POLICE ASSOCIATION OF NOVA SCOTIA 51 4 please see next page p2 factsheet 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 harm or death. For example, physical abuse may result in a hip fracture. Many older adults experiencing abuse or neglect are isolated. Individuals who abuse or neglect older adults often threaten, harass, or intimidate them. For example, some abusers threaten to not let older adults see their grandchildren. Others may prevent older adults from having visitors, or may threaten to leave them alone. As a result of abuse or neglect, older adults often experience worry, depression, or anxiety. These signs may be mistaken for memory loss or illness, when really they are the effects of stress or worry. An older adult may also feel shame, guilt, or embarrassment that someone in the family or someone close has harmed them. Some abused older adults may start to eat less, use more medications or drink more alcohol to help cope with the emotional and physical hurt. They may have difficulty sleeping or sleep too much. Some abused or neglected older adults may lose interest in life or become withdrawn. Some may have suicidal thoughts. DidYou Know? • Between 44% and 62% of abused older adults experience some level of depression. Up to 6% of abused older adults become severely depressed. • Living with abuse and neglect can also significantly increase the person's chances of becoming ill or may make other health problems worse. 4 Continued