Saturday, December 19, 2015

Elderly suicide rate rising in Singapore

My Paper, Thursday, December 17, 2015, Page A1, Top Stories
From http://epaper.mypaper.sg/epc/en/2015-12-17/
Source Website: http://mypaper.sg/top-stories/elderly-suicide-rate-rising-spore-20151217
By Janice Tai, mypaper, jantai@sph.com.sg, Published on 17 December 2015


Last year, 126 seniors aged 60 and above killed themselves.
PHOTO: Last year, 126 seniors aged 60 and above killed themselves.
ST FILE PHOTO
http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-UEyCcsJGy5k/VnJ6wwvDZ-I/AAAAAAAAihY/SjLzLLo2zuQ/s1600/20151217_news_elderly-suicide.jpg
http://news.omy.sg/sites/default/files/styles/large/public/images/201512/20151217/20151217_news_elderly-suicide.jpg
http://news.omy.sg/News/Local-News/story20151217-395647



THE golden years are losing their lustre for a rising number of the elderly here, with more taking their lives in the later phase of life.

And with loneliness and illness playing a big factor in many cases, experts urge families to spend more time with elderly members of the family.

Last year, 126 seniors aged 60 and above killed themselves. This is a jump of nearly 60 per cent from the 79 seniors who committed suicide in 2000. There were 95 of them in 2010.

While the suicide rate here has remained between 8 and 10 suicides per 100,000 residents over the last decade, the proportion of elderly suicides among those who take their lives each year has risen.

In 2000, 23 per cent of suicides here were cases of elderly suicide. By 2010, the group made up 27 per cent and grew to 30 per cent last year.

Christine Wong, executive director of suicide prevention agency Samaritans of Singapore, said elderly suicide is "a disturbing indicator of the level of distress they were experiencing in what should have been the golden years of their lives".

"The majority of the elderly clients who called our 24-hour hotline expressed concerns such as ill physical and mental health, financial and relationship issues and loneliness."



The majority of the elderly clients who called our 24-hour hotline expressed concerns such as ill physical and mental health, financial and relationship issues and loneliness.
PHOTO: The majority of the elderly clients who called our 24-hour hotline expressed concerns such as ill physical and mental health, financial and relationship issues and loneliness.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia, Suicide, In this painting by Alexandre-Gabriel Decamps, the palette, pistol, and note lying on the floor suggest that the event has just taken place; an artist has taken his own life. Ozawa-de Silva, C (December 2008). "Too lonely to die alone: internet suicide pacts and existential suffering in Japan". Culture, medicine and psychiatry 32 (4): 516–51.
http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-iMwCQn-kNWc/VnJ6w9hlUTI/AAAAAAAAihg/BzGMb366kO0/s1600/800px-Alexandre-Gabriel_Decamps_-_The_Suicide_-_Walters_3742.jpg
https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/5/50/Alexandre-Gabriel_Decamps_-_The_Suicide_-_Walters_3742.jpg/800px-Alexandre-Gabriel_Decamps_-_The_Suicide_-_Walters_3742.jpg
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Suicide



Said Chan Wai Ping, a counsellor at Tsao Foundation's Hua Mei Centre for Successful Ageing: "They lose a sense of purpose, lack confidence in coping with further deterioration and don't want to be a burden as their care needs get more demanding."

About a third of the elderly that the centre counselled over the last three years experienced social isolation, a major issue for older adults here.

A study led by Angelique Chan of the Duke-NUS Graduate Medical School said about 32 per cent of Singaporeans aged 60 and above report being sometimes lonely and 19 per cent report being mostly lonely.

The study released last year found that feeling lonely raised one's risk of dying by 34 per cent over a four-year period, compared with those who were not lonely. The number of people aged 65 and above who live by themselves has nearly tripled from 14,500 in 2000 to 42,100 last year. The elderly make up about a third of all one-person households here.



