion, depression or anxiety resulting from abuse or neglect may look like dementia. People may not realize that sometimes older adults are experiencing frequent falls or have long-term pain because they are being abused or neglected.
What are the Effects of Older Adult Abuse?
Health Effects Abuse and neglect are a major source of stress and can have long-term effects on the health and well-being of older adults.The stress of abuse may trigger chest pain or angina, and may be a factor in other serious
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heart problems. High blood pressure, breathing problems, stomach problems (ulcers), and panic attacks are common stress-related symptoms among older people who experience abuse. Abuse has a significant impact on people at any age, but older adults can be especially vulnerable. In general, older adults have less physical strength and less physical resilience than younger persons. Some older adults may be very frail, or already have disabilities or impairments that leave them particularly vulnerable. Older bones break more easily and take longer to heal. An injury or accumulation of injuries over time can lead to serious...