September is National Suicide Prevention Month. Suicide is often considered a problem youth face, however, in 2017, 16.5 of every 100,000 senior deaths were the result of suicide. That was an increase from 2016, and 2018 is already showing another increase. Men aged 85 and older have the highest risk of all seniors in this study.
It leads people to wonder what is making senior citizens contemplate or attempt suicide? In many cases, it's believed that those with a chronic health condition, depression, chronic pain, fear of losing independence, and isolation are all risk factors.
Signs to Watch For
Many people don't see any signs that a parent is feeling suicidal. For seniors who are depressed, agitation, a withdrawal from usual routines, and change in sleep patterns are some of the things to look for.
Some signs aren't as easy to pick up on. They're too similar to common health conditions in seniors. Your parent may be easily confused. Insomnia may set in. Your parent may not be hungry. You might find your dad simply becomes the stereotypical grumpy old man that's poked fun at on TV and the big screen. All of these can be warning signs.
If your parent has been diagnosed with cancer, Alzheimer's, diabetes, or heart disease, pay close attention to responses. Wanting to be left alone can be a sign. If you see any of these signs, make an appointment with your parent's doctor. Medications may help. Support groups or private therapy may be even better.
Make sure your parent goes to a support group or attends clubs, meetings, or programs that allow him or her to socialize with other seniors. If you can't drive your parent to senior centers, appointments, or social settings, hire someone who can. Elder care services not only offer transportation, housekeeping, and meals, but caregivers also offer companionship.
Work Together to Arrange Necessary Support
Make sure your parent has the love and support he or she needs. Take turns visiting your parent. Set up family gatherings and social events. Make sure grandchildren stop by, too. Get siblings, cousins, and anyone else your parent enjoys spending time with to stop by.
Caregivers can stop by daily, every other day, every few days, or once a week. Your parent has help and companionship without feeling as though independence is lost. An elder care agency can answer your questions and give you more insight into other ways to help your parent age at home. Call today.
If you or an aging loved one are considering elder care in Lansing, MI, please contact the caring staff at Seniors Helping Seniors of Lansing. Call today: 517-332-9953.