According to the Canadian Coalition for Mental Health, people over 65 have a higher suicide rate than any other age group. The common causes include depression and loneliness, living with a serious health condition, and major life changes like a change in financial status. However, suicide rarely comes without warning. If your elderly loved one exhibits any of the following warning signs, Vancouver elder home care experts recommend taking the signs seriously and seeking professional help
Making Offhand Comments
It can be difficult for family members and caregivers in Vancouver, BC, to differentiate between a flippant remark and a real call for help. A 2014 study conducted at the University of Pennsylvania found nearly 75 percent of seniors who commit suicide tell a family member or acquaintance of their intentions beforehand. If your loved one has recently made a comment about inflicting self-harm, broach the subject immediately to get a better understanding of why he or she made the statement.
Cutting Off Social Ties
Depression is the most common cause of suicide, but social isolation is another major risk factor. Isolation is especially common in older male widowers who traditionally depended on their wives for social interaction. The easiest way to combat isolation is to get help from family and friends and create a schedule for visiting and interacting with your loved one as much as possible.
Changing a Will Suddenly
It is completely normal for seniors to make changes to their wills when major life events take place, but a sudden obsession with their estate and possessions should not be taken lightly. Seniors with suicidal thoughts often give away possessions and update their wills to make life easier for family members. If your loved one makes changes to his or her will, take some time to determine he or she is of sound mind and not feeling suicidal.
Lethargy is one of the most common side effects of depression and a clear sign a senior has an emotional or physical problem. The first step in beating lethargy is to take a fresh look at your loved one’s medications, diet, and exercise routine. If there are no peculiarities in those areas of your loved one’s life, you might want to speak with his or her primary healthcare provider or a counselor about the possibility of depression or another emotional disorder.
If you are concerned about your loved one’s wellbeing and believe he or she may be at risk for suicide, turn to Home Care Assistance. We are a leading provider of respite and 24-hour care Vancouver seniors can count on, and our compassionate caregivers can provide the emotional support and social stimulation your loved one needs to remain happy and healthy. For more information on our in-home care services, call 778-279-3634 to schedule a no-obligation consultation.