Elderly isolation definitely seems to be a growing problem.
Last week, there was a news report that elderly suicides was at an all-time high.
An extract from Channel NewsAsia states, “The number of elderly aged 60 and above who took their own lives peaked at 129 last year, the highest since suicide tracking started in 1991.”
The total number of suicides last year was 361. This means that out of every three suicides, one was an elderly.
Samaritans of Singapore (SOS) is also encouraging seniors to call into their hotline because they see a drop in seniors calling in and they are concerned about elderly isolation.
According to the Singapore Longitudinal Ageing Study in 2012 by the National University of Singapore’s Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine, one in five elderly persons in Singapore aged 75 and above show signs of depression.
There is also projected to be 83,000 seniors living alone by 2030.
It is clearly a big issue. This makes it more important for us to be more mindful of the seniors around us and watch for red flags.
These red flags are symptoms of suicidal tendencies to watch out for:
- Making preparations for death (e.g. writing a will or giving away cherished belongings)
- Sudden withdrawal from social interactions
- Self-neglect in terms of low personal hygiene and a dirty living environment
- Struggle with a recent life crisis (e.g. the death of a loved one or excessive medical bills.)