The study released last year found that feeling lonely raised one's risk of dying by 34 per cent over a four-year period, compared with those who were not lonely. The number of people aged 65 and above who live by themselves has nearly tripled from 14,500 in 2000 to 42,100 last year. The elderly make up about a third of all one-person households here.
PHOTO: The study released last year found that feeling lonely raised one's risk of dying by 34 per cent over a four-year period, compared with those who were not lonely. The number of people aged 65 and above who live by themselves has nearly tripled from 14,500 in 2000 to 42,100 last year. The elderly make up about a third of all one-person households here.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia, Suicide. Painting by George Grie, 2007, The Way Out, or Suicidal Ideation. Some view suicide as a legitimate matter of personal choice. Supporters of this position maintain that no one should be forced to suffer against their will, particularly from conditions such as incurable disease, mental illness, and old age, with no possibility of improvement. They reject the belief that suicide is always irrational, arguing instead that it can be a valid last resort for those enduring major pain or trauma.
http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-EsVSHyivNO0/VnJ6xUn6LTI/AAAAAAAAihk/A8oVcah7tp4/s1600/The_way_out.jpg
https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/4/46/The_way_out.jpg
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Suicide



While some of these old people are single from the start, counsellors say many others struggle with adjusting to life after the death of their spouses.

But loneliness can affect even those who live with family. Prof Chan's study found that people who live alone or live with children are most likely to be lonely but living with a spouse helps to stave off loneliness.

It is not known if the depression rate among the elderly has risen but the Institute of Mental Health is working on a $4.4 million study on the well-being of the elderly here to examine this aspect, among others.

Prof Chan said: "As loneliness is a more powerful predictor of mortality compared with living arrangements, programmes that focus solely on older adults living alone may miss a large group of lonely older adults living with children."

Busy schedules and caring for their own children could make adult children less available to their parents, she added.

Experts say people should be trained in mental "CPR".

"It would be helpful for staff and volunteers in welfare organisations to be trained in identifying symptoms of depression and family members to be able to spot signs of cognitive decline," said Edmund Song, executive director of RSVP Singapore, a non-profit organisation of senior volunteers.



It would be helpful for staff and volunteers in welfare organisations to be trained in identifying symptoms of depression and family members to be able to spot signs of cognitive decline.
PHOTO: It would be helpful for staff and volunteers in welfare organisations to be trained in identifying symptoms of depression and family members to be able to spot signs of cognitive decline. People should be trained in mental "CPR".
Posted by Jon Mogul, (filed under Wolfsonian Collection) on 28 March 2014
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https://s3.amazonaws.com/luckyplop/677ecf46533b6f99f10b691597379dc80b1dc394.jpg
http://powerofdesign.wolfsonian.org/blog/complaint-modern-life



Sometimes, what old people need is simply friendship, as in the case of a man befriended by Tan Chor Koon, 57, who has been making home visits to the elderly with Lions Befrienders since 2009.

The assistant property manager recalled an old man who expressed a wish to visit a friend in Thailand after finding out he had late-stage liver cancer.

Chey Chor Khoon, executive director of Lions Befrienders, said: "Mr Tan's friendship has brought meaning, assurance and comfort to his friend. He even helped his friend to fulfil that extraordinary last wish."

Helplines

Samaritans of Singapore: 1800-221-4444
National Family Service Centre: 1800-838-0100
Singapore Association for Mental Health: 1800-283-7019
Seniors Helpline: 1800-555-5555
Care Corner Mandarin Counselling Centre: 1800-353-5800

By Janice Tai, mypaper, jantai@sph.com.sg, Published on 17 December 2015



How to beat the blues
PHOTO: How to beat the blues
Senior citizens like Mr Wee Char Lee, 85, are already leading the way. The retired father of three visits two activity centres for the elderly run by Presbyterian Community Services for three to four hours nearly every day to chat with residents. “We laugh and joke, we sing, we gossip,” he said. “Companionship makes us forget the worries of the world.” Mr Wee, who spent 40 years working for a global technology company, takes special care of those who have been touched by tragedy. A woman in her 60s in his group recently lost her husband to suicide. “She was very very depressed at first, and even had to seek medical help,” he said. “But these days, being with others her age is making her heal slowly.
Posted by Radha Basu (The Sunday Times) on Sunday, 06 May 2012
Photo by Ted Chen (ST)

http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-1JZT3RgMsUc/VnJ6xowbtyI/AAAAAAAAiho/rESh258V4lU/s1600/retirees.jpg
https://www.healthxchange.com.sg/News/PublishingImages/retirees.jpg
https://www.healthxchange.com.sg/News/Pages/old-depressed.aspx




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