Why Are Suicides Soaring among Older Adults?
Marcia Kerz, president of The OASIS Institute, a national, St. Louis-based nonprofit that promotes successful aging recently published an article in the St. Louis Post about the rate of suicides among adults 65 and older. She cited a number of causes: decline of family support systems, the reliance on the automobile for transportation; geographic sprawl and the changes in communication modes (email, texting, etc.) which many older adults do not use; as well as changes in medical care. Many doctors spend 8 minutes per patient. Older adults who have multiple conditions need more time to address their issues.
All of these factors leave the older adult more isolated and unsupported…unable to thrive.
Suicides among older adults have soared from 16% to 20% of all suicide deaths. Most have seen a doctor recently. Many factors come into play in creating the well-being of an individual. Physical health condition is only one of the factors on which attention is focused. However, social interactions make a person feel wanted and needed. When their emotions are stable, they are likely to do better physically. Research shows that even one visitor a week can make a difference in the life of an older adult. Most adults would be depressed with that little interaction. Everyone has the need to feel loved and appreciated.
When mobility becomes limited and an adult is unable to perform many of the activities of daily living, a home health aide may be hired. Often an older adult who has resisted having someone come into their home finds that they really enjoy the interaction with another person. Often they begin to look forward to having someone to talk to on a regular basis. Older adults prefer having a hired worker care for them instead of their own children as they don’t want to be a burden to their children. Home health workers come in with a neutral attitude and respect for the older adult whereas, family members may have unresolved issues from their childhood that get in the way of providing care. Care workers are more likely to observe and respond to the needs of the older adult.
If a spouse needs help caring for a partner or a family member observes that their parent really should not be alone anymore, hire a home health agency. A registry home health company will pre-screen the caregivers so that the family can feel assured that they have reliable, trustworthy home health workers. The family then contracts with the caregiver and directs the activities provided for the patient. An agency will have a more primary role in directing the work of the caregiver. They will hire, train and supervise activities of the caregiver in the home.
Age at HomeCare, a registry home health company, is owned and managed by Davis Allen, former Exec. Dir. of Sarah Care Adult Day Center. He has an MA in Human Resource Development and is a Certified Nurse Assistant. He continues to work as a companion caregiver with his own clients. All of his associates have previous direct care experience so they are attuned to the needs of their clients and families.
Resources for the Family Caregiver
Davis Allen, Owner